Why can’t I combine free space and unallocated space on my drive?

Sugam K December 28, 2013
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When I open up disk management in win 7 it shows 5 GB of free space and 12.29 GB unallocated space. I tried to combine them together using disk management but I am not able to do so. Can someone help me in doing that?

It shows that 5gb free space is logical drive. Earlier both 5gb and 12.29 gb was combined and I used that to try for installing various linux distributions. Last time I was installing some linux distribution it converted 5 gb to logical drive and since then I am not able to combine both.

And please if you could tell me what a logical partition is and why it cant be combined tell me. I am curious about it.

Here is a snapshot of my disk management window:


  1. Daisy P
    January 20, 2014 at 6:33 am

    You first have to move these space behind each other. Windows disk management is only available when these are close to each other.

    But windows disk management can not move partitions. Then you must switch to partitionsoftware to move unallocated space behind free disk space.

    You can refer this article: http://www.partition-tool.com/easeus-partition-manager/help/resizing-and-moving-partition.htm

  2. Alan W
    December 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Short answer - formatted and unformatted dont play nice together!

  3. Bruce E
    December 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Your 5GB free space partition is located inside an extended partition while the unallocated space is outside of that extended partition. You need to first expand the extended partition to include the unallocated space, then you will be able to merge them into one larger partition.

    A logical partition is a chunk of a hard drive that appears to the system as an individual physical data storage device. They were created to overcome size limitations with earlier filesystem design decisions. A hard disk drive can be subdivided into up to 4 logical partitions or up to 3 logical partitions and one extended partition. An extended partition can contain up to 127 logical partitions IIRC.

    • Sugam K
      December 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm

      when i will extend the extended partition will I be able to install linux in that free space in extended partition?

      And can't I do the opposite ... that is merge that free space to unallocated space ?

    • Bruce E
      December 28, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      You will be able to install Linux into the resulting partition.

      You could resize the extended partition to exclude the newly Unallocated Space and you will automatically see the Unallocated Space at the end of the drive extended by 5GB. This unallocated space can then be used to create another Logical Partition on the drive (for your maximum of 4 partitions) to use as you wish.

    • Sugam K
      December 29, 2013 at 12:01 am

      You said "You could resize the extended partition to exclude the newly Unallocated Space"

      But how can i do so?? when i right click on that free space in the extended partition it only shows two options : create new volume and help. So how exactly am i supposed to do so??

    • Bruce E
      December 29, 2013 at 2:36 am

      Sorry, I misread a portion of the image, corrected the first part of what I was saying and not the second part. There is free space in the extended partition, so you need to shrink the extended partition so that it no longer includes the free space. This free space should end up automatically included in the rest of the unallocated space on the disk. From there, you can create a new logical partition for whatever use you like.

      You need to remember the partition limits here though. If you do this, you can create one more logical partition on the drive and that is it. That means that you will not be able to install any Linux distribution since it will require a minimum of 2 partitions (1 swap partition and 1 for everything else). If you want to install Linux on this drive, you will need to expand the extended partition to the end of the disk, effectively merging the Unallocated Space with the existing Free Space in the extended partition. From here, the Linux installer will be able to create 2 or more logical partitions to use for that operating system.

    • Sugam K
      December 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      ok i got that but how can i extend or shrink the extended partition ? The extended partition already contains two logical drives and when i right click on any one of them and select extend it shows only the 5 gb free spce not that unallocated space .....

    • Bruce E
      December 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Don't select any of the logical partitions in the extended partition. You need to select the extended partition itself, not anything that it contains.

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