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Resizing an NTFS Partition is Taking Forever

Posted on 2014-04-04
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Last Modified: 2015-05-23
I have a Sony Vaio running Windows 8 that came with a 750GB HDD. I have a 250 GB SSD that I want to use in this laptop instead.

I always use Clonzilla to clone drives. However, it does not allow you to clone a larger drive over to a smaller one. So I need to shrink down the main partition. I put the HDD into a USB enclosure and connected it to a laptop running Puppy Linux.

I started up GParted and set it to resize the NTFS partition (dev/sdb5) from 671 GB down to 190 GB. However, it's now about 10 hours later and the operation is still in progress.  I have never had a resize take anywhere near as long as this.

It's odd b/c GParted runs a simulated read-only test first before it resizes and that one ran successfully in a very short period of time.

Should I keep waiting or cancel this and try again? When I click on Cancel I get a warning that says, "canceling an operation might cause severe file system damage."

Not sure what to do?
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Question by:anuneznyc
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31 Comments
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:WORKS2011
ID: 39978119
Should I keep waiting or cancel this and try again?
I would cancel.

When I click on Cancel I get a warning that says, "canceling an operation might cause severe file system damage."
I believe this is a generic warning. It appears the drive may be bad to begin with if it's taking this long.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39978149
Thanks Works2011. Although not impossible, I'm doubtful that there is anything wrong with this drive since it's only a few months old.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 39978186
what about resizing the drive within windows first?
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39978190
Seth, how would I go about doing that?
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Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 175 total points
ID: 39978223
I wouldn't cancel the operation, as GParted warns, your file-system could be unreadable after that. Just allow it to finish.

GParted can take very long reducing the size of partitions, particularly if the data is distributed all over, in that situation it first has to move the data towards the beginning of the partition. Besides, you are using a USB enclosure, and that, particularly if you aren't using USB3 will further reduce the speed by a lot. Another thing to take into account is that live systems like puppy often won't use the optimal drivers for your hardware, but rather generic drivers that are guaranteed to work on as much hardware as possible. This can sometimes mean that a USB 2 port may only run at 1.1 speeds.

Next time make sure you connect the drive internally in the PC.

Windows diskmanagement allows you to shrink partitions, also the system partition. But often you can't reduce the size by as much as you need.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39978263
Rindi, thanks for your thoughtful input. I realized that after that fact that I should have run the GParted resize while the HDD was still inside the laptop!

And Windows OSes do seem to be known for spreading the data in the most imaginably inefficient way all over the drives partition! And I had not defragmented first.

I will let it run all day. Thanks again.
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LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:Seth Simmons
Seth Simmons earned 100 total points
ID: 39978261
depends on where unmovable files are located
my notebook is 300gb with about 35gb used and it's allowing me to reduce the size to about 40gb

How To Resize Your Windows 8 Partition
http://www.tweakhound.com/2013/01/02/how-to-resize-your-windows-8-partition/

you can ignore the second half about creating an additional partition
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39978281
Thanks for that info, Seth.
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 100 total points
ID: 39978778
It's too late now ... but for future reference, the FIRST thing you should have done was to defragment the drive.    Then you should go into Disk Management; right-click on the partition; and select "Shrink Volume" ... and let Windows shrink it as much as possible.

Note that the Windows "Shrink Volume" function has a lot of restrictions on what it will do, so the amount of "shrink space" it will show you likely wouldn't have been nearly as much as what you needed.    But it would have at least resulted in a restructuring that would make the rest of the job a bit simpler.

Finally, you would do what you've already done -- use a good 3rd party partition manager to resize the partition to what you really need.    As rindi noted, this can take a very long time.    Ten hours seems a bit excessive ... but it depends on how much data is on the partition and how much of it needs to be moved around.

Next time, spend $20 and do it the easy way :-)
http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/migrate-OS-to-SSD/
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39978799
Thanks Gary. Duly noted for future reference!
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39978812
One other note:  As already noted, you could have simply booted with a Linux DVD on the laptop and done the resize in place => that way your disk I/O would be happening at SATA speeds instead of USB v2 speeds (which is likely why it's taking so long).

