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Windows 7: How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?

07 Dec 2016   #1
Annaa

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 
How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?

Hi,

This is probably the silliest question ever, but I haven't done partitioning in a very long time and don't feel too confident, so here goes:

I bought a 3 TB Seagate external hard drive a few years ago, created two partitions on it and left almost 1 TB unallocated. Can't remember why [ETA: because I figured I would decide if I needed 1 more partition or 2 when the time came, probably], and didn't even remember it was there! All this time, I had been thinking I had a 2 TB disk that was getting more and more full...

Anyway, I just rediscovered that unallocated space and would like advice on how to best exploit it: should I extend "SeagBig" (which is full to the brim), or create a new partition (or several) in the unallocated space? What will be more convenient / less risky?

Also: I think I used Windows' own Disk Management tool initially. Can I do that again?

Thanks!


ETA, in case it confused anyone: the 'SeagSys' partition does not have an OS on it. I only use it to backup what I consider "system" ie disk images, Firefox profiles, setups, etc.
The drive is a data drive, and a data drive only. I do not need to boot from it.




Attached Thumbnails
How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?-seagpartitions20161207.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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07 Dec 2016   #2
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

** Do as Jumunji's next post says! Ignore my post! **
You could make a 3rd NTFS partition; then you can either merge 2nd and 3rd partition or simply have 3 partitions. I think Windows' Disk Management will be fine. Scuttlebutt elsewhere indicates MiniTool Partition Wizard may be all you need -- or any similar 3rd party utility.
** Do as Jumunji's next post says! Ignore my post! **
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2016   #3
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Better if you had given full details of your Seagate 3TB external drive. Model Name like Expansion, GoFlex etc., and Model Number.

Please examine your drive and check whether it has the Advanced Format logo. Advanced Format - Wikipedia
These advanced formatted MBR drives can handle upto 16GB. If no such logo is there, the following holds good.

From what I see, your drive is initialised as an MBR drive. Normal MBR drives can address and access only 2.2TB.

The solution: (Normal procedure - You have to initialise and format it as a GPT drive. But don't do it now. You will lose all data.)

In the present case you have to convert the MBR drive into GPT drive. But before doing that check the start sector of the first partition. If it is 2048 you can go ahead and do it. ( If 63 - No)

Please install MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition 9.1 (30.49MB) . Free download Magic Partition Manager Software, partition magic alternative, free partition magic, partition magic Windows 7 and server partition software - Partition Wizard Online
Launch it, Does it show your 3TB external as Basic MBR?

Right click on the first partition > Properties > Partition Info Does it show the First Physical Sector : 2048?

If yes, close that Window.

Click on the 3TB drive icon in the disk map to select the whole drive, and on the left pane, under Operations click on Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk. Click on Apply on the top Menu bar > yes. That completes the conversion. You may need to format the unallocated partition or do any partition manipulation.

( Exercise caution. Do not do this on your system drive)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Dec 2016   #4
Annaa

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 

Thanks a lot to you both.

It's a Seagate Expansion Desktop Drive, model "STBV3000200" according to Amazon and "SRD00F2" according to what I read on the bottom. I couldn't find the Advanced Format logo.

I think I already did what you're recommending, Jumanji. Here are my notes from when I bought the drive back in March 2014:
* I did a quick format
* I reduced the size of the existing partition to 200 Gb (the SeagSys you see on my screencap) and it created two new unallocated blocks
* the first block was 1.6 Tb in size and I couldn't expand it, so I created a new partition on it (SeagBig)
* then I realized Disk Management didn't allow me to create a new primary disk (if that's the right term) from the second block
* after googling a bit, I right-clicked on the name of the drive in the left column and converted it to GPT
(this was still before I had any data on the drive, so I was feeling a lot less timid )
* and now the "Nouveau volume simple" ("New Simple Volume") option isn't grayed out anymore when I right-click on the unallocated space.

I'm attaching a screencap of the operations available when the drive is selected. Does the grayed-out option confirm that it is indeed GPT already?


Attached Thumbnails
How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?-seag_operations.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2016   #5
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Legacy - MBR has a size limit of 2.2 T on each partition, as you don't have a UEFI BIOS.

This is what I would do:
- Copy the SeaBig drive (I) to an external disk. For security, also copy SeagSys.
- Delete the SeaBig partition.
- Expand the SeagSys partition to the right till you get a 800G partition.
- Create a primary partition on the remaining space (2.2T), format it and assign letter I to it, rename it as SeaBig.
- Restore the backup to drive SeaBig (I).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2016   #6
dg1261

Windows 7/8.1/10/XP multiboot
 
 

Yes, it's GPT already. Your menus show a "Conversion en disque MBR" option, which you'll only see on a GPT disk. If it was a MBR disk that option would say "Convert to GPT disk". If you want further confirmation, click "Properties" as shown on your menu, select the "Volumes" tab, and note the "Partition style" entry.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Dec 2016   #7
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

I am unable to understand the manipulations you did on the drive since you bought it in March 2014. Above my head . So let me start with a clean slate. Since support for Windows XP ceased in April 2014, Seagate stopped rolling out larger than 2TB Advanced Formatted MBR drives (compatible with XP 32bit) and changed over to GPT drives ( for Windows7 and upwards).

