Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system has a hidden feature that users of Microsoft's older operating system had to get from outside vendors in the past. In Windows Vista Microsoft has added the ability to re-size and partition the primary hard drive without destroying the data on it. Although not as full featured as Norton Ghost or similar programs, the tool in Vista allows adequate modification of the primary partition to perform several useful functions. For Example, if you wanted to add another operating system to your computer and duel boot Vista with Windows XP or one of the popular Linux Distro's out there, the tools that ship with Vista work just fine.
To re-size and partition your hard drive in Vista click the start button and then right click on the start menu item Computer. Choose Manage off of the drop down menu, you will be prompted by UAC (user access control) to allow the user to access this procedure. The Computer Management window will now appear on the screen. On the left side of the screen the second to last item just under storage is Disk Management, double click Disk Management, and a diagram of the active hard drives, their size and space available will appear on the lower half of the window. Right click on the partition that you wish to resize, when the dialog box appears select Shrink Volume. Another dialog box appears after the computer queries itself to determine how much you can shrink the volume. The most the Disk Management tool will allow you to shrink the volume is 50% of the total available size. You can make the second partition smaller than 50% but no larger. On the Shrink C dialog box that has now appeared drop down to the line that says, Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB: and manually select the size of the new partition using the up/down arrows. Once you've selected the size click the shrink button, and Vista will resize your new partition. Next you will need to decide if you want to reformat your new volume.
If you want to use your new volume as an additional partition within your Vista system for storing data such as media files, or you want to install a copy of Windows XP on it, then you can use Disk Management to reformat and create another partition. using the NTSF file system. However, if you are going to install a Linux operating system on the volume, there is no need, as Linux operating systems uses a file system not available in the Disk Management tool in Vista. To format the volume just right click your new volume and select Format and your new volume will be formatted, it's all quite simple, and surprisingly fast.