Also, while GParted should work fine, I much prefer Boot-It BM for resize operations.   The free demo would work fine for what you're doing.    This is a superb little utility ... well worth becoming familiar with.
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LVL 92

Assisted Solution

by:nobus
nobus earned 125 total points
ID: 39979714
it may be worth running a diagnostic - long test - on that drive
use the diag from the manufacturer, eg WD for WD drives
i use the UBCD for this :  
Hardware diagnostic CD    UBCD

go to the download page, scroll down to the mirror section, and  click on a mirror to start the download
Download the UBCD and make the cd   <<==on a WORKING PC, and boot the problem PC from it
Here 2 links, one to the general site, and a direct link to the download

since the downloaded file is an ISO file, eg ubcd527.iso - so you need to use an ISO burning tool
if you don't have that software, install cdburnerXP : http://cdburnerxp.se/

If you want also the Ram tested - run memtest86+ at least 1 full pass,  - you should have NO errors!
 
For disk Diagnostics run the disk diag for your disk brand (eg seagate diag for seagate drive)  from the HDD section -  long or advanced diag !  (runs at least for30 minutes)

http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/                        ultimate boot cd
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html             download page
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39980217
Not looking good. It's now been over 36 hours and this operation is still running.

Going to give it a few more hours, but then I'm going to cancel it. It's hard for me to believe this is simply due to slow I/O.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39980244
ihave often been lucky with running hddregenerator on reported "bad" drives :
http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39980389
I agree 36 hours is far longer than I'd expect -- especially with only a 750GB drive.   [If this was a 4TB drive with a lot of data on it, I wouldn't be surprised at the time with a USB interface.]

One other possibility -- is the laptop you connected this too an older laptop?    Any chance it's only got USB v1.1 ports?      It's also possible, as rindi noted earlier, that Puppy Linux doesn't support the USB v2 ports, and is running at v1.1 speed ... which is effectively the same as having v1.1 ports.    Note that if either of those is the case, it'll likely take MUCH longer ... but is probably still working.    If you suspect that's the case, then you may want to just let it run for several more days -- note that the data rate difference between v1.1 and v2.0 is 40 times !!

The likely time to resize from 671 to 190GB depends very much on how much data you had on the partition.    If there's close to 190GB of data, then it would take a VERY long time, even on a native SATA interface (several hours).    If you allowed for a reasonable amount of "headroom" for the resize (e.g. perhaps 100GB of actual data), it would be much quicker -- probably not much more than an hour or two on the native interface.    With a USB bridge device, it would take ~ 3 times as long at USB v2 speeds; but probably 100 times as long if you're running at v1.1 speed.

If you don't think that's what's happening, or are simply willing to take a chance and hope that GParted can successfully abort without "... severe file system damage,"  then you can simply abort.       Worst case is you'll have to reload the system from scratch -- but at least you can do that directly to the SSD.

Bottom line:  I think it's either hung; or operating at USB v1.1 speed.   Up to you whether or not you want to wait to find out ... that depends on a lot on whether or not you can afford the time to wait.    If you know there wasn't too much data on the partition, I'd wait until the 100 hour point or so; but if you think it was very full (over 175GB) then be aware this could take another week to finish at USB v1.1 rates.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39980882
running a diag will show problems also !
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39980902
Can't run diagnostics on a drive that's already in the process of doing a resize :-)

The real question at this point is whether or not the USB interface is running a v2 or v1.1 speeds ... and there's no real way to answer that except to simply wait and see if it completes -- or to simply give up and abort the resize operation, which could leave the drive unusable (depends on whether or not GParted can safely abort).

