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Fix Unable to Shrink C Drive on Windows 11/10/8/7

Windows is unable to shrink C drive. Why? And how do you fix this error? This article helps you remove this error from your PC and helps you learn the reason behind this error.

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Updated on Apr 19, 2024

Key Takeaways:

In this article, you can get the reasons why Disk Management is unable to shrink C drive Windows 11 and Windows 10 and 4 efficient solutions based on these reasons.

Many users report that they can't shrink the C drive and get a message saying that "You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located." This article tries to fix this error and figures out other reasons behind this error. Let's start.

Why Unable to Shrink C Drive

Sometimes, Windows can't shrink volume due to a lot of factors. Many users say, "I can't shrink my c drive Windows 11." Here, in order to resolve this issue effectively, it is very necessary for us to understand what is causing the unable to shrink C drive error. Here are the main reasons why you cannot shrink a partition on Windows PC:

  • Unmovable files are at the end of the C volume, such as the hibernation file, page file, and system volume information folder used by the system restore. you cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located.
  • There is not enough space on the C drive to shrink with the error message "There is not enough free space on the disk to complete this operation."
  • Many fragments on the C drive.
  • A file system error has made the volume partition inaccessible or invisible.
  • C drive uses FAT32 format, and the premise of shrinking the C drive is that it is in NTFS format.

All these reasons can lead to an "unable to shrink the C drive volume" error.

Next, we are going to fix this error, so continue to read.

4 Fixes for Unable to Shrink C Drive Error

According to the reasons above, in this part, we will provide you with an effective solution to solve this error. In fact, the most direct and effective solution is to use a free third-party tool, which allows you to successfully shrink the C partition without any settings or changes.

Fix 1. Fix Unable to Shrink C Drive via EaseUS Partition Master

When you can't shrink your C drive because of files you can't move or file system issues, don't worry. You can use third-party free software to partition your hard drive to overcome the limitations of Microsoft technology. EaseUS Partition Master Free is reliable that allows you to shrink the C partition/volume without disabling unmovable files. 

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  • System supported: It supports Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista
  • Device supported: HDD/SSD/USB, SD card, and other external hard drives
  • Interface: Clear
  • Operation Difficulty: Easy for even beginners

Download this free tool to help shrink the C drive now.

Step 1: Locate and select target partition to shrink

Go to the Partition Manager section, right-click on the partition that you want to shrink and select "Resize/Move".

Step 2: Adjust to shrink partition

Use your mouse to drag the end of the target partition to shrink partition space.

You can also adjust the partition size box to shrink the target partition. Once done, click "OK" to continue.

Step 3: Execute operation

Click the "Execute Task" button and "Apply" to keep all changes.

You can shrink the C drive to get more free space by using EaseUS Partition Master. However, this tool can do much more than shrink a volume. It can:

You can download this tool and follow the links above to try how to achieve your goals.

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Fix 2. Disable the Unmovable Files

Disk Management will show that the size of the compressed space on the C drive is limited by Hibernation, Page files, system protections, and other non-movable files. These files cannot be moved automatically by the Windows 11/10 built-in tool Disk Management, so you need to manually disable the non-movable files. Here's how:

Disable Hibernation File:

Step 1. Run Command Prompt as administrator."

Step 2. Type the commands: powercfg /hibernate off

powercfg commands to diskable hibernation file

This command will clear the hiberfil.sys from the C drive.

Disable System Protection:

Step 1. Press the Window icon and the R key, type SystemProperitiesProtecion.exe in the Run box, and press "Enter."

Step 2. Click C drive and select Disable system protection > Apply >Yes.

disable system protection

Step 3. Restart your PC.

Moving these files can be difficult if you are not familiar with the process. So, turning to Fix 1 is an easier choice.

You can check the video (From Muradi Tutorial on YouTube) to get more information:

Disable Paging File:

Step 1. Type systempropertiesadvanced.exe in the Run dialog. (To open the Run window, right-click on the Windows icon and choose "Run.")

