Expanding the Boot Camp Partition on a Mac


I got a MacBook Pro about a year ago and, coming from a background of using Windows, I installed Boot Camp on it so that I could run Windows programs. I find that I actually use Windows most of the time on my Mac computer. However, after a year, the 30 GB Boot Camp partition was reaching its limit. I found that in order to install some new program, I had to uninstall something else. I did a web search on how to expand the Boot Camp partition and was greeted with lots of advice from various forums, much of it conflicting, some of it untested, on whether it was possible and which tools to use. At first I was hoping to just find a utility that allowed me to move a slider bar that would shrink the Mac partition and expand the Boot Camp partition. However, after reading numerous postings and websites on how to perform the task, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I saw a few recommendations for Camp Tune, which supposedly allows an easy way to resize the Boot Camp partition without deleting it but that program is no longer free and some have reported that it didn’t work all the time.

I dutifully backed up the Boot Camp partition several different ways and then committed to changing it from FAT32 to NTFS. I had set it up as a FAT32 partition initially because that would allow me to write to it with the MacOS. The MacOS can read from but not write to NTFS partitions. However, I found that I never used that feature and the free tool I was going to use (WinClone) didn’t allow you to expand a FAT32 partition. It could back it up and restore it, but it would stay the same size. So I had to convert my Bootcamp partition to NTFS. That’s actually easy to do, but it takes some time. You just need to boot Windows and then go into the DOS prompt and use this command:

convert C: /FS:NTFS

You may have to reboot to get this to work because it may be unable to unmount the partition to convert it. In my case it required two reboots, both of which ran the chkdsk program before the partition converted to NTFS.

Once this was done, I used WinClone to back up the Boot Camp NTFS partition to an external USB drive. According to one of the comments, WinClone may not work with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). I’m running Leopard (10.5). After backing up the Windows data, I used the BootCamp Assistant in the Utilities to delete the Bootcamp partition, and then to resize it to 120GB. After that I used WinClone to restore the image to the Bootcamp partition.

I followed the directions on this YouTube video:

That video gives you the impression that the steps all take a few seconds. However, some of them can take hours so you need to be patient.

Beware that some people have reported losing data while attempting to perform these steps, so it’s critical to have a backup of all of your important data prior to embarking on any partition resizing project.