Unlike Apple Mac computer, you should pay more attention to Windows computer Disk Management. There are many things to do, for example: C drive becomes full, so you need to add more free space and expand it. To a brand new disk, you need to initialize it and then create/format partition on it. You may also need to convert disk partition type, copy disk partition, etc. Therefore, a disk management tool is very important to Windows computer. In this article, I'll introduce native Disk Management tool and free disk partition manager in Windows 11 laptop/desktop/tablet
How to open Disk Management in Windows 11
There are 2 easy ways to open Disk Management in Windows 11 laptop/desktop/tablet:
- Press Windows and X keys together (or right click Windows logo), and then click Disk Management in the list.
- Press Windows and R keys together, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
Right click the front of a disk or any volume, you'll see all options. Unavailable options are greyed out. Some options are always grayed out but some other options can be enabled after doing something.
Ability of Windows 11 Disk Management tool
- To a brand new hard disk: Offline, Online and Initialize. Before saving files to a new disk, this disk must be online and initialized. Then create new partition and format it with a file system.
- To Unallocated space: create one or more partitions.
- To a disk with volume: convert basic disk to Dynamic disk.
- To a disk without any volume: convert disk between MBR and GPT, convert disk between Basic and Dynamic.
- Windows 11 Disk Management can convert basic disk to dynamic without losing data, but it cannot convert dynamic disk back to basic without data loss.
- To convert disk between MBR and GPT with Disk Management, you must delete all partitions on it in advance.
To an allocated partition:
- Open root directory of selected partition
- Mark partition as Active
- Change drive letter and path
- Format partition
- Shrink volume without losing data (in most cases).
- Extend volume with Unallocated space behind it.
- Delete partition
- Add mirror
If you select Add Mirror, there should be 2 disks and both will be converted to dynamic.
Shortages comparing with free disk manager
There are 2 major shortages of Windows 11 Disk Management comparing with third party disk partition manager:
- Lack of many functions. Windows Disk Management can only do some basic operations, it cannot convert partition type, copy disk partition, wipe data, etc.
- Although there are Extend Volume and Shrink Volume functions, Disk Management cannot extend a partition by shrinking another one. Because Extend Volume only supports NTFS partition and only works when there's contiguous Unallocated space on the right. Shrink Volume cannot make such required Unallocated space.
NIUBI Partition Editor has free edition for Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP home computer users. To manage disk partitions, you just need to click, drag and drop.
Download the free edition, you'll see all storage devices with partition layout and other detailed information on the main window.
Similar with Windows native Disk Management, you'll see available options after right clicking the front of a disk or any partition. Unavailable operations are hidden automatically. Better than other disk partition manager, NIUBI has many advantages such as:
- Its free edition is 100% free to home users without any bundled advertisement or plugins.
- Unique 1 Second Rollback technology - automatically reverts computer to original status in a flash if encounter any error.
- Virtual Mode - list all operations as pending for preview, real disk partitions won't be modified until click Apply to confirm.
- Cancel-at-well - cancel ongoing but incorrect operations without causing damage.
- Hot-Resize - shrink and extend most of partitions without rebooting computer.
- Advanced file-moving algorithm - 30% to 300% faster when copying, moving and resizing partitions.
Watch the video guide how to use this free disk partition manager.