Resizing an NTFS partition

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Note: Please ensure you have a backup before attempting this if your data is important!

Most systems that are purchased already have Windows installed on it, and some people would prefer not wipe it off completely when doing an Arch Linux installation. For this reason, among others, it is useful to resize the existing Windows partition to make room for a Linux partition or two. This is often accomplished with a Live CD or bootable USB thumb drive.

For Live CDs the typical procedure is to download a .iso file, burn it to a CD, and then boot from it. InfraRecorder is a free (as in GPL3) CD/DVD burning application for Windows which fits the bill nicely. If you would rather use a bootable USB media instead, UNetbootin is a handy cross platform tool also available for Windows. Another alternative which may provide success where UNetbootin fails to create a bootable media is the LinuxLive USB Creator.

There are a number of bootable CD/USB images avaliable. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but is a good place to start:

  • System Rescue CD is a good tool to have, and works seamlessly in most cases. Once booted, run GParted and the rest should be fairly obvious.
  • GParted Live is a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution for x86 based computers. It enables you to use all the features of the latest versions of the GParted application. Does not include additional packages System Rescue CD may incorporate, and disk encryption schemes may not be supported.
  • Arch Linux "Core Image" ISOs come with parted and ntfsprogs. Text-based and not very pretty, but functional.

Note that the important programs for resizing NTFS partitions include ntfsprogs and a utility like (G)parted or fdisk, provided by the util-linux package. Unless you are an "advanced" user it is advisable to use a tool like GParted to perform any resize operations to minimize the chance of data loss due to user error.

If you already have Arch Linux installed on your system and simply want to resize an existing NTFS partition, you can use the parted and ntfsprogs packages to do it. Optionally, you can use the GParted GUI after installing the gparted package from the [extra] repository. The AUR also contains a gparted-git package in case you require any features/fixes that are not yet in the official release.