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I have a physical disk with two partitions, an old OS partition (with MBR) of 296GB and a RECOVERY partition of 2048MB (a default DELL recovery partition), both are not in use. I have successfully resized the OS partition from 296GB to 174GB with the following command:

DISKPART> shrink

which shrinks to the maximum shrinkable space. However, the partition only uses 56GB and I want to create a partition of at least under 128GB (to be able to create a VHD of it). When I shrink again, I receive the following error:

DISKPART> shrink desired=50000

Virtual Disk Service error:
The specified shrink size is too big and will cause the volume to be
smaller than the minimum volume size.

According to this post I should defrag, which I did using several tools (open source UltraDefrag seemed to do the best job). It seems that all files are on top of the disk, but how can I check that for sure? And if not, how can I manually defrag/move files, to claim the largest possible consecutive free disk space?

Or: what should I do to shrink the volume to its current used size plus a bit?

(Note: I tried to create a new VHD with the CREATE VDISK command pointing to the oversized VHD for the source-parameter, but here too, the 128GB/137GiB limit prevents success, it seems. Mounting the VHD and shrinking it had exactly the same effect as doing it on the original physical disk, which is why I now try to first limit the physical partition size.)

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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It doesn't really matter whether its an OS disk or a data disk. In both cases, the middle of the disk is occupied by $MFTMirr which copies vital bits of the MFT Table. This file is unmovable, even though Microsoft made it available for moving since Windows XP.

So far I have found only one tool that can reliably move these files: PerfectDisk. It has a free, fully-functional, thirty-days version. It can only move these Metadata and MFT files when in offline mode: Select Boot Time on its main tab and either reboot or, if possible, defrag in offline mode. After this, the command SHRINK worked as expected.

If you need more background info or want to know how to do this in more detail, I decided to mock up a little blog about the issue.

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