Windows offers a built-in tool called Disk Management to manage partitions on your system. You can add, delete, shrink or extend partitions and also format them without using any third party software.
To launch Disk Management, press Windows + X and select Disk Management from the menu. Once you open the tool, you can do a variety of things. Read on to understand how Disk Management can be used.
- Shrink a volume
Sometimes you may need to split one large volume into two. To do this, you can shrink the large volume and use the space generated to create a new volume.
- Identify the drive you wish to shrink. Ideally, the chosen drive should contain some extra space
- Right click on the drive and select Shrink Volume
- Enter the amount of space you want to shrink by noting the size of available shrink space
- Then click on Shrink after you enter the value
When the Shrink process is complete, you should see the space you shrank as Unallocated Space.
- Extend a volume
You may need to extend a volume to increase available space. It is possible to extend a volume in Windows only if you have unallocated space to its right. If unallocated space is to the left or anywhere else, you will need third-party partitioning tools.
- Right-click on the volume and click Extend Volume
- The Extend volume wizard opens and displays the total volume size and amount of unallocated space you have to extend the volume.
- Select a desired amount of space you wish to extend and click Next
- Finally, click Finish to extend the volume
- Create a new volume
You can easily create a new volume using unallocated space. Or you can shrink an existing volume to create unallocated space, which can be used to create a new volume.
- To create a new volume, right click on the unallocated space and select ‘New Simple Volume’.
- The new volume wizard opens and you will input the size of the volume you wish to create and click on Next
- Name the partition just created and click Next
- In the next step, format the partition by choosing a file system, pick a name for the volume and click Next
- Finally, click Finish to complete the format process and creation of a new volume
- Delete a volume
If you don’t need a volume, you can choose to delete it and use the space it creates to extend an existing volume.
- To delete a volume, right click on the volume in question and click Delete Volume
- A warning appears that the ‘data on the volume will also be deleted’. Click Yes to proceed.
- Now the volume will be deleted and will be available as unallocated space
5. Format a volume
Whether the volume is corrupt or you need to format for whatever reason, you can do so using Disk Management.
- Right-click on a volume to format and choose Format
- In the Format wizard, type a volume label, choose an appropriate file system and click Ok
- A warning appears that all ‘data will be erased if you format the volume’. Click Yes if you want to proceed with formatting
- When the process is complete, your volume will be ready to use.
In addition to creating, deleting, resizing and formatting volumes, you can also change the letter of the volume using Disk Management. Doing this is pretty straightforward, just right click on the volume and click ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ and click Change. Select a new drive letter from the drop-down menu and you’re done.
As you’ve seen, Disk Management is a great built-in tool to manage partitions, but it has certain limitations. For example, you cannot extend a volume if it does not have unallocated space to its right. In such cases, you will have to make use of third-party partitioning tools that are designed to manage partitions.
Apart from issues with volume resizing or spacing, there may be other issues with internal or external hard drives. Some of the errors include ‘drive turned RAW’ or ‘the parameter is incorrect’. If you have encountered such errors, refer parameter is incorrect on external hard drive for more details.