shrinking a non o/s hd to make partition for o/s?

i have a win7 drive that is not c: with one partition. can i shrink it and make space for a win8 o/s. then throw the hd in a new build and install win8 in the small partition? will my large partition of data on the drive be reasonably safe in the new pc?
is this possible? or should i just buy a external hd and backup and be safe?
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More about shrinking make partition
  1. Definitely backup your data before starting, at least anything that you would be really unhappy to lose.
  2. thanks for the reply
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