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Tutorial for managing partition on external hard drive

Q: I have a new 500GB external USB hard drive and would like to format and partition this external hard drive. How do I do that?

A: Most will come pre-configured as a single unlabelled partition using the FAT32 file system.

If that's what you want, you can stop reading now. If not, then start by right clicking on My Computer and then clicking on Manage. In the resulting application window, click on Disk Management in the left hand pane. You should see something similar to this:

Disk Management Tool

At the top you'll see all the logical disks on your system listed alphabetically by label by default. Below that you'll see a graphical representation of all the physical disk drives known to your system. If a physical drive has more than one partition those partitions will be shown together on the single physical drive.

Remove the Existing Partition

Let's assume for a moment that you are unhappy with the current configuration of the partitions on my external drive and want to change it. My first step would be to remove the existing partition.

You need to right click on the drive in the lower pane, and you should see this menu:

Disk Management Menu

Click on Delete Partition

The representation of the drive should change from "Healthy" to "Unallocated".

Partition The External Hard Drive

Right click on the drive again, and the option "Delete Partition" is now "New Partition". Click on that to set up your new partition.

You'll then be asked to select "Primary" or "Extended" partition. Primary is sufficient unless you plan to put more than 4 partitions on this hard disk. You'll then also be asked how much of the space to allocate for the new partition you're creating.

However, if there is some data on your external hard disk, you will lost all data by doing so, unless you backup them all to another drive. At this time, some third party external hard disk partition software is needed.

Here I recommend you to use EaseUS Partition Master. This tool allows you to resize partitions on external hard disk easily and without charge.

EaseUS Partition Master Professional Edition

ALL-IN-ONE Windows partition manager software

$31.96 $39.95

EaseUS Partition Master is a comprehensive hard disk partition management software for Windows Server 2000/2003/2008 and Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 partition to Resize and Move, Copy, Merge, Create, Delete and Format, Convert, Hide and Unhide server and non-server partitions and much more.

Free partition manager software

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EaseUS Partition Master Professional $31.96 $39.95