Plea for help to the gods of partitioning! [solved]

I didn’t want to create an account on another more apropriate forum just for this one question, and I have faith in the computer savviness of Blender users, so here is my situation:

I recently bought a laptop that came with Windows Vista installed. I am not a fan of Windows or the extremely dumbed-down Vista and have been using Ubuntu for a while. However, when I know that I will require a Windows OS in the future for college because, let’s all face it, there are some rare things that can only be done in Windows -or at least easily enough in Windows. So I want to dual boot Vista and Ubuntu. Except Vista doesn’t play nice with creating partitions. The Vista partitioner says I can only shrink its partition by 455 mb even though I have over 230 gb of free space. I do not want to use a linux or other partitioner because they write over data that is towards the end of the disk. So I found the option of diskpart.exe in Windows. Does anyone know if it works well without writing over important data?

There is a recovery partition and the windows partition which is 290 gb. I want another partition for Ubuntu and another to store all my personal files on that will be shared between both Windows and Linux.

Any other advice?

Edit:
Solution (review before I do it!): GParted will mess up the MBR and cause Windows not to boot, but that is easily fixable with a Windows recovery disk according to http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windo…sta-partition/.

This sounds like a resonably acceptable method to me. So, unless anyone advises me not to proceed, I will partition my drive with the GParted livecd and then fix the boot issue with my Windows recovery disk.

Seepost #13 for more info.

Update: Gparted worked great, no problems at all.

Defragment the disk.

Or wipe/reinstall Vista and use the right sizes for your partitions right away.

There’s a program out there that lets you move around all the ‘unmovable’ files in a ntfs volume so you can shrink the partition down and not lose data. Don’t remember what it’s called though.

I do know that a vista install dvd won’t even touch a partition less than 20 gigs but you can install it then shrink it down to recover a bunch of that. Learned that the hard way when I left 20 gigs (according to fdisk) for it and the install said 19.9 and refused to do anything.

Anyway, google is your friend.

Thanks for the replies so far.

oogsnoepje: I defraged, with about four different programs in addition to the Vista defrag utility and they still showed immovable data at the end of the disk that would get destroyed while partitioning.

Uncle Entity: I have heard of several programs (I think Acronis was one) that consolidate used disk space, but they seem to be out of my cheap going-to-college budget. I also searched google extensively before posting here, but the only options I found were:

  1. gparted or other linux/bootable partition app- I know how to use gparted, but with Vista’s disk usage I am assured to loose data and will be required to repair or reinstall Windows
  2. Vista’s disk manager - it will only allow me to shrink the 230 gb of free space by 455 mb no matter how many times I defragmented the disk
  3. other software that I can’t afford and isn’t quaranteed to work for my situation

Then I found the diskpart.exealternative and wondered if it would be a good way to prevent data corruption since it is a Windows tool. So, basically what I am looking for is input from people who have used diskpart or have successfully partitioned a Vista disk.

i think that the unmovable date will be unmovable no matter what software you use because windows is using them while you are difragmenting
so you have to boot from an external media like a flash memory or a CD
try this link www.ultimatebootcd.com its free and have allot of hard disk tools
i haven’t used it since v3 so i don’t now what the current stats is but i think they have Ranish Partition Manager in it so you can use that to repartition so just purn it to a cd and your set
hope that helps
edit :
it have the Partition Resizer v1.3.4 in it

The popular freeware partitioning program is back! The first free program to resize and move partitions without data loss, is now more complete, with support for disks up to 2TB of size.

I don’t know, I haven’t bought or used a piece of proprietary software that didn’t come bundled with a hardware purchase in probably 10 years and I managed to shrink vista down to something like 12 MB IIRC.

I’m thinking that I just used the built in disk defragmentor for some reason. Ok, yeah, I just googled ‘shrinking vista partition’ and apparently there’s a ‘Shrink Volume’ menu item when you right click on a partition.

Gotta love google…

Uncle Entity: the Shrink Volume option is the one that I talked about that only lets me make the partition 455 mb smaller.

myway880: Ultimate Boot CD looked incredibly promising. However, I looked at the FAQs for the partition editors you mentioned and they both were incompatible with ntfs;

Q: Does Partition Resizer resize NTFS partitions?
A: No, NTFS partitions are currently not supported by the resizing engine. They can only be moved but you cannot use Partition Resizer to change their size.

