I’m trying to create a small partition on my computer using the Windows 10 disk management tool for the second time (since a long time ago). The first step is to shrink the C drive and the tool asks me how much I want to shrink it. I choose the minimum amount, which is 1 MB. However, after the process is complete, the disk management tool only shows the original C partition with 1 MB less of space available, but there is no trace of the new small partition that should have been created. I also ran Partition Magic to try to recover any lost partitions, but it didn’t find anything. I’m not sure why this is happening and how to get back the lost space. Can you help me?
[Edit:] As some people have pointed out, the unallocated space was too small to even show up. I tried shrinking the C drive again, this time by 548 MB, and now I can finally see the 2 “lost” MB in the unallocated section. However, when I try to extend the C volume back to its original size, the maximum amount allowed is 548 MB, not 550. It seems like I can’t access those 2 MB even though they are now visible.
Understanding Partitioning in Windows 10
Partitioning is a process of dividing a single hard drive into multiple logical sections or partitions. In Windows 10, the Disk Management tool allows users to create, delete, and resize partitions without the need for third-party software. However, sometimes partitioning can consume disk space, which can be a frustrating problem for users.
When you create a new partition in Windows 10, the operating system sets aside some space for the partition table, which is a data structure that stores information about the disk partitions. This space is usually small and does not affect the overall disk space significantly. However, if you create multiple small partitions, the partition table can consume a significant amount of space, leaving less space for actual data storage.
The amount of space consumed by the partition table depends on various factors, such as the number of partitions, their size, and the file system used. For example, the NTFS file system used by Windows 10 requires more space for the partition table than the FAT32 file system used by older versions of Windows.
Shrinking the C Drive
When you shrink the C drive using the Disk Management tool, Windows 10 creates unallocated space on the hard drive. This space is not assigned to any partition and is available for creating new partitions or extending existing ones. However, the amount of space that you can shrink the C drive by depends on the amount of free space available on the drive, the size of the files stored on the drive, and the location of the files on the drive.
If the amount of free space available on the C drive is less than the amount you want to shrink it by, Windows 10 will not allow you to shrink it. Similarly, if there are files stored on the drive that cannot be moved to another location, Windows 10 will not allow you to shrink the drive beyond the location of those files.
Creating a Small Partition
When you create a new partition using the Disk Management tool, Windows 10 assigns a drive letter to the partition and formats it with a file system. The new partition then appears in the File Explorer as a separate drive, and you can store files and folders on it.
However, as mentioned earlier, creating a small partition can consume disk space, as Windows 10 sets aside some space for the partition table. If the partition is too small, the partition table can consume a significant amount of space, leaving less space for actual data storage.
To avoid this problem, it is recommended to create partitions of reasonable size that can accommodate your data storage needs. If you need to create multiple partitions, consider using third-party partitioning software that can optimize the partition table and reduce the amount of space consumed by it.
Recovering Lost Space
If you have created a small partition using the Disk Management tool and the partition is not visible in the File Explorer, it is possible that the partition is too small to be detected. In this case, you can try shrinking the C drive again by a larger amount to create more unallocated space on the hard drive.
Once you have created enough unallocated space, you can use the Disk Management tool to create a new partition and assign a drive letter to it. Alternatively, you can use third-party partitioning software to recover lost partitions and allocate the unallocated space to existing partitions.
If you are unable to recover the lost space, it is possible that the space has been permanently lost due to a partitioning error or a hardware issue. In this case, you may need to backup your data and reformat the hard drive to reclaim the lost space.
Best Practices for Partitioning
To avoid disk space consumption and other partitioning issues, it is recommended to follow some best practices when partitioning a hard drive in Windows 10. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Create partitions of reasonable size that can accommodate your data storage needs
- Avoid creating too many small partitions
- Use third-party partitioning software for complex partitioning tasks
- Backup your data before partitioning or resizing partitions
- Ensure that you have enough free space on the hard drive before creating new partitions
- Defragment the hard drive before resizing partitions
Partitioning is a useful feature in Windows 10 that allows users to divide a hard drive into multiple logical sections. However, partitioning can consume disk space, which can be a frustrating problem for users. By following best practices and using third-party partitioning software when necessary, you can avoid partitioning issues and optimize your hard drive for data storage.
You have reduced the partition three times: first by 1 MB, then by 1 MB again, and finally by 548 MB. The issue is that the Disk Management tool only allows you to re-grow the disk by 548 MB.
This space is not lost, as it is indicated in the Disk Management tool when you right-click on “Disk 0” and go to Properties. In the Volumes tab, it shows “Unallocated space” as 3 MB (which is one more than it should be).
I have experienced the same thing. My system disk was originally fully allocated to the maximum size allowed by the Disk Management tool, but it shows “Unallocated space” as 2 MB. I don’t know where on the disk this unallocated space is, but I would guess it is at the end of the disk.
Based on this information, my conclusion is that the Disk Management tool rounds down the space. This means that it calculates disk space in units larger than 1 MB and truncates the numbers to that unit size.
I don’t have any information on the internals of the Disk Management tool, so I can’t provide a more detailed explanation.
It’s good to know about this idiosyncrasy of the Disk Management tool. It means that when resizing partitions, you may lose a few MBs of space here and there (which is not much considering the size of modern disks).
You could report this issue to Microsoft through the Feedback Hub in the hope of getting a response. I don’t think it’s worth re-partitioning the entire disk just to retrieve 3 MB of space.