How to Combine Mutiple Hard Drives into One Volume [Two Tricks for You]

Organizing your data

To be clear: we’re not talking about moving the operating system or any installed programs. You’ll have a newly installed operating system on the new machine, and you’ll reinstall the applications that you want from their original installation media or downloads.

Then all that’s really left to talk about is copying over your data.

There are two approaches to organizing the data on your new drive.

  1. You can actually partition that new hard drive, (the terabyte drive in your example), into two parts, so it would mimic the two drive setup you have now. One could be your operating system disk, and the other could be your data disk. All of that data would be on a single drive, but it would look to the operating system like two separate drives.
  2. Don’t partition the new drive; leave it as a single, large, partition. You could place the data from the drive you now use for storage into a folder on the new drive and then organize your files and applications according to your liking.

Personally, I prefer a single partition per hard drive. Others disagree, which is fine. It’s really up to you.

When it comes to actually moving the data, there are multiple options. It really depends on what equipment you have, and what you’re comfortable doing.

Option 1: Create a small local area network

The simplest way (and the way I personally do it) is to have both computers connected to my router at the same time, so that they’re on what’s called a “small local area network”. Having both machines connected to the local network allows me to use Windows file sharing to connect from one machine to the other; so that I can just copy everything that I want from that old machine to the new.

However, networking can be finicky, so this approach doesn’t always work.

Option 2: Grab an external hard drive

Connect an external hard drive to the old machine. Copy the data you want to move to the external drive. Dismount the drive. Plug it into the new computer, and then copy the data off the external drive on to the new PC.

Option 3: Turn your old storage drive into an external hard drive

Take that second hard drive out of the old machine, put it into an external drive enclosure, and use it as an external drive. You can then copy your data over to the one terabyte drive. If you wanted to, you could even leave the data on your “new” external drive, or use it for backup. You’ve got some flexibility there.

Option 4: Use a backup image

Another option is to use a backup image on an external drive, and recover your data from that image. Assuming that you have been backing up this old PC, you have backup images that are already stored on external drives. If you don’t already have backup images, you can make one on the old machine. Then with that image on an external drive, you can move it to the new machine and use your backup software to recover or extract data to the new drive.

My suspicion is that copying using an external drive is probably the simplest and the easiest way to get working and get working quickly, but honestly it’s really up to you. There are lots of options here, and I really do think you can get set up just the way you’d like to.

Video

How do I merge partitions without losing data?

Key Features

  1. Merge Partitions. Combine two partitions into one or add unallocated space.
  2. Allocate Free Space. Move free space from one partition to another without data loss.
  3. Migrate OS to SSD. Move system from HDD to SSD without reinstalling Windows and apps.
  4. Convert GPT to MBR.
  5. Clone Hard Disk.

How do I clean my C drive Windows 10 without formatting?

Open This PC/My Computer, right-click on C drive and select Properties.

  1. Click Disk Cleanup and select files that you want to delete from C drive.
  2. Click OK to confirm the operation.
  3. Method 2. Run partition manager software to clean up C drive without formatting.

Disk Management combine partitions in Windows 7/8/10/11

Step 1. Right-click Computer or This PC, select manage to enter the main page of Computer Management.

Step 2. Click Disk Management and select the disk you want to delete after you see all the partitions on your disk, then choose Delete Volume from the context menu.

Step 3. Right-click the partition you want to merge and select Extend Volume. And wait for the final result.

Step 4: After selecting Extend Volume, you will enter into a new window. In this window, you will see all the available disk. Now, double click it ( or you can manually click Add to select the available disk at the left box) and tick Next.

Step 5. After finishing all the above steps, you can see the following window. In this window, you can see the E: partition becomes 5.7 GB.

Now, you can successfully merge hard drive partitions with Disk Management. However, there is a main limitation you cannot ignore: data loss.

In Disk Management, you are only allowed to merge hard drive partition with unallocated space. Thus, if there is no unallocated space on your disk, the only way is to delete the partition next to your target partition. To ensure the security of your data on the disk, you need to back up it or directly copy the partition to another one before you delete the partition.

Aside from data loss, there’s another limitation in Disk Management. It requires that the unallocated space must be right adjacent to the target partition. If not, you still cannot merge partitions in Windows 7/8/10/11.

