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How to Shrink C Drive Partition in Windows 10?



Are you trying to introduce a new volume to the hard drive of your Windows PC? If so, you will need to shrink your C drive partition first. To get help with that, follow this article to understand how to shrink C drive in Windows 10. 

Quite often, when installing Windows on a hard disk, we forget to create more volumes, and instead, let the OS partition take up all the disk space (except for some small system reserved partitions). However, not many users realize that it’s a bad idea to use a single partition on your hard drive and put everything in it. Doing so poses a giant risk to your data, because in case your OS crashes, you would also lose your personal files stored on the same volume. 

Rather than getting stuck in this situation, you should create separate volumes for your applications and personal files. This allows data to be better organized, files to be personalized according to system users (in case of multiple users), and be more secure. The best way to create separate volumes on a Windows 10 hard drive is to start with shrinking the primary OS partition. This enables you to create more volumes without reinstalling the basic system programs. 

In this article, we have shared methods to achieve this with the help of four different tools on Windows 10. Three of them are built-in tools that make it easier to perform the resizing of the disk partition, and the fourth and the fastest way is to use a premium partitioning application.

Methods to shrink C drive in Windows 10

Before using the below-listed methods to shrink the C drive, make a backup of your hard drive, because if the process of shrinking fails you could lose your data. Also remember, that if you try to shrink a RAW partition, it can destroy the files in it. So, it is advised to do RAW data recovery before you start the process.

  • Use Disk Management

Disk Management is a system utility in Windows that allows users to perform advanced tasks like partition management. 

Follow these steps to shrink disk partitions on Windows 10

  • Press the Windows + X keys together. From the menu that opens, click on the Disk Management option.
  • In the window that opens, right-click on the partition you want to shrink, and then click on Shrink Volume option.

Shrink C Drive Partition

  • Now type in how many megabytes (MBs) you want to shrink the partition by. After this, click on the Shrink option.
  • If the above operations are successful, you can create a New Simple Volume with the unallocated space that has now been freed.

Through Command Prompt

The Windows command prompt is a text-based user interface for typing commands to perform specific system functions. Users can perform tasks that require administrator rights without typing commands in an elevated command prompt.

Follow these steps to shrink C drive with Command Prompt.

  1. Open the Search or the Start menu on your computer and type ‘cmd’ into the search box.
  2. When Command Prompt shows up in the search results, click on Run as administrator option.
  3. Now type the below commands one at a time into the command prompt, and press Enter after each command. Make note of the volume number, for example Volume “4” and letter “D” in this case.


list volume

select volume <number> (Substitute number with desired volume number such as “4”)

shrink querymax

shrink (To shrink by maximum size allowed) or shrink desired=<size in MB> (To shrink by specified size)

Shrink C Drive Partition

When you finish entering these commands, you can close the elevated command prompt, or create a New Simple Volume with the unallocated space.

  • From “Manage Disks & Volume” in Settings

This new feature is only available in Windows 10 PCs. It is a new experience of the Disk Management panel, built with modern improvements and to better integrate with the storage settings. The Manage Disks & Volumes tool shows all connected drives on your computer with details, such as media type, disk number, online or offline drive, etc. 

Follow these steps to shrink partition on disk through Manage Disks & Volumes.

    1. Open the Settings menu, and click on the System option.
    2. Now click on Storage, and then on the Manage Disks and Volumes option.
    3. Expand open the desired disk which contains the volume or partition you want to shrink.
  • Now click on the volume or partition you want to shrink and click on Properties.
  1. Then click on the Change Size button under the Size section. 
  2. Set the new size for this volume by typing a value in MB which is lower than the Current Size, and then click on OK.
  3. At last, you can create a New Simple Volume with unallocated space.

Beware of unexpected data loss

Partition management is a sensitive task, one that needs much caution. That’s why the question “is it safe to compress C drive” is one of the most searched queries on popular search engines. 

Many times, inexperienced users can end up making blunders that can cost them dearly – often in permanent data loss. This is why most experts recommend that you take a backup of your entire hard drive before messing with disk partitions. However, if you find yourself in a situation where your C drive shrinking operation doesn’t complete successfully and you end up losing your precious data without backup, we just want you to still have faith. There is a way to recover all your data and get your system back to a running state in no time.

The most reliable utility that can help you recover your lost data after a botched attempt to shrink C drive is Stellar Data Recovery Professional. This easy-to-use professional data recovery software, yet highly advanced software can help you battle some of the most severe data loss cases on Windows systems such as formatting, encryption, and even crashed hard drive. Providing smooth data recovery from crashed and unbootable systems, this software assists with the recovery of deleted files from HDDs, SSDs, USB & optical media.

Here are the steps you can use to recover lost data due to C drive shrinking:

  1. Download, install and launch Stellar Data Recovery Professional.
  2. From the software’s home screen, select the type of data you want to recover and click on the Next button.
  1. The next screen will prompt you to select the drive location from which you wish to recover data. Select the drive and click on Scan.
  1. After the scan is finished, all recoverable files will be listed in a tree-view in the software’s left-hand panel. Double-click on any file to preview it in the right-hand panel.
  2. If you are satisfied with the preview, select the files you wish to save and click on the Recover button.

In Conclusion

All the above mentioned methods are the best ones to shrink C drive on Windows 10 devices. Hope this article will help you learn about disk partition resizing and you’ll be able to perform these operations easily to solve your disk space issues. If you’re a beginner, then a partition management solution is the best choice for you.

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