On one of my Vista machines, I have a 140G hard drive partitioned into C (20g), D (80G)  and E (40g). Drive E was getting full, and I wanted to make it bigger.


Isn’t it ironic that in the year 2007, we still are using letters of the alphabet to refer to all the different kinds of disks (CD, network, USB, thumb, floppy)? 


On my PDP-8 computer back in the 70’s, I used OS/8 which used PIP (Peripheral Interchange Program) which referred to peripheral devices with somewhat mnemonic names, such as PTP0: for Paper Tape Punch, DT0: for DecTape unit 0.


Vista now comes with the ability to resize volumes. (On XP, I used a 3rd party product like Partition Magic). Just Start->right click on Computer, choose Manage, Storage->Disk Management.

Right click on a volume and choose “Shrink” or “Expand”.


I chose to shrink drive D. I expected some sort of progress bar, but just got the wait cursor (spinning circle on Vista) for about 10 minutes, after which I had an unallocated partition show up.


Apparently, Shrink causes the end of the drive to move left, freeing up space. Extend apparently will only extend to the right. IOW, to the left of Drive E was a new unallocated volume, which I could not extend to the left.


So, I could either make it a new volume, or mount the space inside an existing empty NTFS folder (these 2 options are available in WinXP), such as one in drive E:, which expands the available space as seen by programs on drive E.




See also What is taking up the space on your hard disk? TreeMap it!