Can RPM work with NTFS?

RPM can only create/boot an NTFS partition. No formatting/resizing
can be done through RPM.
I even downloaded and burned UBCD to a disk already!

Have you tried disabling the windows paging file? This might not be wise if you don’t have enough ram, but the paging file is typically the file that can’t be moved.

I’ve never had a problem using the ntfs-resize program with Ubuntu, but I also have never had unmovable files at the end of my partition. Generally it is a good idea to back up all of your information when repartitioning a drive, no matter what program you are using.

One of the first potential solutions I found was from http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/working-around-windows-vistas-shrink-volume-inadequacy-problems/. I followed the directions:

To absolutely ensure that you can shrink the volume, you should disable as many of the system files as you can, at least temporarily. Here’s the list of steps:

  • Run the Disk Cleanup Wizard, making sure to remove the hibernation file and all restore points.
  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable the pagefile ( Open up System in Control Panel, then Advanced System Settings \ Advanced \ Performance \ Advanced \ Change \ No Paging File.
  • In the same Advanced Settings, go to Startup and Recovery \ Settings and then change the Write debugging information drop-down to “None” to disable the kernel memory dump.
  • Disable Hibernation mode in your power options \ advanced power options screen.
  • Reboot the machine, and then delete your c:\pagefile.sys file, following these instructions if you are having issues.

to no avail…

I may try another time and if it doesn’t work then just use GParted and live with the consequences.

Did you also defrag with the ‘move all files to the front of disk’ or whatever option that is before you attempted to shrink the disk. IIRC it shows where data is located and if anything is at the end then you can’t shrink it without losing data.

Speaking from experience it wasn’t that hard and I actively try to avoid learning how stuff works in the windows world.

If all else fails you can also try to boot from the vista live cd and do the ‘move everything to front’ defrag like the instructions linked from the ubuntu page suggest.

Funny how all these people rush in to defend winders at the drop of a hat but when someone needs help nothing but…silence.

if u have an old windows xp CD
u can use partcd to create a windows xp that boots from cd and u can defrage from there
this is what i use right now

I have Vista on a laptop. The immovable data is possibly the Vista reinstall data that you’d use instead of a Vista disk to reinstall the OS. I think reinstall can be activated by holding down F12 on startup, or something like that. On my laptop it’s a hidden partition that contains the OS backup and install files for all packaged software…

For the automatic reinstall to remain functional you will probably need to leave this in place so the reinstall tool can still find it.

Repartitioning the rest of the disk should not be a problem, but I’d stay well away from the unmovable data if I were you… Unless you never intend to reinstall Vista or any pre-packaged software. You could always delete this partition if you intend to upgrade to Windows 7 or something.

Edit: It’s possible that running the reinstall after partitioning and installing a Linux distro will wipe your Linux partition. I’m not sure how friendly Windows will be so you might not want to use this anyway?

FunkyWyrm: the data to reinstall data for Vista is, just like on your laptop, a separate partition. But on my laptop it is before the regular Vista partition at the very beginning of the hard drive , so it should not interfere when I resize the Vista partition. Thanks for your concern!

It seems that I have misunderstood the problem with using GParted to resize an ntfs partition. I thought that it would destroy any data that would end up outside the shrunken partition, but I have found otherwise. GParted uses ntfsresize which will (according to http://man.linux-ntfs.org/ntfsresize.8.html)

resize an NTFS filesystem without data loss
and

relocate any data if needed, without risking data integrity.
GParted will mess up the MBR and cause Windows not to boot, but that is easily fixable with a Windows recovery disk according to http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/using-gparted-to-resize-your-windows-vista-partition/.

This sounds like a resonably acceptable method to me. So, unless anyone advises me not to proceed, I will partition my drive with the GParted livecd and then fix the boot issue with my Windows recovery disk.

Sorry to bother everyone when the solution was obviously right in front of me the whole time!

GParted worked fine. I didn’t even have to repair my Vista installation with the recovery disk. I can’t believe I was so worried about this!