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How to Partition Hard Drive Disk without Formatting

Updated by Roxanne on Aug 27, 2021
Written by Jean
mins read

The methods on this page can be applied to partition hard drive in Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7, Windows XP/Vista. 

Why Need Partition Hard Drive

Disk partitioning is a process of dividing a hard drive into several partitions - managing the hard disk drive by shrinking, extending, deleting, creating partitions and change partition size, label, even location, etc. Why do we need to partition a hard drive? Here are the common reasons to partition a new/existing hard drive:

  • To make full use of hard drive space, splitting it into several partitions.
  • Operating System update.
  • The changes in computer and hard drive usage.
  • The change of computer users needs.

Hard drive partitions first being prepared for saving data, games, system, etc., normally, will be resized, moved, split, merged or created into new partitions in a new format or new size in Windows 11/10/8/7 or dual boot system.

Partition a new hard drive: If you buy a new hard drive and want to partition it, you need to initialize it before using it. Then follow the step-by-step tutorial to split it up.

Partition an existing hard drive: You’ll need to resize/move disk space for drive partition.

But to partition a hard drive without formatting it is very important for some specific purposes. How to partition hard drive disk without formatting it? Here, both Disk Management and third-party partition manager software can work. 

Solution 1: Partition hard drive without formatting using EaseUS partition manager

Professional partition manager software - EaseUS Partition Master can partition a hard drive with its advanced partition operations on your hard drive without formatting it, including resize and move partitions, convert partition, split partition, merge partitions, resize dynamic disk, etc.

Moreover, EaseUS Partition Master can extend or resize partition when there is no unallocated space behind it that Disk Management can't.

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See how to partition a hard drive without formatting with EaseUS Partition Master on your own:

How to partition a new hard drive

Step 1. Open EaseUS Partition Master. Connect the hard drive or SSD to PC.

Right-click the target HDD or SSD and select "Initialize to MBR" or "Initialize to GPT" accordingly.

Step 2. A pending operation of initializing disk to MBR or GPT disk will be added. Execute the operation and click "Apply".

0:00-0:22 Initialize to MBR; 0:23-0:49 Initialize to GPT;

After the initialization, So the next step is to partition hard drive in Windows 10.

How to partition an existing hard drive

Step 1. Locate the Target Partition

To start extending partition, you should first locate the target partition and select "Resize/Move".

Select target partition to extend

Step 2. Extend the Target Partition

Drag the partition panel rightward or leftward to add unallocated space into your current partition and click "OK" to confirm.

choose another drive to allocate space

Extra Option: Get Space from Another Drive

If there is not enough unallocated space on your disk, right-click on a big partition with enough free space, select "Allocate space".

Then select the target partition that you want to extend at the allocate space to column.

choose another drive to allocate space

Step 3. Execute Operations to Extend Partition.

Drag the dots of the target partition into the unallocated space and click "OK".

finish extending partition

Then Click the "Execute Operation" button and click "Apply" to keep all the changes. 

In addition, you can also apply some advanced features  as listed below to manage your hard drive in all Windows OS:

If you think this hard drive partitioning software is useful, why not apply it to manage different Windows OS partition problems with ease.

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Solution 2: Partition hard drive with Disk Management

Before you start partition hard drive with Disk Management, you should first understand that it has different features in different Windows OS.

  • In Windows 10/8/7, Vista and Windows Server 2008, Disk Management can shrink volume, extend volume, shrink volume, create volume, delete the volume, format volume, etc. on a hard drive.
  • In Windows 2000/XP and Windows Server 2003, Disk Management can only create a partition, delete partition, format partition, change the drive letter on a hard drive.
Disk Management can’t partition a hard drive when there is no unallocated space right behind it. But EaseUS Partition Manager can do it.

So how to partition hard drive with Disk Management? Let's see:

How to partition a new hard drive

Step 1: Open Disk Management

Right-click on This PC/My Computer > Click "Manage" > Enter Device Manager and click "Disk Management".

Step 2: Initialize the new hard drive

initialize hard disk

Step 3. Right-click on the unallocated space and select "New Simple Volume" to create a new partition.

create new simple volume

You’ll then enter the New Simple Volume Wizard to choose the volume size, drive letter, and file system. 

How to partition an existing hard drive

  • Step 1: Open Disk Management
  • Right-click on This PC/My Computer > Click "Manage" > Enter Device Manager and click "Disk Management".
  • Step 2: Partition hard drive
  • Shrink partition:
  • 1. Right-click on the partition that you want to shrink and select "Shrink Volume".
    2. Adjust the partition size and "Shrink" to confirm.
  • Shrink partition with disk management
  • Extend partition:
  • 1. Shrink partition next to the target partition that you want to extend in advance.
    2. Right-click on the target partition and select "Extend Volume".
  • Extend partition with disk management
  • 3. Click "Next" to continue, add the unallocated space to extend the target partition. Click "Next" and "Finish" to complete.
  • Create partition: (formatting required)
  • 1. Right-click on the unallocated space, select "New Simple Volume".
  • Create partition with disk management
  • 2. Click "Next" to continue, set the new partition size, drive letter, file system, click "Finish".
    Wait for the formatting complete.
  • Delete partition:
  • Right-click on the partition that you want to delete, select "Delete Volume" and select "Yes".
  • Delete partition with Disk Management
  • Change drive letter:
  • 1. Right-click on the partition and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths".
    2. Click "Change" to set a new drive letter for your partition.
  • Change partition drive letter.

Although, Disk Management is capable of dealing with most simple partition management tasks. It still has cons to solve some complex problems that you'll need a third-party partition manager like EaseUS Partition Master for help:

  • It can't re-partition hard drive especially create a new partition without formatting. 
  • It can't extend system partition when the unallocated space is not behind the system partition. 
  • It has no "Move Partition" feature to move the unallocated space next to the volume which you want to extend.
  • It can't convert disk to MBR/GPT.
  • It can't convert Dynamic disk to Basic disk.

In all situations, a third-party partition manager software is highly required since Disk Management has so many limitations when partitioning a hard drive. EaseUS Partition Master can always be your best choice.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

The Bottom Line

This article focuses on how to partition a hard drive without formatting via EaseUS Partition Manager and Disk Management. For partition a new or existing hard drive, the third-party software provides more convenience than Disk Management.

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About the Author

Updated by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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Product Reviews

Product Reviews

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  • I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy.

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  • Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes.

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  • It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool.

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