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How do I extend a volume on a hard drive?

Posted on 2016-10-21
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have a Seagate external hard drive that  I want to use for backup.   In Disk Management it indicates 2794.52GB online with 2048.00GB as Healthy (Active, Primary Partition) and 746.52GB as Unallocated.   How do I use the entire hard drive for backup?   There is nothing on the drive that I want to save.   I am running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit.
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Question by:DoctorK12008
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10 Comments
 
LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:Michael Dyer
ID: 41854613
You should be able to simply remove the existing partition and re-partition using the whole drive.  Right click on My Computer, select Manager and go into disk management.
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Expert Comment

by:Luis Moura
ID: 41854637
You can delete and recreate, or extend
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41854722
Some computers/configurations are limited to 2GB so I'd be checking that first!
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 41854747
Sounds like you are tryig to use the built in W7 backup which will not support >2tb volumes or 4K drives.
So you probably need a 3rd party backup.
And in order to use 3tb in the future ,it needs to be set up as gpt ,not mbr.
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LVL 96

Accepted Solution

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Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 41854815
Depends on how you're trying to use the drive for backup.

Are you using Windows Backup?  A third party utility?  Or are you just copying files to back them up?

Windows Backup has a limitation in Windows 7 - it has trouble with disks that are Advanced Format (4K sector based).  Nothing you can do if that's the case here.

If it's a third party or you're trying to copy files, then it's probably a simple fix, BUT you'll have to wipe the disk first.  Odds are, you set the disk as MBR when you created the partitions. MBR based disks are limited to 2TB capacities and cannot be expanded.  GPT is a newer "type" of disk.  If you initialize the disk as GPT, then you can use the whole drive.  

EaseUS claims to do it without data loss, but I would STILL backup first - you're changing aspects of the disk that could result in data loss if something doesn't work right.  See http://www.partition-tool.com/resource/GPT-disk-partition-manager/convert-mbr-disk-to-gpt-disk.htm
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Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 41854832
Beware of Easus freeware crap,it loads your OS with unwanted software.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 41854851
Disk Management is showing the correct total size, so you don't have any issues "seeing" the correct size.

But I suspect the drive is formatted with MBR.

You need to re-initialize the drive as GPT.

The easiest way to force a re-init is to write zeroes to the drive;  then when you next go to Disk Management, it will want to initialize the drive => be sure you select GPT for the initialization; and you can then create a single partition that will use the full drive.

To zero the drive, I'd use WD's free Data Lifeguard ... just select the drive; then do a Write Zeroes (you can do the quick write, which is enough to force re-initialization).
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 41854852
... I'm assuming the drive is currently MBR, which is why the partition is only 2TB.   It's possible that for some reason the partition was created as a 2TB partition even on a GPT drive.    If that's the case, you can simply right-click on the partition from within Disk Management and choose "Extend Volume" to make it the full size, without the need for re-initializing the drive.   I doubt this is the case, but won't take but a few seconds to confirm it.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41854876
you can also use diskpart
1. Convert MBR to GPT using Diskpart

This method you have to backup all your data and delete all partitions and volumes. Then use the DISKPART command.
•Open command prompt and type in DISKPART and press Enter
•Then type in list disk  (Note down the number of disk you want to convert to GPT)
•Then type in select disk number of disk
•Finally type in convert gpt.

more info here    http://www.thewindowsclub.com/convert-mbr-to-gpt-disk
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Author Closing Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41855174
I used Easus to resize the partition so now the whole drive is available.   I use Acronis True Image for backing up.   Thank you for your help.
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