How can I merge partitions on a USB-connected hard drive?

Robert H April 11, 2014

How do I merge a 500gb Hard drive?

It is an internal HDD by default but I have connected to my laptop via USB. It is split into two partitions, OS and DATA. I have tried merging them with EaseUs but to no avail.  Each partition is showing up as full and the option to merge one with the other is greyed out.

Any help is much appreciated.

  1. dragonmouth
    April 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    If Robert goes through Backup, Delete, Re-Partition, Restore process will the O/S still be bootable and will the programs still run properly?

    • Hovsep A
      April 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      The booting problem can rise if the image is recovered on another configuration like motherboard is changed, in this case repair/reinstall windows and reactivate. But Robert do not clearly indicate if the hard drive in question has on OS installed or just files

    • dragonmouth
      April 13, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Perhaps I am mistaken but I believe he indicated that his drive has rwo partitions: OS and DATA.

    • Bruce E
      April 14, 2014 at 4:27 am

      If an image backup is made of the OS partition and a file-based backup is made of the DATA partition and test restores of both backups are proven to work properly, then the existing partitions are deleted and a new single partition is created encompassing the entire drive, restoring the OS image and the DATA files should leave the entire original system functional.

      In cases where redirection of user files has been implemented so they would automatically go to the DATA partition, these would need to be changed to point back to the sole existing partition again. The same thing may apply to any applications that allow user configuration of default storage locations such as MS Office.

    • Hovsep A
      April 14, 2014 at 9:41 am

      @dragonmouth you are quite right the hard drive with the OS cant be easily used on another hardware configuration to boot as working OS, because it will have bootmgr problems related for instance to drivers..... Also Robert did not mention if The OS is healthy or needs to be repaired and for which reasons he is trying to connect the hard drive to laptop.

  2. Oron J
    April 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Merging partitions is perhaps the trickiest partition-manipulation operation. In my opinion the only safe way to do is is to back up both partitions and then merge them. Of course, if you do that you might as well delete the partitions and create a new, large one... However, if you want to keep the system drive as it is (i.e. bootable), you could delete the second partition, extend the first one and copy the backed up data of the second partition back to the unified partition.

  3. Hovsep A
    April 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    you can try command line: delete partition override

    first do backup hard drive files.
    1) go to run and type cmd, right click and choose run as administrator
    2) type: diskpart and hit enter
    3) type: list disk and hit enter
    4) type: select disk X (x your hard drive to work with) and hit enter
    5)type: list partition and hit enter
    6) type: select partition X (x your partition you want to remove) and hit enter
    7) type: delete partition override and hit enter
    8)Type Exit then hit Enter

    • Bruce E
      April 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      @Hovsep, OP was asking about MERGING partitions, not deleting them.

      @Robert, this process is destructive. Any data on the partition will be lost.

    • Hovsep A
      April 11, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      @Bruce E quite right, backing data is important prior to proceed, if nothing works this can be the last resort; this can join the two partitions but one of the partition will lose data on it. As i see may be Robert want to consider update/reinstall the external hard drive driver.

      EaseUs prof can make bootable cd, perhaps to boot on it and to check if merging will be possible. if Robert does not have EaseUs prof then can try some live cd like hirens boot cd (it has parted magic on it)

  4. Bruce E
    April 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    With all partition management tools that can perform merge operations, the partitions you want to merge must be adjacent without an intervening partition OR unused/unallocated space. If there is anything at all between the two partitions you mentioned, you need to address that issue first by extending the first partition by including any unused or unallocated space up to the second partition. There is still a potential problem here if the entire space between the partitions cannot be added to the first partition because of boundary issues, for example, if the new partition doesn't end on a cylinder boundary.

    If the boundary issue above affects you or you don't need any of the existing contents of the drive, it would be simpler to delete all existing partitions and create a single partition that occupies the entire drive. If you want to keep all of the data on the drive, move the contents of both of the partitions to another location, delete the existing partitions and create a new partition across the entire device. Be aware that if you do this, then copy the original contents back to the drive, put it in as a boot drive in the computer it was taken from and try to boot it, it isn't going to work. You will need the appropriate Windows installation disk to perform a boot repair to see if that will fix all of the necessary boot files for you.

    If you are going to want this drive to boot the same computer again and want to minimize the hassle, you can image the OS partition instead of just copying its contents before messing with anything else. When the partitions have been consolidated, you can restore the image to the new partition and everything SHOULD work without the need to go through the boot repair routine.

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