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A simple partition tool to manage disk space in Windows 10

How to Fix Can't Shrink Volume in Windows 11/10/8/7

Updated by Roxanne on Aug 30, 2021
Written by Tracy King

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

Error: Can't Shrink Volume Windows 11/10

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

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 in Disk Management on Windows 11/10

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 the hibernation file, page files, and system volume information folder used by the System Restore. 
  • Not enough space for shrinking with error messages "There is not enough space available on the disk(s) to complete this operation.".
  • Existing fragments separate files saved on the device.
  • File system error causes volume, partition inaccessible, or invisible.
  • Your partition type is FAT 32. Both Shrink and Extend Volume support NTFS partition only. You can't shrink FAT32 volume.

Any of the factors will lead to the cannot shrink volume Windows 10 problem. In these cases, how to shrink volume or how to shrink C drive? Don't fret. This article will learn to use a professional partition management tool to shrink volumes when Disk Management is not available. Moreover, we will also provide you effective methods to make the Shrink Volume option work again.

How to Shrink Volume with EaseUS Partition Management Tool

When you failed to shrink volume due to unmovable files or file system issues, don't worry. You can use third-party software to partition hard drive to overcome the limitation of Microsoft technology. Powerful Disk Management alternative software - EaseUS Partition Master can help you easily shrink C drive in Windows 10/8/7 with simple clicks.

Download this user-friendly disk management tool and learn how to shrink partitions with simple steps. 

Step 1: Locate and select target partition to shrink

On the main window, 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 one of its ends 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 Operation" button and "Apply" to keep all changes.

EaseUS Partition Master makes it effortless to partition hard drives in Windows 10. Check the following video and learn to resize C drive, allocate space from one drive to another, delete partition, and more. 

How to Fix Can't Shrink Volume Error So That You Can Shrink C Drive 

Before you shrink partitions, you should check how much available space you have on your disk so that you can avoid not enough space error if you manually resize your partitions. If there is enough space, but you still can't shrink, take the following different solutions for different problems.

1. Convert FAT32 to NTFS to Solve FAT32 Partitions Can't Shrink Problem

The easiest and quickest way to convert FAT32 to NTFS is using EaseUS Partition Master and finish the conversion with one-click. After converting, the cannot shrink volume problem won't appear, and you can start to shrink your partitions in Disk Management. 

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

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. Now the converting process will start automatically. Wait until the operation process is finished.

convert FAT32 to NTFS

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

Another method to fix the can't shrink volume issue in Windows 10, 8, or 7 is to defragment and check disk error. 

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

Defragment hard drive partition

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

Step 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.

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

Step 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.

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:

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

Step 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.

3. Disable the Unmovable Files to Fix Cannot Shrink a Volume Beyond the Point

Windows won't let you shrink the volume because there are immovable system files at the very end of the volume, like page file, hibernation file, or system volume information folder.

The fix is to temporarily disable hibernation, the Paging file, as well as the System Restore feature. Once disabled these features, restart Windows and resize (shrink) the volume using Disk Management.

Disable System Restore

Step 1. Launch systempropertiesprotection.exe from the Run dialog.

Step 2. Select the system drive and click "Configure".

Step 3. Click "Disable system protection" and then click OK.

fix cannot shrink volume windows 10

Disable hibernation file

Step 1. Click on Start, type cmd, and then right-click on Command Prompt to select "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Run the following command: powercfg /hibernate off. This will turn off the hibernate feature and clear the hiberfil.sys from the system drive.

fix can't shrink volume windows 10

Disable paging file

Step 1. Launch systempropertiesadvanced.exe from the Run dialog.

Step 2. Click the "Advanced" tab. Under Performance, click "Settings", click the "Advanced" tab, then click the "Change" button.

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

how to increase shrink volume in windows 10

Or you can also disable kernel memory dump.

In the same Advanced Settings, go to "Startup and Recovery" > "Settings". Change the Write debugging information drop-down to "None" to disable the kernel memory dump.

Sum Up

By following the provided methods on this page, you can effectively resolve the can't shrink volume issue on Windows 11/10. We highly recommend you try EaseUS Partition Master to manage and optimize your disk partitions to extend your computer's life and capability.

Can't Shrink Volume Windows 11/10 FAQs

Here are more relevant topics about cannot shrink volume Windows 11/10. Find solutions if you also have these questions.

Why can't I shrink volume more?

Why can I not shrink my partition? There are several possible reasons:

  • FAT32 partitions can't be shrank.
  • Not enough free space 
  • File system or other error
  • Unmovable files are located 

How do you fix cannot shrink a volume beyond the point?

When you use the Disk Management in Windows 10 to shrink a volume, you may see an error message "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 when it has completed.".

It's usually the pagefile.sys (an unmovable file), hiberfil.sys hibernation file or System Volume Information folder used by the System Restore feature prevents you from shrinking the drive beyond a point.

To fix "You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point" when shrinking the partition, you can try:

  • Disabling System Restore.
  • Disabling the hibernation feature.
  • Disabling the Paging file.

How do I shrink a volume in Windows 11/10?

The simplest way to shrink a volume in Windows 10 is using EaseUS partition management software. It allows you to shrink C drive or any other partition by easy drag-and-drop.

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master, right-click on the partition that you want to shrink and select "Resize/Move".

Step 2. You can use your mouse to drag one of its ends to shrink partition space. Or you can also adjust the partition size box to shrink the target partition. Then, click "OK".

Step 3. Click the "Execute Operation" button and "Apply" to keep all changes.

How long does it take to shrink a volume Windows 11/10?

It's very quick to shrink a partition. The amount of time it takes also depends on how much data you store in your partition.  

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Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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  • 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. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.

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

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