August 29, 2008

Resizing Boot Camp Partitions

Filed under: Software — Tags: , , , — martin @ 4:48 am

When I had initially installed Microsoft Vista in a dual-boot configuration on my Macbook using Bootcamp, my 250 GB harddisk was shared in an even 120GB/120GB fashion between MacOS and Vista. After moving all my multimedia goods from the Mac to the “Windows” side, this turned out to not be an optimal solution anymore. So I set out to shrink the Mac partition and to grow the Vista Partition.

Changing the proportions of both partitions is somewhat straightforward, as long as you have the following available:
– Lots of time for the resizing process.
– Basic knowledge of how to boot your Mac (Alt-boot, C-boot).
– A working and reliable backup of both systems. I found this very helpful in oder to keep me from paNicKInG!!!1!
– The PartEdMagic Live CD
– The rEFIt boot CD
– The Vista Installation DVD

First, I used SuperDuper! and Vista’s backup facility (I believe this is an “Ultimate” only feature) for creating backups of both systems.

After making backups, I started the system from the PartEdMagic CD. I resized the partititions and started the actual resizing process. Then I went to bed. After coming back to my Macbook, I found that Gparted had produced lots of warnings while shrinking the HFS+ partition (mostly due to some file system operations that Gparted isn’t capable of) and lots of green checkmarks while growing the NTFS partition. Deceptively promising.

A reboot came up with a black screen and the warning “No bootable device — insert boot disk and press any key” from the default mode of booting into Vista. Alt-booting allowed me to select the MacOS partition and, much to my surprise, MacOS came up flawlessly, despite all the warnings from Gparted.

A hint from the Ubuntu Wiki brought me to the rEFIt bootable CD. After booting rEFIt, I selected the “Partitioning Tool” from the menu, to find that the NTFS partition was marked as “Data”, with rEFIt already offering to fix things: “MBR table must be updated. May I update the MBR as printed above?” – Yes, please. (I’m not sure whether rEFIt really was the key here, or if I could have changed the partition type using fdisk from any other Live CD. But why bother?)

After another reboot, the Vista partition came up with a message about the hardware configuration having changed and that the system needed to be repaired from the installation DVD. So I booted from the DVD again. I found it exceptionally hard to find the right split second where I could press the “any key” for instructing the DVD to not chainload the Vista partition from the harddisk, but in the end, I made it (after pressing F5, out of some long-forgotten DOS habit).

After following the “repair” process (really just one or two mouse clicks), a quick file system check and yet another reboot, the system was in great condition again.


  1. […] Sowas brauche ich bestimmt auch mal: Resizing Boot Camp Partitions. […]

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  2. […] Resizing Boot Camp Partitions – Resizing partitions: Shrinking and growing without paNicKInG!!!1! […]

    Pingback by QuickLinks vom 4. September bis zum 8. September — instant-thinking.de — September 9, 2008 @ 11:44 am

  3. Thank you very much for this write-up. I resized my bootcamp partition and was unable to boot into windows. This article really saved the day!

    Comment by Nick Summy — March 8, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

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