Resize FAT32 Partition without Losing Data in Windows PC/SERVER

Summary

This guide introduces methods to shrink or extend fat32 volume without losing data on Windows 11 10 or Windows Server 2008 2012 2016 2019 2022 with or without software.

Andrew WrightOct 14, 2022

by Andrew Wright

Follow @IM-Magic

Outline: How to Shrink/Extend FAT32 Partition?

Shrinking a fat32 volume is not easy on Windows PCs or servers since Windows built-in tools disk management or diskpart cannot shrink fat32 file system. Windows built-in tools Diskpart or Disk Management can only extend a fat32 (non OS-c) drive when there is unallocated space at its right side. Whenever it comes to the resizing fat32 drive, it's the show time for a free tool.

  • Shrink fat32 partition with disk management or diskpart (NOT OK)
  • Shrink fat32 partition without losing data with free tool Partition Resizer (OK)
  • Extend fat32 partition with disk management or diskpart (OK when there were unallocated space at the right side, except the c boot drive)
  • Extend fat32 partition with free tool Partition Resizer (OK)
  • Move fat32 partition with disk management or diskpart (NOT OK)
  • Move fat32 partition with free tool Partition Resizer (OK)

Comparison

*How to resize a fat32 partition with Partition Resizer?
1. (No unallocated space?) Shrink one drive to create unallocated space and add it to any drive without losing data with Partition Resizer
2. (No close unallocated space?) if the unallocated space is not close to the target drive you may right click the in-between partitions and move them one by one when mouse shows cross arrows in the software, and then right click the target drive and move its border to claim the unallocated space.

Also read: how to move unallocated space

Shrinking partition on fat32 file system with Disk Management?

Answer: Shrink volume is grayed out for the fat32 partition under Disk Management. The shrink volume in Disk Management is only available for NTFS partitions. If it's an NTFS partition, here are the steps to get the drive shrinked.

Step1: Open disk management (Right click THIS PC on desktop, and go to option MANAGE, and then click Disk Management in the menu), and then wait for Disk Management to load all disks.

Step2: Right click the target volume that you want to get it shrinked, and then go to Shrink Volume option

Step3: Enter the size that you want the partition to be, eg if the E drive was the partition, it is 30GB that you want to shrink it to be 20GB to produce 10GB free space, you may fill in the number 20480 (it means 20*1024) in the column when 1024 means 1GB

And then confirm the changes.

Note: When it's unable to shrink a fat32 partition with disk management or diskpart, you may use free tool Partition Resizer that can easily get the fat32 volume (OS c drive included) resized without losing data.

Shrink fat32 partition with diskpart cmd on Windows pc/server?

Answer: Diskpart is unable to shrink a fat32 partition which has a fat32 file system. Diskpart cannot resize a fat32 drive. If you want to extend or shrink a fat32 partition, you may use the free tool Partition Resizer.

Diskpart cmd is able to shrink a volume with the following orders if it's an NTFS file system instead of a fat32 file system.

Preparations: Type diskpart in the RUN to start diskpart.exe

  • 1, Type "list partition"
  • 2, Type "select partition *" that you need to replace * with the drive that you want to shrink, for example if your drive shows 3, here you need to type "select partition 3"
  • 3, Type "shrink" (It would reduce the compressible space by default, or you may also type 'shrink size=10240' to add a 10GB space to your partition if there were such free space on your large partition; or you may also use this 'shrink desired=10240 to shrink a 10GB space')
  • 4, Type "exit"

shrink fat32 partition

Regarding step 3, if the space is not available, diskpart would show error There is not enough usable space for this operation. Solution-> type a smaller size and try it again.

Note: Diskpart orders vary but would also work no matter you type list disk, select disk, list partition, select partition or directly type list partition, select partition. Here is one example that has added 'list disk' at first.

