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Laptop fails to boot after partition resizing

Dear forum,

I am currently in the process of shrinking a 500 GB hdd system drive to a 256GB SSD, which i will replace it with. The hdd was at 120GB, so in theory after shrinking I could clone the drive. Window's own application cannot shrink it down enough (even though there's plenty of unused space and I was referred to Aomei by an article. I started the process, the pre windows finished up, but now i can't boot and the system is stuck in the repair loop.

What can be done? There are files on the drive i wish to keep. 
Thanks for the help


  • edited November 2
    Thank you for your question. Windows does not shrink where there are unmovable files, but PA can attempt to do that. Did you make a backup of your disk before doing this surgery? Always backup.
    Unfortunately, you are in data recovery, until your drive is working again. Please use your backup software, such as Backupper (BU) or PA to backup your entire disk, before attempting repairs.
    After creating a full disk backup, you could try the classic commands:
    Diskpart > lis dis > sel dis # > lis par > lis vol
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot
    bootrec /scanos
    bootrec /rebuildbcd
    Bcdboot <Letter>:/Windows
    Advanced instructions:

    Could you please reply with the answers to:
    1) Which motherboard mode Legacy-BIOS, UEFI-CSM, UEFI-nonCSM?
    2) What PC brand, year, model #, desktop or laptop?
    3) HDD, SSD 2.5", SSD M.2 SATA, SSD M.2 NVMe?
    4) Hard Drive partition table MBR or GPT?
    5) Aomei product tier Standard, Pro, Other?
    6) Version of Windows, 10, 11, Home, Pro, Enterprise?
    7) Please post a screenshot of your error, and Diskpart > lis dis > sel dis # > lis par > lis vol
    Thank you.
    Backupper WinPE USB:
    Add custom drivers, such as NVMe, if necessary. Does not work with some monitors.

    Partition Assistant WinPE USB
    Add custom drivers, such as NVMe, if necessary.

    Aomei WinPE 2.0 Builder USB
    Partition Assistant, Backupper, Recuva, 7zip, OSF Mount, CPU-Z, Bootice, diskmgmt.msc. Does not support any additional drivers, such as some internal NVMe disks.

    Free tools not from Aomei:
    LazeSoft - Windows boot repair

    Hirens Boot PE - live USB tool suite
    160 utilities, old BU 6.5.1, PA 9.2.1. Put custom drivers, such as NVMe drivers, into the “CustomDrivers” folder. Hirens is not recommended in combination with Ventoy USB.

    EasyBCD - Application
    Manage multiple Windows installation boot
    Supergrub 2 - Boot Anything

  • "the pre windows finished up, but now i can't boot"
    Did you use PA-PreOS Mode? Aomei Support has recommended using PA-WinPE Mode instead. I have read several people over the years that have reported this mode correlated with serious errors in the forums. Please use PA-WinPE Mode, or PA WinPE USB Mode instead.

  • @Davidora, Please try to create a WinPE bootable media on a working computer, then boot the "damage" computer from WinPE media to check the disk. You can take a screenshot of Disk Management under WinPE so that we check.
    And, you can use AOMEI PE Builder to create Winpe: http://www2.aomeisoftware.com/download/pe/2.0/full/PEBuilder.exe
  • @admin@AiArtisan

    1) UEFI I think, no idea about csm
    2) Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop
    3) 2,5 Seagate HDD
    4) GPT
    5) Standard
    6) Windows 10 Home

    I tried to back up the drive up with Aomei Backupper to a separate working drive through another computer, but failed.

    Unfortunately, I can no longer access windows system repair toll either. When I try to boot it from the hdd, it initiates Dell SupportAssist, which check the memory and than says its fine, but thats the end of that. 

    Did you use PA-PreOS Mode?
    At every option I used what the software recommended.

