How To: Merge multiple partitions into a single one

File Explorer Two Drives

When we are talking about anything that revolves around your Windows drive, we usually refer to it with the letter “C”. This represents your system drive or your system partition, a part of a hard drive that has been dedicated to Windows. Other types of partitions also exist and many people create multiple partitions on the same drive in order to store different types of data. It is very common to see a PC with two partitions: one for the system and one for backups or general data.

While this may be convenient for some people, the decision is not always left to the users. Major manufacturers like Sony and Toshiba sometimes ship computers with multiple partitions by default. This can confuse some users who may think that their PCs contain multiple hard drives when, in reality, their single hard drive has been split into multiple partitions. Note that you can always check your computer’s hard drives by going to Device Manager and expanding the Disk Dries menu.

Limitations of merging partitions

Altering partitions is usually safe but you always need to be careful when you are handling data, especially when you are dealing with a system partition. To expand on that, you can only merge partitions which come from the same physical drive and are located next to each other. While it is possible to merge non-adjacent partitions, it cannot be done through Disk Management. The only way the utility can help you in such cases is if you decide to delete all partitions at once. Third-party utilities like Parted Magic, Paragon Partition Manager, and PartitionGuru allow you to move partitions but they do not always succeed in such operations.

Merging partitions

The process of merging partitions has various levels. We start by deleting one of the partitions in order to create unallocated space. Then, we expand the remaining partition by allowing to grab that unallocated space and merge it into a single entity. Before proceeding, make sure to back up everything you need from the second partition as you will otherwise lose everything.

  1. Right-click on your Start menu and select the Disk Management utility. Alternatively, type msc in your Start menu and press Enter.
  2. When the Disk Management window opens, right-click on the partition you wish to merge and select the “Delete Volume” option.Delete Volume
  3. Now, click on the other partition and select to “Extend Volume”.Extend Volume
  4. Go through the wizard and just stick with the default settings as Windows should automatically use the maximum space available. You can always check the various options in the menu but it is not really necessary.
  5. When you are done, the two partitions will be merged.

As I mentioned before, you can only do this with partitions that are next to each other. For instance, if you have C D F partitions, you can only merge C + D or D +F. To merge C + F, you would need to move D to the left or right side so that it stays out of the way.