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Windows 7: Cannot shrink boot partition below 480gb due to reserved space

27 Aug 2014   #1

Windows 7 Pro 32 Bit
Cannot shrink boot partition below 480gb due to reserved space

I know this has been discussed to death on this and other forums but bear with me.

Goal: To migrate boot and reserved partition of W7 pro install from WD 1tb ntsf format drive to 128 or 256 gb ssd without reinstalling OS.

My Problem: So far I defragged the boot drive and ended up with a 100mb reserved partition and the remainder of the drive a single boot partition with 60gb of data. I then attempted to shrink the boot partition down to less than 100gb but could only shrink it to 470gb because at that point defrag says that there is "reserved MFT" space. Sure enough sitting about half way through the partition is a non movable block. I did shrink the partition and now my boot partition is down to 470gb still only containing 60gb of data.

I proposed to W7 disk management that I shrink that partition and it now lets me shrink it by another 50% (down to 230gb) again. Perhaps 3 more shrinks will get me where I need to be (a 100gb boot partition with 60gb of data) but there must be a safer and simpler way.

Question: If I use one the freeware tools available such as Samsung migration tool or built in W7 tools will it recognize all the empty space on the boot partition and allow the migration or do I need to purchase a commercial product? My last choice is a clean install of W7 because of the hassles of authenticating my "upgrade" installation and re-installing programs. If clean install needed I will just stay with existing HDD.

Thanks in advance for any help with this question


My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2014   #2
Mark Phelps

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit

You could try using the free version of the Minitool Partition Wizard Boot CD. It will allow you to change partition sizes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2014   #3
Microsoft MVP


What "hassles of authenticating my Upgrade" would this be? Just leave the key blank during install and then afterwards do the quick Registry workaround in Option 3 of Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version.

I'd use this as an opportunity to do a perfect install as compiled in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 than save it as a backup image so you never need to reinstall again.

To shrink existing Win7 partition enough use only the boot CD as Mark suggests. How to Move/Resize Partition with partition manager? Partition Wizard Move/Resize Partition Video Help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

27 Aug 2014   #4

Windows 7 Pro 32 Bit

Thanks all my question is answered.

I will reply to greg.

I just googled "windows 7 upgrade activation hassle" and got 36,500,000 hits.

You are correct it is not a terrible hassle. I recently performed a W7 clean install on another computer using my upgrade media and after downloading 149 important updates and 40 optional updates I was ready to install programs and links. Then restore data.

Since I am happy with my current installation and it is running smoothly I will do as Mike suggests. If problems arise my next step will be a clean install with well known workarounds or phone authentication.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2014   #5
Microsoft MVP


If you reinstall often it might help to Update 7 installation media - Windows 7 Help Forums.

I wasn't sure what you meant by "authentication" since none is required. If there isn't an OS on the driver during install for the installer to detect, then one only needs to do a quick registry workaround after install to activate Upgrade version.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Cannot shrink boot partition below 480gb due to reserved space

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