Step 2. Click the "Advanced" option. Under the Performance section, choose "Settings," click the "Advanced" option, then click the "Change" button.

advanced system settings

Step 3. Select "No paging file" and click "Set."

Fix 3. Convert FAT32 to NTFS

You can't shrink the C drive if the C drive is in the FAT32 format, so converting FAT32 to NTFS is also a quick fix for this error. EaseUS Partition Master can efficiently help you turn FAT32 into NTFS without formatting, and it will cause no data loss during this process.

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Step 1. Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your computer.

Step 2. On Partition Manager, right-click on a FAT32 partition and click "Advanced", select "NTFS to FAT".

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 3. Click "Proceed" on the pop-up dialog box to continue.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 4. Click "Apply" to start the converting process. Wait until the operation process is finished.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

You may also like the following:

Fix 4. Defrag C Drive and Check Disk Error

To fix unable to shrink volume issue in Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7, you can also defragment and check the disk for errors. It's worth noting that to fix this issue; you'll need to be logged into your Windows with an administrator account.

Guide 1. Defrag C Drive

First, follow the guide to defrag the C drive now.

Step 1. Click Start > File Explorer > This PC.

Step 2. Right-click "Local Disk (C:)." Select Properties > Tools, and click "Optimize" under the "Optimize and Defrag Drive" section.

Step 3. Select C drive in the Optimize Drives window and click "Analyze."

optimize C drive

Finally, wait for this process to be finished.

Guide 2. Check Disk Errors

After Guide 1, it is time to check the disk errors on the C drive. Let's start with the following:

Step 1. Right-click on the C drive and choose Property > Tool > Check.

check disk errors on c drive

Step 2. This will check the file system errors on the C drive. Just wait for it to be done. 

EaseUS Partition Master can also check file system errors and do the surface test on your disk. If you need, turn to this tool and follow the links to learn more:


When Windows 11/10 Disk Management cannot shrink the C drive due to unremovable files, insufficient space, file system corruption, etc., you can disable these files and reduce the size; but using EaseUS Partition Master is an easier choice.

This tool has a simple and user-friendly interface, easy to operate even if you are an inexperienced computer user. In just three simple steps, you can shrink the C drive and get unallocated space to create new partitions or extend partitions.

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Unable to Shrink C Drive FAQs

Shrinking the C drive can get more unallocated space, so here I list some other questions and answers that you may like to know. Check them out here:

1. Why is "shrink volume" greyed out?

If the selected volume/partition does not have enough free space, the Shrink option will be greyed out. Or the partition you are operating is not another file system than NTFS. For example, if the C partition cannot be shrunk, it may be because there are unmovable files on the C partition. Thus, you can ensure enough contiguous free space to operate or convert the partition to the NTFS file system. You can delete some useless files or uninstall unnecessary programs to free up space or shrink other partitions to get free space.

2. How to shrink C drive on Windows 10/11?

Many tools like Disk Management and Diskpart can help shrink the C drive, but EaseUS Partition Master is a wiser choice since it is easier to use and break many limits of Microsoft. Here is how:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Partition Master and right-click the C drive.

Step 2. Choose Resize/Move and then choose to determine how much capacity you want to shrink.

Step 3. Click OK > Execute Operation > Apply.

3. Why is C drive suddenly full?

What is taking up space on my C drive? Generally, this is because your hard drive does not have enough disk space to store large amounts of data. If you're annoyed by the problem that your C drive is full, you might have too many applications or files on it.

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About the Author

Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created over 200 posts that help users solve multiple issues and failures on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, and Macs. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interests.

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Written by Sherly

Sherly joined EaseUS in 2022 and she has always loved writing articles and enjoys the fun they bring. She receives professional training here, focusing on product performance and other relative knowledge. She has written over 200 articles to help people overcome computing issues.

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