How to resize $MFT

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  1. Posts : 1,223
    W10-Pro 22H2
       #11

    If you could tell us any advantages you have observed after all this time, that would be interesting.
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  2. Posts : 624
    Windows 10 Pro 21H2 x64
       #12

    It's possible that Windows BSOD'ed due to a bad sector.
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  3. Posts : 250
    Windows 10 22H2
    Thread Starter
       #13

    The benefits are few in my opinion.

    If a disk has had so many files that have then been deleted, the mft remains allocated as space.

    It saves space, I don't know if there are also benefits in terms of performance.

    Unless you reformat.

    On a system disk I have found no way to reformat.
    I am not an expert I have done various tests.

    I tried to copy in various ways, offline starting from usb, with a simple copy or through fastcopy, but the system is not usable.

    Various types of imaging also do not work as the mft is recreated the same. I have tried macrium, windows backup and paragon backup.

    - - - Updated - - -

    RJARRRPCGP said:
    It's possible that Windows BSOD'ed due to a bad sector.
    I checked and the disk is ok.
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  4. Posts : 14,017
    Win10 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home, Win7, Linux Mint
       #14

    einstein1969 said:
    If a disk has had so many files that have then been deleted, the mft remains allocated as space.
    It saves space, I don't know if there are also benefits in terms of performance.
    Unless you reformat.
    On a system disk I have found no way to reformat.
    I am not an expert I have done various tests.
    The OS that is running can't format the partition it is installed on, won't kill itself. For a few good reasons such as truly cleaning a drive when intending to reinstall [loses everything on the drive] I use GPARTED. It is a downloadable .iso file used to create a GPARTED LiveCD which is bootable and can manipulate partitions on a drive or a bootable Linux LiveDVD, also created from a downloaded .iso file.
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  5. Posts : 250
    Windows 10 22H2
    Thread Starter
       #15

    Berton said:
    The OS that is running can't format the partition it is installed on, won't kill itself. For a few good reasons such as truly cleaning a drive when intending to reinstall [loses everything on the drive] I use GPARTED. It is a downloadable .iso file used to create a GPARTED LiveCD which is bootable and can manipulate partitions on a drive or a bootable Linux LiveDVD, also created from a downloaded .iso file.
    Sorry, I made myself ill. To compact the mft it seems that the only way is to format or use other tools like paragon.
    Paragon does it offline, you start from a stick with the paragon tool that reads and changes the volume.
    The other way is to format. But if I format I lose everything unless I use something to backup, and then after formatting restore. But I didn't find anything that did. You say that gparted allows you to compact the MFT? How should GPARTED be used?
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  6. Posts : 14,017
    Win10 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro and Home, Win7, Linux Mint
       #16

    No, I didn't speak to compressing but rather as to GPARTED being able to manipulate the partitions. GPARTED stands for GNOME Partition Editor, it runs on a 'lite' version of Linux that is bootable and as such works outside of Windows.
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  7. Posts : 250
    Windows 10 22H2
    Thread Starter
       #17

    Sorry for the delay in updating this thread but I had health issues and was focused on other things. I recently reduced my partition C: to be able to insert it on a 32GB USB stick, in recovering space I faced the problem of the MFT which was 1GB. I reduced it to 270MB. The operations I have done are these. I used the trial version of Paragon Disk Manager (PDM), which creates a bootable usb stick.

    1) I started from PDM stick. There is the possibility of reducing and truncating the MFT (I made a backup first)

    2) Unfortunately PDM cannot always finish the procedure and goes into error.

    3) You have to go to PDM in the help part where there is the log collector and you can access the CMD / DOS window. There you have to run the "chkdsk / F C:"

    4) It is necessary to repeat the procedure from point 1) until PDM succeeds in compacting the MFT.

    5) In case it finally crashes like it happened to me, you have to restart the OS and download a tools "MFTECmd" Eric Zimmerman's tools or equivalent to find the file that blocks compaction.

    6) The $ MFT is then dumped, eg: "MFTECmd.exe -f c:\$mft --csv . --csvf out1.csv" and search for the last record in use "TRUE" and delete the file from disk or move to another volume.

    7) At that point it is repeated from point 1) until the set goal is reached.

    It's long but it allowed me to recover around 750MB out of 20GB which is a lot.
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  8. Posts : 5,048
    Windows 10/11 Pro x64, Various Linux Builds, Networking, Storage, Cybersecurity Specialty.
       #18

    @einstein1969 -

    I'm chiming in because what you would like to do in theory - is quite pointless.
    There will be no gain here, otherwise it would have been done already.

    FWIW.

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