System Partitioning with Vista

Jul 29, 2008
Updated • Jan 5, 2013
Windows, Windows Vista

System Partitioning is a little scary, especially if your as stupid as me and don’t back your files up before you start.

I have been using Ubuntu installed through Wubi, a very convenient and efficient way for anyone to try out Linux beyond a Live CD or Virtual machine.

While Wubi is great It does have a couple limitations, firstly with hibernation and suspend modes, neither of which work. Not an issue for a desktop PC, but for me using my laptop quite a big drawback. Secondly, apparently installing through Wubi gives a small performance hit to Ubuntu, although I wouldn’t know how true this is.

I decided to dual-boot my Vista system with Ubuntu, however had some difficulties with getting the Vista partitioning tool to shrink the main volume.

Vista has the disk management tool which is a little more advanced then the XP counterpart and allows you to shrink, expand and create partitions on the hard drives. It can be a pretty frustrating tool and has a particular aversion to shrinking partitions.

My first attempt got me this message:

There are a variety of reasons why there was no space to create a partition, here they are and also the method you can fix it with:

Not enough HDD space

  • Delete as many files as you can
  • Reduce the Recycle bin size (by default it takes 10% HDD space)
  • Run the disk cleaner and get rid of hibernation and temporary files
  • Remove all but the most recent System Restore points

Paging Files

  • Disable virtual memory for now


  • Use a tool like Auslogic Defragmenter
  • MFT files, such as you can see below, on the the end of a volume will prevent partition shrinking. They’re a pain to move and I don’t have an answer for that one.


  • Use a tool like CCleaner to track down any temporary and junk files which Windows misses.

Hopefully this helps you if you find yourself in the same situation. However that said there are no guarantees, the longer you’ve been using your PC the harder it will be to resize partitions without a complete reinstall. Make you reactivate anything you turned off such as System Restore.


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  1. Josh said on July 31, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Yea it is… I couldn’t understand why either… however previously with nothing running it was using about 700mb RAM, in its own partition it was running like 400mb… =)

  2. Rarst said on July 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    >Ubuntu on its own partiton seems to be using considerably less ram which is good…

    Which is weird. Loopback (wubi) install shouldn’t have visible difference of RAM usage.

  3. Josh said on July 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    haha thanks for the correction guys =P

    Rarst, dont worry I was being slightly saracastic, all my data is synced with mesh to the cloud and my desktop =)

    Ubuntu on its own partiton seems to be using considerably less ram which is good…

    unfortunately for some strange reason the visual effects are not running as smooth now as they where with wubu. I have no idea why that would be, also hibernate and suspend still dont work.

  4. What is Ubuntu? said on July 30, 2008 at 8:06 am

    If you like Ubuntu under Wubi, then you will love it in a real install. Under Wubi the OS is as slow as your host OS. You will see how resource-thrifty Linux is when you give it a real install.

  5. unruled said on July 29, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    wubi can make the OS incredibly slow and unresponsive on somewhat older drives with lower speeds.

    its a very handy tool though.

  6. rgifford said on July 29, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    For the partition resizing, try the GParted Live CD. Used it with great satisfaction in dealing with Vista/XP and partition resizing. Does the job without harming any data.

  7. Mike said on July 29, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Matt beat me to it, it’s wubi not wubu

  8. Matt Clark said on July 29, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Uhh… do you mean Wubi?

    Cuz, wubu is… different:

  9. Rarst said on July 29, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I can’t stress enough that backup is REQUIRED before working with partitions. It seems like easy operation (and it is) but amount of things that can go wrong wiht it is enormous.

    On preparing stuff – JkDefrag has “Force together” profile especially for this. It moves all files to the start of partition (even if it creates more fragmentation) so you can chop the end of partition away.

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