anuneznyc ==>  Do you know how much data was on the drive?    As I noted earlier, that can have a BIG bearing on how long this operation should take.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39980956
Another thing that could also reduce the speed is that NTFS isn't a file-system native to Linux, To work under Linux it requires special driver modules that were reverse engineered, and so NTFS will not be optimal under GParted, particularly when resizing an NTFS partition where the data has to be moved. It isn't like imaging or cloning operations where the file-system doesn't really make any difference from the utility's point of view.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39980960
That's true -- I always use Boot-It, which works very well with NTFS partitions, but GParted may not be as efficient with NTFS resizing.    But IF this operation hasn't simply "hung", I suspect the issue is simply that it's working at USB v1.1 speeds.   Too bad the OP didn't simply boot to a live CD on the actual system where he wanted to resize the disk, so it would be using a native SATA interface.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39981077
Something that can help to at least see if GParted is doing anything is to click on the small arrows in the windows. That will open up a kind of info screen where you can see numbers changing. Just open the bottom of those arrows to see the current operation, and if the numbers are changing, it is working. If there is no change then it has probably hung itself up. If your USB dock has a LED and it is blinking, that should also give some indication of it working. But of course not all of those docks or cables have LED's.
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Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 39981136
file systeùm is windows - as said in the original Q
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39981392
Windows isn't a file system :-)     As noted in the original question, and as rindi noted above, the file system here is NTFS.   rindi's point is that this is not typically used by Linux, so GParted may not be as efficient at resizing an NTFS system as it is with native Linux file systems.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39981422
I canceled the GParted resized and attached the USB enclosure to a Windows 7 PC. Used Disk Management utility to resize the main NTFS partition down to 185 GB.

What I don't understand now is why when I pull this drive up in GParted it seems to show 6 different primary partitions. I know htat 4 is supposed to be the upper limit for number or primary partitions. I'll see if I can post a photo of the GParted window.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39981438
Fortunately GParted apparently canceled without damage -- I presume you've re-inserted the disk in your laptop and confirmed it boots okay.

You clearly don't have much data on the partition if Windows allowed that much shrinkage of the partition ... so a good 3rd party tool should have done the resize in just a few minutes (as I suspect Windows did).

In any event, as long as you confirm the partition is still okay (i.e. bootable), it's now trivial to move it to an SSD.
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39981442
GPT disks can have more than 4 primary partitions (in GPT disks don't support extended and therefore also logical partitions anymore). PC's that are delivered by the factory with  Windows 8, need to have an UEFI BIOS (that is an m$ imposed restriction to the manufacturers), and the disks will also be GPT disks. An UEFI BIOS is needed to boot windows from a GPT disk. This also allows you to have disks larger than 2TB to boot Windows from, which isn't possible for MBR disks and non UEFI BIOS's.
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39981497
Another potential complication is Secure Boot, which is enabled (a Microsoft requirement) on all pre-loaded Win8 systems.    One of your partitions contains the Secure Boot UEFI data.
Not sure if Clonezilla "knows" the appropriate way to move all this to an SSD ... but you'll find out soon enough :-)

If you have any issues doing this, the simplest "fix" is to just spend $20 and use Paragon's excellent SSD Migration tool:  http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/migrate-OS-to-SSD/
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 39981524
Current versions of GParted is capable of that,and it also trims SSD's if necessary. But it should be relatively current.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39981978
Sorry for the slow response, Guys. Was out all day. Thanks for the continued suggestions.

So I re-installed the HDD into the Sony. At first it didn't boot, saying "Missing Operation System." I thought this might be due to the fact that I had changed the BIOS from UEFI boot to Legacy mood (only way I could get Puppy Linux to boot on it). But even after I changed it back to UEFI mode, it still gave me "Missing Operation System" error.

I then rebooted and pressed Assist on the keyboard which brought me to a Diagnostics screen. I asked it to diagnose Windows boot-up problems. It reported that it could not fix the problem, but lo & behold, when I rebooted, it brought me to the Windows 8 login screen and I was able to log in!

Anyway, at this point, this has caused me way more of a headache than I anticipated, so I think I'll take Gary's wise advice and spend the $20 to purchase the Paragon Migrate OS software to handle this pesky task.
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 39982049
Gary. Regarding Paragon Migrate OS, looks like this will only copy the primary partition, not the Diagnostic or Recovery partition, right?

Also, should I enable the "Create new EFI boot entry for destination drive" option before I start the copy operation?
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 39982612
Yes, you need to check the box to create the new EFI boot entry.

Note, however (as outlined in the manual), that the source disk will no longer be bootable after the migration (this is due to "moving" the secure boot EFI partition to the SSD).

So once the migration is complete, you need to simply install the SSD in the laptop and all should be well :-)
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Author Comment

by:anuneznyc
ID: 40024130
@garycase, just out of curiosity, in theory is there any way to make it so that the source disk would still be bootable?
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