How to delete a drive partition on Windows 11

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By Admin

There’s a good chance that if you’ve ever bought a new laptop or an off-the-shelf PC, you may have noticed that when you look in File Explorer, there are two drives listed, even if only one drive is mentioned on the spec sheet. That’s because, many times, PC manufacturers create partitions — virtual divisions of a storage drive that act as individual drives themselves. There are valid reasons to want to have partitions on your PC, but for many, having the internal storage split into two drives may not make much sense. If you fall into that latter camp, we’re here to show you how to delete a drive partition in Windows 11 so you can make your storage whole again.

Should you delete your partitions?

As we said above, there are some pros and cons to having more than one partition on your drive, and one of the first big benefits is that it makes it much easier to reinstall the operating system. Since you can keep your personal files on a separate “drive”, reinstalling Windows doesn’t have to delete any of your data, and if any damage has been done to the OS files, you can get back to a working state more easily. Multiple partitions are also necessary if you want to dual-boot Windows and another operating system, for example. It’s also easier to back up your personal data if it’s stored on a separate drive, since you won’t have to carefully select the folders you want to back up.

However, having a separate partition won’t help you if the drive itself starts to fail. After all, the physical drive is the same for both partitions, so if it starts going bad, both partitions will suffer all the same. Having multiple partitions can also result in more confusion when it comes to managing your files and knowing where everything is stored, plus having these divisions can eat up some of your total storage (though this should only be a very small amount).

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference, but for most users, there isn’t a need to have two partitions, and consolidating your data onto a single drive may actually make things a bit easier. So how do you do it?

How to delete an unnecessary partition in Windows 11

Before deleting a partition, make sure there’s no important data currently stored on it, or make sure to back it up to a different drive. You can copy it to another partition on your drive that you plan to keep, or you may need an external drive to do it. Also, make sure you’re deleting the right partition to avoid losing data.

Deleting a partition is actually a relatively simple process once you know what you’re doing, but it is important that you do. Any mistake here could result in major data losses, so follow these steps carefully.:

  1. Starting by finding the drive letter for the partition you want to delete in File Explorer. On most laptops that are sold with a pre-partitioned drive, this should be D, but make sure you know what it is in your specific case. Make sure that the partition is empty or that the data on it has been backed up.
  2. Right-click the Start button on the taskbar and choose Disk Management from the context menu.
  3. Here, you’ll see a list of all your drives and their partitions. You’ll notice a lot of partitions that aren’t even listed in File Explorer, and those are essential system partitions you shouldn’t touch. Find the partition with the drive letter you want to delete.

    If you want to expand an existing partition, make sure that the partition you want to expand is on the left side of the one you want to delete. Otherwise, it won’t be possible and deleting your partition will be useless.

  4. Right-click the partition and choose Delete volume.
  5. Windows will warn you that deleting the partition will delete all the data on it. Again, make sure you’ve backed up any necessary data, then click Yes.
  6. The deleted partition will now be listed as Unallocated.

Unallocated space means that the space on the physical drive isn’t attached to any virtual drive, and thus, it can’t be used in its current state. Of course, you’ll probably want to fix that.

How to expand your main partition

A natural step to take is to expand your main partition to include the unallocated space. However, this is only possible if the partition you want to expand is on the left side of the unallocated space. If it isn’t, your only option is to create a partition again, but we’ll get to that later. If you want to expand your main partition, here’s what you need to do:

  1. In Disk Management, right-click the partition you want to expand, then choose Extend volume.
  2. Click Next in the wizard that appears, then you’ll be prompted to choose how much space you want to add to the partition. By default, Windows will automatically add all the unallocated space available to the right of the partition you’re expanding, but you can reduce it to only add whatever space you deem necessary.
  3. Click Finish.

Your main partition will now be using the space that was once in a separate partition, and your PC should be ready to use.

How to create a new partition

If your goal was simply to expand the size of the main partition and create a second one that’s smaller, you can follow the steps above to only expand the main partition up to a certain point. Then, you can create a new partition in whatever space you have left by following these steps:

  1. In Disk Management, right-click the unallocated space where you want to create your new drive and choose New simple volume.
  2. Click Next in the wizard, then choose the amount of storage you want for the drive. By default, the entire unallocated space will be selected.
  3. Next, you’ll choose whether you want to assign a drive letter or drive path to the new partition. If the goal is to dual-boot another operating system, you’ll probably want to choose a drive letter, but it can be any letter you want. Click Next.
  4. Finally, you’ll have to format the partition for it to be usable. By default, it will be formatted to NTFS. You can also choose a volume label, which is the name the partition will show up as. The other settings should be fine with the default options. Click Next one more time.
  5. Click Finish.

You should now have a new drive where your unallocated space was, and with the size you want, too.

That’s about all you need to know about deleting a drive partition and why you might want to. As we’ve mentioned, having multiple partitions is useful if you want to dual-boot two operating systems, but if you want a simpler solution and you don’t need maximum performance, you can also run different operating systems in a virtual machine (VM) on Windows 11. That way, you don’t need multiple partitions and it’s potentially easier to manage your files.

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