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If your partitions aren't very full, you can make images of them as gzipped or bzipped archive pieces with the partman tool, and burn those to optical storage. That way if you really screw disk, you can restore the image files and get back to exactly what you had before.
The best way to take care of a NTFS partition is to reformat to something else, like ext3, otherwise gparted is your best friend for a resize. Resizing takes a lot of time, and if interrupted will _always_ screw data, so make sure there are no power interruptions while your machine is working. Having a backup of the partition (as recommended above) is just piece of mind you cannot do without if there is anything you treasure on disk.
The advantage is that it will run in RAM, and doesn't mount hard drive. It has full FAT16/FAT32/NTFS support. I've used it to prepare Windows 2000 & XP machines for installing Linux, and had no problems.
Last week I upgraded a Win 2K Pro box with a new hard drive, and use PM to mirror the NTFS partitions from the old drive on to the new and it booted straight away. The client was very impressed at how fast it was!