How to manage partitions with the Disk Management tool, in Windows - Page 3

How to format a disk partition with Disk Management

You can format a partition that is already created, keeping in mind that doing so will remove all data on the partition. In this example, we re-created the "E:" partition but didn't select the option to have it formatted.

Right-click or tap and hold the partition and select Format. Set the label and file system type, keeping the allocation unit size at the default.

As mentioned earlier, the volume label will show up next to the drive letter when viewing the partition in File Explorer or Windows Explorer and it is required if you plan on sharing this partition with other operating systems.

Click or tap OK and confirm the warning about data being erased.

The partition will begin formatting. This process will generally take only a few seconds, but will depend on the size of the partition and the speed of your computer.

How to resize a disk partition - Extending & shrinking

You can also shrink or expand disk partitions, as long as there is free (unpartitioned) space available immediately before or after the partition you're trying to modify. Expanding a partition does not require formatting. To do this, right-click or tap and hold the partition and select "Extend Volume".

This will open the "Extend Volume Wizard". In this example, we want to expand the size of our Test partition.

Click or tap on Next and the wizard will show you how much space you can add to the current partition. In this example, there is about 20GB of free space next to the partition, but we only want to use 10GB of this to make the total size of the partition about 40GB.

Click or tap Next to see a brief summary of the changes and then click or tap on Finish to apply them.

We are now brought back to the Disk Management utility, where you can see that the size of our Test partition is now about 40GB.

In many cases, you can also shrink a partition. On partitions that store Windows operating systems, there may be certain files on the disk that can prevent you from shrinking a volume. This problem has existed since Windows Vista, and may require that you take certain steps to prepare the partition to be shrunk. If you're working with a Windows partition (one that actually contains the files of the operating system), please see this guide for information on how to prepare the partition, which applies to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10: Working Around Windows Shrink Volume Inadequacy Problems.

Right-click or tap and hold the partition and select "Shrink volume". The box below may come up for several minutes while Windows examines the hard drive to determine whether the volume can be shrunk, and how much disk space can be shaved off.

Once this is complete, the wizard will ask how much space you want to take off the partition. In this example, we are removing 200GB of a 900GB partition so it ends up at about 700GB.

Click or tap on Shrink and you'll be brought back to the Disk Management utility. Here, you will see that your partition is now smaller, and the extra space has been made available.

Read the next page in this guide to learn how to change the drive letter and label of any partition.