How to Merge Two Hard Drive Partitions in Windows

If your PC’s hard drive is divided into several partitions, you may want to merge them at one point. Either because the drive (C:) has run out of space and you need to take advantage of the free space you have on another of your partitions, or simply because there are too many partitions on the hard drive and you want to unify them all into a single drive or partition.

In these cases, the main question that usually arises is whether it is possible to join two partitions without losing data. The answer is yes, although, for this, you must meet specific requirements. If you don’t comply with them, you can still join the partitions of the hard drive by deleting the data of the second partition. The truth is that it can be a bit of a convoluted process, so let’s go step by step.

Possible cases when joining two partitions in Windows

Depending on how the hard drive partitions are organized, you have to use different methods to be able to join them:

  • The partitions are adjacent, and the second partition contains no data.
  • They are adjacent, but the second partition contains data you want to keep.
  • The partitions are not adjacent.

Requirements to join two hard drive partitions

Before starting, you should remember that to join two partitions, they must both have the same format. That is, both are NTFS or FAT32 partitions. If they do not share the same format, you will not be able to merge them.

It is also important to back up all relevant files. These types of actions on the hard disk are very delicate, and if you have a power outage, the PC restarts unexpectedly, or any other unforeseen event, you can lose all the data on the disk.

To prevent the hard drive from suffering any potential failure, you should defragment the hard drive beforehand to ensure that it is in good health. Likewise, if you see that the disk is not working properly, you can also use a repair program or run the CHKDSK command.

How to merge two adjacent hard drive partitions (with data wipe)

Unless you have a hard drive with 3 partitions or more -something unusual- you most likely have the main partition (C:) where you have the operating system installed and a second partition to store data next to it.

If you don’t have essential data on the second partition, you can delete it and take advantage of that free space to expand the capacity of the primary partition.

You can do this without the need to install any additional program on the PC since Windows itself has a tool for this type of task, the “Disk Manager.”

IMPORTANT: To join two partitions with the Windows disk manager, they should have consecutive partitions. That is, one partition is right next to the other, without any additional partitions in between.

IMPORTANT 2: Before you start, make sure that the partition you will attach to the main partition is not a system partition, nor does it contain critical data for the ordinary operation of the PC.

For example, let’s join the two partitions of a hard drive that we just connected to the PC using Windows Disk Management. Let’s see how it works in detail.

Steps

  • To open the Windows disk management panel, press the key combination “ Win+R ” and execute the command “ diskmgmt.msc ”. (You can also right-click from the file explorer on “ This PC ” and select “ Manage -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management ”)
  • Locate the disk you are going to work on. If you don’t know which one it is for sure, looking at its storage capacity can help you.
  • Right-click on the secondary partition you want to attach to the primary partition and select “ Delete Volume.” Warning! All content on this partition will be erased. Make sure you have backed up all critical data.merge two hard drive partitions in Windows
  • After the volume is deleted, the partition space will go to the “Unallocated” state.
  • Now right click on the main partition and select “ Extend Volume.”
  • This will open the Windows Extend Volume Wizard. Click on “ Next -> Next -> Finish ” and choose the options determined by default by the wizard.merge two hard drive partitions in Windows

Windows will automatically take the space you had left in the “Unallocated” state and use it to enlarge the available space on the main partition. All data on the main partition remains intact.Windows hard drive

In short, what you have done is delete all the content of the secondary partition and allocate that space to the main partition, increasing its storage capacity.

How to merge two adjacent partitions (without erasing data)

On this occasion, let us say you want to join two partitions of the hard disk without losing the data stored in both partitions. The Windows tool does not allow you to carry out this type of operation, so you will have to install a partition manager on your PC.

For this example, we will use MiniTool Partition Wizard Free, although you can use any other partition manager, such as AOMEI Partition Assistant.AOMEI hard drive partition

Steps

If you already have the partition manager installed on your computer, follow these steps:

  • Open MiniTool Partition Wizard and locate the hard drive and partitions you will work on.
  • Click on one of the partitions you want to merge and click on the “ Merge Partition ” button. Note: MiniTool Partition Wizard only allows merging between partitions in NTFS format.
  • In the new window, make sure the first partition is checked and click “ Next.”
  • Next, select the second partition and click on “ Finish.”
  • Finally, in the left side menu of the main panel, click on the “ Apply ” button to start joining the two partitions.

Once the merge of the two partitions is complete, all the files stored in the second partition will be found in the “ merged_partition_content ” folder, at the root of the merged folder.

How to join non-adjacent partitions

This situation is not so common, but it may be that the partitions that you want to join have another partition in between. That is, assuming that you have a hard drive with 3 partitions and want to merge the first and third partitions.

For this type of case, Windows “Disk Manager” does not support this type of operation. If the partitions are not consecutive, you will have no choice but to use a partition manager.

The process to follow would be the same as that in the previous point. By doing this, you will delete the partition in the middle. The resulting free space will appear as “unallocated” at the end of the disk.

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