How to Shrink a Windows Vista partition and create space for a second partition on your drive:
The 250GB hard drive I’m using for this article contains a single partition used by Windows Vista. While this is not a large drive there is enough free space to accommodate Windows 8. You may need to off load (move) some of your data files (Documents, Music, Photos, Etc) to the USB drive if necessary.
In order to create space on the drive for Windows 8 we will use Vista’s ‘Disk Management’ to “Shrink” the partition that vista is installed on; which will result initially in “unallocated” space, and after formatting will be available for use when installing Windows 8.
Note: Vista’s Disk Management has a limitation in that it can only shrink a partition up to the point where the first un-moveable file is located on your existing Vista partition. Unmovable files include the MFT (Master File Table) which can be fragmented with the last fragment located near the end of the partition thus severely limiting the amount of “Unallocated” space that can be created. In circumstances like this, you can use a third party utility like Mini Tool’s Partition Wizard (http://www.partitionwizard.com ) or EaseUS Partition Master (http://www.partition-tool.com/personal.htm) either of which performs the actual reduction of the Vista partition size during a system reboot.
1) Click ‘Start’ / Right click on ‘Computer’ and select ‘Manage’, the User Account Control (UAC) window will open, click ‘Continue’. In the left pane, select ‘Disk Management’.
2) Right click on the Vista partition and select ‘Shrink Volume’ In the left column select the ‘Resize/Move partition’ option.
3) I’m going to shrink the Vista partition down to 150GB (153600 binary) which will result in about 83GB of “Unallocated” disk space for use when installing Windows 8. Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB (84872 Binary = 82.88 GB decimal).
4) Click on the ‘Shrink’ button after you have set the appropriate value for your hard drive. Your drive should now have unallocated space in the amount you specified.
5) Right click on the “Unallocated” space and create a ‘New Simple Volume’ and format a new primary partition. For added reliability with hard drives I always choose to perform a ‘Full’ format, SSD (Solid State Drive) users should choose the ‘Quick’ format option. Assign a meaningful volume name such as Windows8, change the volume name of the Vista partition if necessary for clarity purposes. The drive letter Vista assigns to the new partition is of no consequence as Windows 8 once installed will always boot as C: and Vista will still boot a C:.
6) At this point its time to create your second baseline backup. This is the backup you can use to reset your drive back to a pre Windows 8 installation state.
When you reach the screen where you enter the “Description”, enter: After creating Windows 8 partition, but prior to installing Windows 8. Click on the empty Windows 8 partition to include it in the backup, be sure to include the Vista partition and any other partitions that may be on your drive.
Select a destination drive (bottom right) and a folder for the backup, once again choose something meaningful (Folder example: Todo_Vista_PriorTo_Installing_Win8_MMYYDD).
Click ‘Proceed’ to start the backup.
At this point you should have two image backups on your USB drive.
One note of caution, don’t forget to create Windows Vista partition only backups (System backup option) on an “as needed basis” whenever you have installed new software or uninstalled some unwanted application in Vista. This backup can be restored on an as needed basis.
Download any and all Windows 8 device drivers for your PC (if available) or from the motherboard’s support site (if you build your own PC) to a newly created folder (Example: Win8_Drivers) located in the root (C:\) on the Vista partition and burn them to a CD/DVD. Leave the folder in-tack in case you need it.