How to Partition a Hard Drive: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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How to Partition a Hard Drive: 14 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Partition a Hard Drive: 14 Steps (with Pictures)
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If you're planning to sell your computer, it's a good idea to remove the partitions on your computer's hard drive so it's back to factory default. By removing the partitions on your hard drive, the hard drive can be used again as one large storage space. This description only works for Windows 7 and newer. If your operating system is older, you will need to download a program to manage your hard drive. For Mac, this guide should work for all versions of the operating system.

Steps

Method 1 of 2: Windows

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 1

Step 1. Back up all data of the partition you want to keep

To unpartition your hard drive, you must first delete all data from that partition. See the article on backing up your data for a full explanation.

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 2

Step 2. Open the Windows Disk Management utility

This program is installed by default on your Windows computer. In this utility you can see all the drives of your computer and their partitions. Open the utility in one of the following ways:

  • Hit the start button, type 'compmgmt.msc' in the search box and hit enter. Select "Disk Management" from the list of options on the left side of the "Computer Management" window.
  • Open Disk Management directly by pressing the start button, typing "Disk Management" and pressing enter. The Disk Management window should now open.
Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 3

Step 3. Delete all data from the partition

In the Disk Management window, you will see a list of disks, increasing from Disk 0. The partitions of each disk are lined up horizontally next to the disk.

  • Right-click the partition you want to delete, then click "Delete Volume" from the menu. Look for the name you gave the drive when you partitioned the drive. This will delete all data from this partition. This is the only way to unpartition a drive.

    For Windows 7 or Vista users: Right click on the same partition and select 'Delete Partition' from the menu

  • The partition is now labeled as Unallocated space. The partition should now be marked with a black bar at the top, instead of a purple bar in front of the other partitions.
Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 4

Step 4. Return the space to the original drive

Giving back space to the original drive takes it away from the partition. The original drive actually absorbs the partition. If the partitioned drive is C, right click on C and select 'Extend Volume' from the menu.

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 5

Step 5. Expand the drive's volume using the Volume Expansion Wizard

This wizard opens automatically when you click on 'Extend volume'.

Keep clicking 'Next' to move through the wizard. Finally click on 'Finish'

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 6

Step 6. If everything went well, the partition is now invisible

Your original drive is no longer partitioned and all the space on that drive is now available.

Method 2 of 2: Mac

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 7

Step 1. Back up all data of the partition you want to keep

To unpartition your hard drive, you must first delete all data from that partition. See the article on backing up your data for a full explanation.

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 8

Step #2. Open the Disk Utility

This utility can be found by opening Finder and searching for "Disk Utility" in the search bar.

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 9

Step 3. Find and click on the correct drive

In the list of drives on the left side of the window, find the drive that contains your partition. If you haven't added storage space to your computer, you'll only see one hard drive here. The different drives are listed below each drive, so find the drive that contains the drive you want to remove.

Click the name of the drive, not one of the drives below that drive, such as "Main"

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 10

Step 4. Click on the 'Partition' tab

You'll see five tabs at the top of the main part of the window. Click on the 'Partition' tab. It should be between 'Erase' and 'RAID'.

After clicking, you will see a 'Partition Information' heading under the tabs

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 11

Step 5. Select the partition

Under the "Partition Layout" heading, you'll see the different partitions on the drive as white blocks.

After clicking there should be a blue border around the block

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 12

Step 6. Click on the minus sign below the blocks

Click 'Delete' in the dialog box.

Again, make sure you've backed up any data you want to keep. This step will delete all data from the partition

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 13

Step 7. Enlarge the block titled 'Main'

You should now see an empty gray space where the partition used to be. Click on the three diagonal lines in the lower right corner of the 'Main' block and drag the border all the way down. You will see the size of the drive increase as you drag.

Unpartition a Hard Drive Step 14

Step 8. Click "Apply" at the bottom right corner of the window

Then click "Partition" in the dialog box.

This step may take a while, depending on the amount of data on the drive. The drive will now be reformatted, so give your computer some time

Tips

  • If the partition was created in Mac using Boot Camp, you may run into problems deleting the partition. In this case, look for a partition manager for Mac.
  • Make sure to back up all your important data first.

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