  • 1, Run cmd and type Diskpart in the run or in the cmd window to get it started
  • 2, Type "list disk" to list all devices on your machine in CMD for the following operations
  • 3, Type "select disk *" that you need to select the disk number that contains the target volume, for example when your drive F is contained in the disk 3, here you need to type "select disk 3" and press enter to get the disk selected
  • 4, Type "list partition"
  • 5, Type "select partition *", for example if your target drive F is listed with number 2, here you need to type "select partition 2" and press enter
  • 5, Type "shrink size=10240" when 10240 means 10GB and if you want to shrink your drive to be 50GB, you may type "shrink size=51200" instead
  • 6, Type "exit"

Failed with diskpart? Here are some possible situations where the diskpart will not work.

  • Diskpart is able to create unallocated space by shrinking fat32 drive (Diskpart can only shrink ntfs drive)
  • Diskpart cannot move the unallocated space if it's not on the right side of the target partition you want to extend
  • Diskpart is not able to extend the boot partition, usually the C drive if it's a fat32 file system

Shrinking/extending fat32 partition with Partition Resizer Free

Here are the steps that you may use free tool Partition Resizer to change the fat32 volume smaller or larger on Windows 11/10/8/7. (It's totally free)

Note: Partition Resizer Server can help resize fat32 partitions on Windows Server 2008 2012 2016 2019 2022 etc. (This is a trial version)

Step1: Download and install Partition Resizer, open it

Download for Win 11-7 | Download for Windows Server

Step2: Right click the fat32 drive in Partition Resizer after your disks were loaded in the software, and then select option RESIZE/MOVE PARTITION

Step3: Shrink the fat32 partition by moving its border left forward or right forward when the mouse shows double arrows, and then move the border to get the fat32 space shrinked.

Extending fat32 partition with Partition Resizer (Shrink at first if there were no unallocated space)

If you want to extend a fat32 partition, even the c drive, there must be free unallocated space beside the fat32 partition. For creating unallocated space,

#1 Shrink any large volume on the same diskresize partition

#2 And then move the unallocated space to the fat32 partition by right clicking the in-between drive and move it when the mouse shows cross arrows.

#3 And then right click the fat32 partition, and claim the unallocated space to get the fat32 partition extended without formatting or losing data. (If there were unallocated space next to the fat32 partition, even the c drive, this step will help extend a fat32 drive)free space after shrinking other large server partitionextend volume

Can't extend fat32 volume with diskpart and received error:

  • the volume you have selected may not be extended

Resize fat32 partition on MAC (2 ways)

How to resize a fat32 volume on MAC? Here are some simple and easy ways.

#1 Delete the disk on MAC and reform its partition scheme, choose the partition size when creating the new fat32 partition.

#2 Disconnect the mac disk, insert it to a Windows computer, and then resize the disk with Partition Resizer.

Can you resizevolume on fat32 partition on MAC?

Answer: resizeVolume is only supported on a Journaled HFS+ file system.

Usage: diskutil resizeVolume MountPoint|DiskIdentifier|DeviceNode size

[part1Format part1Name part1Size part2Format part2Name part2Size

part3Format part3Name part3Size ...]

resizeVolume can Non-destructively resize a disk which has HFS+ file system on MAC. You may increase or decrease its size.

Video - how to resize volume on MAC

Resize FAT32 Partition with Gparted

Gparted is another free tool that you may use to resize your fat32 volume and here is a video showing how to operate it.

Gparted Download url: https://gparted.org/download.php

Freeware Partition Resizer VS Gparted

Partition Resizer specialty: 100% roll-back to ensure data safety and resize data without losing data even from a sudden power failure during changing partitions; more functions than Gparted.

FAQs

Q: How to resize fat32 partition on Windows Server 2008 2012 2016 2019 2022 r2?

Answer: Partition Resizer Server Edition works for all Windows Server OSs that you may use to extend the fat32 partition or shrink a fat32 partition on Windows Server 2008 2012 2016 2019 2022 etc.

If you want to increase the size of FAT32 partition on Windows Server, the best way is to rely on third-party partition software. IM-Magic Partition Resizer Server is professional partition software for Windows Server users, with which you can resize FAT32 partitions without touching the operating system or original data stored on the disk. This partition software can work on Windows Server 2012 2016 2019 2022 and other Windows Server like Windows 2003, 2008, etc.

 

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