1.Advanced Formatted MBR Expansion drives: ( Before April 2014) ( These drives use a special Drive Translation circuitry inside the enclosure. I do not know how it will manifest if you initialise and format it as a GPT drive or convert it from MBR to GPT)

How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?-09-12-2016-09-00-02.jpg

2. GPT Expansion drives: ( After April 2014)

How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?-09-12-2016-08-59-23.jpg

Source: Expansion drives switching to GPT

From the pictures determine which drive you have. Initialise and format your drive accordingly.

If it is 1, initialise and format it as an MBR drive.

If it is 2, initialise and format it as a GPT drive.

(Do not convert these drives from GPT to MBR and viceversa. Use them as they were designed for.The interface circuitry inside the enclosure is not the same and that can create the problems)

Of course before doing this, backup all data to another drive. I would also advise that you wipe your drive clean before initialising and formatting. (You can use HDD LLF Low Level Format Tool for that, HDDGURU: HDD LLF Low Level Format Tool) That will take your drive to the out of factory condition - clean state and slate .

( Exercise caution to wipe the correct Seagate 3TB Expansion drive.)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2016   #8
Megahertz07

Windows 7 HP 64
 
 

Annaa, on Disk 0 you have 3 partitions, 100% free with no drive letters assign to them. What you have on those partitions? If there is nothing on it you can delete them and expand drive C:. You will gain 40G
If you follow my post nș5 you will get what you want on the external disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2016   #9
Annaa

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bits
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
Yes, it's GPT already. Your menus show a "Conversion en disque MBR" option, which you'll only see on a GPT disk. If it was a MBR disk that option would say "Convert to GPT disk". If you want further confirmation, click "Properties" as shown on your menu, select the "Volumes" tab, and note the "Partition style" entry.
Ah, yes, you're right, see the attached screencap. Thanks!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Megahertz07 View Post
Annaa, on Disk 0 you have 3 partitions, 100% free with no drive letters assign to them. What you have on those partitions? If there is nothing on it you can delete them and expand drive C:. You will gain 40G
They're Ubuntu partitions, in order, boot, root, and swap, if I remember correctly? They're not actually empty, but Windows' Disk Management doesn't recognize them properly; they're actually part of an extended partition with D:. Anyway, I don't want to try messing with any of that four years in!

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
Since support for Windows XP ceased in April 2014, Seagate stopped rolling out larger than 2TB Advanced Formatted MBR drives (compatible with XP 32bit) and changed over to GPT drives ( for Windows7 and upwards).

1.Advanced Formatted MBR Expansion drives: ( Before April 2014) ( These drives use a special Drive Translation circuitry inside the enclosure. I do not know how it will manifest if you initialise and format it as a GPT drive or convert it from MBR to GPT)

2. GPT Expansion drives: ( After April 2014)

Source: Expansion drives switching to GPT

From the pictures determine which drive you have. Initialise and format your drive accordingly.
I have the first one, which was provided as MBR, but which I converted to GPT a few days after buying it, as explained above.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
If it is 1, initialise and format it as an MBR drive.

If it is 2, initialise and format it as a GPT drive.

(Do not convert these drives from GPT to MBR and viceversa. Use them as they were designed for.The interface circuitry inside the enclosure is not the same and that can create the problems)

Of course before doing this, backup all data to another drive. I would also advise that you wipe your drive clean before initialising and formatting.
So basically, buy a new hard drive to back up my back-up-and-multimedia drive before I can do anything?! Arghhh.

I'll enquire whether anyone has a drive they can loan me. Otherwise, our less interesting version of Black Friday is coming up in January, I guess I'll have to go shopping.....

PS: I have to mention I have never had any issues with this converted-to-GPT drive in two and a half years. But if I did decide "Oh what the hell" and right-clicked "New Simple Volume" on the unallocated space, that's when trouble could start, do you think? Or would it even wipe the rest of the drive? Or would it simply just not work?

And here I'd thought this was gonna be simple...


Attached Images
How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?-seaggpt.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2016   #10
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

"PS: I have to mention I have never had any issues with this converted-to-GPT drive in two and a half years. But if I did decide "Oh what the hell" and right-clicked "New Simple Volume" on the unallocated space, that's when trouble could start, do you think? Or would it even wipe the rest of the drive? Or would it simply just not work?"

Your question is "How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?"

One line answer: As long as you do not handle the unallocated space and/or want to make it usable, you are OK. ( Hmmm... you could have as well bought a 2TB drive and saved a few bucks......)
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 How to handle the unallocated space on my external hard drive?




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