Fix Windows 10/8/7 Can't Shrink Volume Partition Error

Tracy King updated on Sep 10, 2020 to Partition Manager | How-to Articles

When you happen to meet 'can't shrink volume Windows 10' issue, here are the solutions you can try:

Shrink Volume with Free Disk Management Alternative
Convert FAT 32 to NTFS to Solve Cannot Shrink Volume Windows 10 Problem
Defragment and Check Disk Error Fix Windows Unable to Shrink Volume
Disable the Unmovable Files to Fix Can't Shrink C Drive 

Windows Was Unable To Shrink C Drive in Windows 10

"Hi guys, do you know why Windows 10 cannot shrink volume in Windows 10? It doesn't allow me to shrink C: drive on my laptop? I want to shrink C drive, but the Shrink button is disabled. 

Disk Management won't allow me to shrink or decrease C drive with an error message, saying that 'You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located. See the 'defrag' event in the Application log for detailed information about the operation where it has completed.' Can you help me to fix the cannot shrink volume in Windows 10 issue? Thank you."

Windows unable to shrink volume in Windows 10/8/7.

Why Can't Shrink Volume/Partition on Windows 10 in Disk Management

To fix this issue effectively, it's highly necessary to understand what causes unable to shrink c drive error. Here are the major reasons that disable you from shrinking partitions on Windows PC:

  • There are unmovable files at the very end of the volume, such as Hibernation, Page files, and system protections
  • Existing fragments separate files saved on the device
  • File system error cause volume, partition inaccessible or invisible
  • Your partition type is FAT 32. Both Shrink and Extend Volume support NTFS partition only

Any of the factors will make volume shrinking unavailable. So what will you do when you are told that you cannot shrink volume in Windows 10, 8, or 7? This page includes effective methods to help you get rid of can't shrink hard drive partition error in Windows 10/8/7. Just follow to see how to fix this issue and make full use of your disk space with ease.

How to Fix Cannot Shrink Volume Error in Windows 10/8/7

If you are unable to shrink C drive or can't shrink partition in Windows 10,  try out with the practical methods below. 

Method 1. Shrink Volume with Free Disk Management Alternative (Automated Way)

When you failed to shrink volume or decrease partition such as system C drive, don't worry. Powerful Disk Management alternative software - EaseUS Partition Master Free can effectively help you shrink and decrease C drive in Windows 10/8/7 for free with a few simple clicks.

Feel free to download, install this free partition manager software on your PC. It's fully compatible with all Windows OS, including Windows 10/8/7, etc. 

Video Tutorial - How to Partition Hard Drive on Windows 7/8/10

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 Windows 10 is supported

EaseUS Partition Master will automatically check and fix errors on the target disk, and securely shrink the target partition under the boot mode. Here we'll take shrinking C drive as an example to guide you fix unable to shrink volume error on Windows. If you want to allocate space from D drive to C drive to increase space to speed up your computer, here is the way out. 


Step 1: Install and launch EaseUS Partition Master

On the main window, right-click on the partition that you want to shrink and select "Resize/Move".

Run EaseUS Partition Master

Step 2: Adjust partition size

To shrink a partition, use your mouse to drag one of its ends to shrink partition space.

Adjust partition size

You can also adjust the partition size box to shrink the target partition.
Click "OK" to continue.

Confirm to decrease partition

Step 3: Shrink partition

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

Keep changes

Wait for the process to complete and reboot PC to keep all changes. Now that you've successfully shrunk C drive without using Disk Management. And you can use the shrunk free space for other usages now.

Method 2. Convert FAT 32 to NTFS to Solve Cannot Shrink Volume Windows 10 Problem

The easiest and quickest way to convert FAT 32 to NTFS is using EaseUS Partition Master again and finish the conversion with one-click. Except for partition resizing and converting, EaseUS partition manager also enables you to clone hard disk even the destination partition is smaller than the source.


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

open EaseUS Partition Master

Step 2: Select a FAT32 partition, right-click on it and select "Convert to NTFS". If you need to convert a storage device such as SD card or USB flash drive to NTFS, insert it into your PC first and repeat the previous operation.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

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

convert FAT32 to NTFS

Step 4: Go to the upper left corner, click the "Execute 1 Operation" button and you will see the operation details. Click "Apply" and "Finish" when the process completes.

convert FAT32 to NTFS
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 Windows 10 is supported

Method 3. Defragment and Check Disk Error Fix Windows Unable to Shrink Volume

Another method to fix "Windows is unable to shrink volume or partition" error in Windows 10, 8, or 7 is to defragment and check disk error. Follow two steps below to solve this issue now:

Note: To resolve this issue, you need to sign in to Windows 10/8/7 with your administrator account. 

Step 1. Defragment hard drive partition or volume

1. Click "Start" > Select "File Explorer".

2. Expand This PC tree on the left pane, right-click "Local Disk (C:)" or other partition which can't be shrunk in Windows PC.

3. Select "Properties" > Go to the "Tools" tab and click "Optimize" under the Optimize and defragment drive section.

4. Select the system drive (C) box on the Optimize Drives box, click "Analyze".

Defragment partition volume.

Wait until Windows completes the analysis and displays the percentage of the fragmented files in the selected drive.

Step 2. Check and fix disk file system errors

If the number of bad clusters detected by dynamic bad-cluster remapping is too high, you'll not be able to shrink the partition. So to perform a disk check and repair all file system errors is your next move:

1. Right-click on the drive or partition, which can't be shrunk in Windows PC and select "Properties".

2. Go to the Tools tab, click the Check button under "Error checking".

Check and fix volume error.

Wait to let the process complete and fix the drive for file system error.

Step 3. Shrink C drive or other volumes

1. Right-click on "This PC", choose "Manage", and choose "Disk Management".

2. Right-click on the partition which you want to shrink, and choose "Shrink Volume..."

Shink partition.

3. In the dialog box, set the amount of space to shink and click "Shrink".

Confirm to shrink volume.

Method 4. Disable the Unmovable Files to Fix Can't Shrink C Drive 

The reason why Windows won't let you shrink the volume is as the message shown in Disk Management suggested, because there are immovable system files at the very end of the volume. You can use the following tips to work this around.

  • Run the Disk Cleanup Wizard, making sure to remove the hibernation file and all restore points
  • Disable System Restore
  • Disable the pagefile ( Open up Control Panel > System > Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Advanced > Change > No Paging File)
  • Disable kernel memory dump. 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. 

Sum Up

By following provided methods on this page, you can effectively resolve can't shrink partition issue by using automated partition manager software or manual methods. After shrinking volumes, you may want to make use of the free spaces. You can also apply EaseUS Partition Master Free to effectively partition hard drive with ease. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.

Video Tutorial

How to Partititon a Hard Drive on Windows 10/8/7