    Should I create WinPE media on a usb and try to boot it from there?
    Many thanks.
  • edited November 3
    @admin @aiArtisan
    I have created WinPE media using aomei and ultraiso software, now on a usb stick. However I would like to wait for your confirmation as I don't want to further worsen the problem. This is what the stick currently contains(png, do excuse the foreign language).

    Now I can confirm that the computer does boot up on a different drive and all hardware besides the hdd works well, althought I believe this was rather evident to you and doesn't help us much.
  • @Davidora, "Now I can confirm that the computer does boot up on a different drive"---What mean? Is there any system disk on the computer? If yes, please boot from another system, then take a screenshot of WIndows Disk Management so that we check the HDD.
    If not, please boot the computer from WinPE USB, then take a screenshot of WIndows Disk Management.
  • Ventoy - Best Multiboot USB Creator

  • edited November 10
    @aiArtisan @admin

    I managed to boot from the aomei WinPe, backed the entire disk up. What now? I can't seem to access the dumbed down version of windows the WinPe is supposed to be, only the aomei backupper, and so I cannot take a screenshot of windows disk management.

    Can I now access the backed up files from a different computer? I am sorry I ask so much but I don't have sufficient knowledge to do this and I rather ask than experiment. 

    Thank you for guiding me through this! 

  • BU WinPE only allows you to access 1 app, BU, it does not allow you to click on anything else.
    Tools > Cmd > diskmgmt.msc is Disk Management.
    If you want to access your backup from another PC, copy the .ADI file that you created to another PC.
    In BU standard free, you can backup and restore as often as you want. If you want to recover only 1 file or specific files and folders, you must buy BU Pro. If you want 50% off, exit BU WinPE Mode, go back to BU app mode in normal Windows, uninstall BU, it gives you 50% off link.
  • edited November 10

    I get this error message. 
  • I am sorry, you are right, I tested that now on BU WinPE USB. Disk Management can be accessed in that way through the terminal only in a more advanced Aomei WinPE product, which I also tested just now to confirm. I usually use the advanced version. You are new, and should learn on the basic version first. It is OK that you cannot use Disk Management, that is not required.
    Please continue to use the product, and reply if you have any questions.

  • @aiArtisan
    Thanks for the help. I managed to recover files using BU pro, and that's basically all I needed. I did lose a windows key in this operation but that's on me.
    Thanks again for taking the time to help me! 
  • edited November 11
    "I did lose a windows key in this operation"
    Are you sure you lost a Windows key? That is uncommon these days. Starting in 2011, new motherboards permanently remember the Windows Key, and old keys can be used on Windows 10, and sometimes on Windows 11. The PC also must be bought from a store, OEM, not custom home built, non-OEM.
    There are 3 ways you could have actually lost your Windows key:
    1) PC built before 2011 - Legacy BIOS
    2) PC built after 2011, but motherboard setup to act like it is before 2011 - Legacy BIOS
    3) PC built after 2011, and it is in the modern motherboard mode, but it is custom or home built, non-OEM - UEFI

    I have only met 3 types of people who have PCs that could forget the Windows key.
    1) Young person with a custom gaming PC.
    2) Old person with a new custom non-gaming PC.
    3) Person with a 15 year old storebought OEM PC.

    You can check the Windows key on your motherboard by going to Microsoft Store > Showkey. A tiny program that will show your current key in Windows, and your motherboard key.
    Windows 10 most features will work without a key, you are not allowed to change the background, or the taskbar settings, and a few other settings, but you can do most common tasks like email and browsing.
    Do not forget, Windows 10 will be discontinued in October 2025, and only PCs made after about 2018 are allowed to upgrade to Windows 11.
    Here is a link to the more advanced WinPE tool from Aomei, which is free. It is great on most PCs, but it doesn't work on most of the newest PCs.
    Aomei WinPE Builder USB:
    Partition Assistant, Backupper, Recuva, 7zip, OSF Mount, CPU-Z, Bootice, diskmgmt.msc. Does not support any additional drivers, such as some internal NVMe disks.
    Key tool not from Aomei:
    Windows 11 Compatibility

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