By AOMEI / Last Updated July 27, 2017

Is there a need to shrink Windows volume?

You may wonder why someone would want to shrink a Windows volume. One reason would be if you have a large hard drive and some space to spare, it may make sense to create more than one volume on this hard drive to separate system files and installed programs from personal files. Then you can shrink volume to free up some unallocated space, with which you can create new volume. Another reason is that when you want to install another operating system such as Linux, but do not have enough free space to create a new partition for it. In this scenario, you need to shrink volume to generate unallocated space.

Shrink volume with Windows internal Disk Management tool

Windows Server 2012 internal Disk Management tool contains Shrink Volume feature, so you can free up unallocated space easily. Open Disk Management console, right click the volume you want to work with and then select "Shrink" option in the drop down menu as is shown in the picture.

Shrink Volume

In the pop-up dialog box, enter the amount that you want to shrink. After that, you will see an unallocated space right next to the volume.

Tip: The size of the available shrink space can be restricted by the amount of space currently allocated to on the hard drive, that is to say, you can shrink a volume only up to half of the free space.

You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where an unmovable file is located. If there is some system files on the partition, you may find the available shrink space is too low, sometimes, even 0MB in size. If you want to shrink more space, you can use another tool.

Free up unallocated space with a powerful tool

If you wan to free up more free space, you need to resort to Server Disk Management alternative, such as AOMEI Partition Assistant Server Edition. In principle, this software works the same as the Windows Disk Management tool. The difference is that it offers more features and is a lot more flexible, for example, you can shrink volume freely or extend volumes regardless of where the unallocated space sits.

Firstly, take a look at the appearance of AOMEI Partition Assistant Server Edition. It can be observed that this software has a pretty clean interface, with main functions listed at left and menu items on the top. The middle pane shows you the information about your disk. To free up unallocated space, what you need to do is very simple. Take partition D as an example. The following tells the specified procedures.

Step 1: Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Server Edition, in the middle pane, right click partition D and you will see a small window pops up with many operational options. Choose Resize Partition.

Resize Partition D

Step 2: A new window comes out with a slider bar. Drag this slider bar leftwards to make unallocated space. Also, you can input accurate figures in the blanks below. Then click OK to go on.

Create Unallocated Space

Step 3: Now you can have a preview of what has been changed to your partition D. You see, there is an unallocated space that lies right behind partition D, with the size that you determined in step 2. This indicates that you have already half succeeded. Finally, click Apply in the upper left corner to commit the operation. If you want to turn back to the front step, click Undo at the menu items. Discard enables you to turn back to the original state.


Above are the detailed procedures, pretty easy and intuitive, right? Now, with this unallocated space, you can create new a partition or merge partitions. Right click the unallocated space, you can find the options, just follow the guidance and surely you will achieve the target without effort.

Use Unallocated Space

So if you want to free up free space without restriction, you can download and try this better solution.