To fix these problems, I recommend you the best free partition extender AOMEI Partition Assistant.

How to Add a New Drive to Your Storage Space

For now, you’re all done—you can use your computer as normal. If there comes a day where you run low on space again and want to add even more storage to your pool, Storage Spaces makes it easy.

  Manage storage spaces  Manage storage spaces

Head back to the Manage Storage Spaces page and click the Change Settings button. Then, next to your current pool, click the Add Drives button.

Select your drive (again, it will be erased, so back it up first!) and make sure the Optimize Drive Usage box is checked—this will move some of your data to the new drive so it’s spread across all your drives optimally.

  Select drives  Select drives

Click the Add Drives button, and once Windows is finished moving that data, you’ll have even more space to work with.

There’s a lot more to Storage Spaces than what we’ve covered here, so when you’re ready to get more advanced with it, be sure to search around to see the extra features you can enable through PowerShell. For now, enjoy your much larger pool of drives!

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Option Two: Create A Spanned Volume

If you have a lot of files and folders to work with,, you want them all on one volume and symbolic links aren’t ideal, you have another option: creating a spanned volume (also known as disk concatenation). Spanned volumes are like the opposite of partitioning: you create one volume that starts at the beginning of your first disk, and ends at the end of your last disk, creating one giant volume. This is often also referred to as Just a Bunch of Disks (JBOD). There’s a lot of controversy over whether it is actually correct to call it this, so we won’t use it here — just know that elsewhere around the net, you may see these two terms used interchangeably.

To create a spanned volume in Windows:

  1. Back up any data on your drives, since you’ll need to erase the ones you’re spanning.
  2. Open the Start menu and type diskmgmt.msc. Click on the option that appears and find the disks you want to combine.
  3. If your disks have data on them, right-click on each and choose “Delete Volume.” Make sure you’re deleting the correct volumes!
  4. Right-click on the first of the now-empty drives you want to add to your span and choose “Create New Spanned Volume.”
  5. When the New Spanned Volume wizard starts, click Next until you get to the Select Disks screen. Highlight the second disk you want to add to the span, then click the Add button. Continue this process until all the disks you want are on the right size of the selection wizard, then click Next.
  6. Assign your spanned volume a drive letter, then click Next. Format it as NTFS and give it a name. When it’s finished, you’re ready to use your new spanned volume.

To create a spanned volume in Mac OS X:

  1. Back up any data on your drives, since you’ll need to erase the ones you’re spanning.
  2. Open up /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility and click on one of the drives you’re going to use. Head to the “Erase” tab, choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” from the dropdown menu, and click Erase. Repeat this process for the other drives you want to include in the span.
  3. Click on one of the now-empty drives you’re going to use, and click the “RAID” tab. Give your set of disks a name, choose “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” as the format, and choose “Concatenated Disk Set” for “RAID type”.
  4. Click the plus sign to add the array to the list.
  5. Drag your hard drives one-by-one from Disk Utility’s left sidebar into the right pane, under the disk set you just created. When all the disks are in place, click Create to create the spanned volume.

Spanned volumes are a little different in every operating system, but the process is similar. Linux users can use a feature called Logical Volume Management, and most other OSes should have an option for this too — heck, even Nas4Free has it built right in. Google your own OS for instructions on how to perform similar functions (and remember, it might be referred to as JBOD or disk concatenation).

Pros: Managing a spanned volume is much easier than managing symbolic links, since once you’ve created it, you don’t actually have to “manage” anything. It just shows up on your computer as one big drive. When it runs out of space on the first physical disk, it moves onto the second without you having to worry about it. This also works with any number of drives at any combination of speeds, unlike RAID.

Cons: The biggest problem with spanned volumes is that they introduce a greater probability of drive failure. If you have a volume spanned over three drives, that’s three drives that could fail instead of just one, and if one of your drives fails, you lose all of the data in that spanned volume (though some of it may be recoverable).

As such, we don’t recommend this option for most scenarios. However, if you have a lot of data that isn’t particularly important — or is backed up elsewhere (like a bunch of DVDs and Blu-Ray discs that you’ve ripped) — this might be an OK option. Just be aware of the downsides and the necessary precautions to keep your data safe.

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