If your Windows is running low free space, you may encounter many problems, such as a computer running slow. Recently, I noticed there are lots of people asking this(or similar) question on the internet -how to free up hard drive size on Windows 10/8/7?
However, some people have a misunderstanding that the maximum hard drive size is ruled by version of Windows. Actually, the partitioning scheme is the determinant. The maximum size rests with the file system, not the Windows version.
So, if the hard drives are initialized with a certain partition scheme, the disk size will be the same. So do the partitions. It’s no business of Windows versions. Do you want to know the size limit and how to break the limit? Just keep reading.
Maximum Hard Drive Size of Windows 10/8/7
In Windows 10, users can use either2TB or 16TB space, just like in other Windows versions, no matter how large volume the hard disk is if it is initialized to MBR. Why the limits are 2TB and 16TB? Let’s explain it starting from the hard drive sector.
Traditionally, a hard drive are always employing 512B sector, but the new drive often adopts. If a MBR disk uses 512B or 512e sector, you will use 2TB disk space. If it uses 4K native sector (when it is supported by your Windows), you have 16TB disk space.
Maximum Hard Drive Partition Size of Windows 10/8/7
In general, the limit of FAT32 partition is 32GB. To be specific, in Windows Disk Management, you are unable to create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB, nor format a NTFS partition (larger than 32GB) to FAT32.
On the contrary, a NTFS partition can be very large. The Maximum NTFS volume size is 2^64 allocation units. Now, the largest allocation unit for NTFS is 64K, thus, the maximum NTFS partition size is 2^64*64K.
So how to break the limit of partition size though the current allocation unit prevents you from doing it? Detailed steps will be shown to guide you on how to free up hard drive without any data loss.
How to Break 2TB Hard Drive Limit on Windows 10/8/7
If you intend to break the 2TB limit of the hard drive in order to use all disk space in Windows 10, it is necessary to initialize the hard drive to GPT. To achieve this goal, you need to resort to a third-party tool. If you are using a MBR drive, it needs to be converted to GPT. Or you can set one of the primary partitions as logical.
MiniTool Partition Wizard, this free partition manager will enable you to do this easily. Please download and install the freeware on your computer first.
Option 1. Initialize the Drive to GPT
If the drive is a new one, initializing it to GPT is a nice choice to break the limit. You can make it with Partition Wizard or Disk Management.
Option 2. Convert a MBR Drive to GPT
If the drive is MBR and with data saved, you’d better choose to convert it to GPT to break the hard disk size limit. Also, Partition Wizard and Disk Management are available.
In Disk Management, before converting MBR to GPT, you need to delete all partitions. Thus, all data will get lost. So, please back up the important files in advance, and then convert.
In this case, using a mini tool Partition Wizard to convert MBR to GPT is more convenient as it will not do any harm to the original data.
①Launch it to get the main interface.
② Select the drive that needs converting. Choose Convert MBR Disk to GPT Disk to go on.
③ Click Apply to make the change effective.
Once the drive is converted to GPT successfully, you can use all space with the limit of 2TB. It can be seen, a partition manager is better than Disk Management to break the 2TB hard disk limit as long as the drive contains data.
How to Break 32GB Partition Limit on Windows 10/8/7
As we know, FAT32 is widely used in many OS, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and so on. In addition, some programs, like PlayStation recognize FAT partition only. So, the number of people who need to enlarge FAT32 is huge.
Some people tried to enlarge partition size by increasing cluster size. However, they suffered data loss because they use Windows Format.
Fortunately, with Partition Wizard, you can not only create 2TB FAT32 partition but also convert large NTFS partition to FAT32 without data loss just with a few steps.
Step 1:Launch the program to reach the main interface.
Step 2:Choose an unallocated space and click Create Partition to create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB. Then, Choose Convert NTFS to FAT, and you can convert the partition of NTFS to FAT32. Change Cluster Size can increase cluster size effectively.
If you just want to create a FAT32 partition, please choose the unallocated space and hit Create to continue.
Step 3: Specify the partition size, location, drive letter and some other information for the new partition. Click Apply to execute the changes.
How to Break Limit of 4 Primary Partitions
MiniTool Partition Wizard also can help you deal with the issue.
Option 1: Initialize or Convert a Drive to GPT
As we mentioned above, you can choose to initialize a new drive to GPT by using mini tool Partition Wizard or Disk Management. Or convert an MBR disk to GPT. After that, you can create at most 128 partitions on a GPT disk.
Option 2: Set One Primary Partitions Logical
As an MBR disk has 4 primary partitions, just setting one to be logical so that you can create an extended partition, in which you can create as many logical drives as you need.
Just launch this software. Select one primary partition and click Set Partition as Logicaloption. It will be better to choose the unused space to set logical, thus, data loss cases wouldn’t happen. And this partition is not suggested to be used as a system or boot partition.
That’s all for the information about how to free up hard drive size on Windows 10. If you are planning to create FAT32 partitions larger than 32GB, or create more than 4 partitions, just try the methods offered above with Partition Wizard.
Besides these features, there are many other practical features which can help you manage your computer better. So, try it if necessary.
Cassie, an editor works inMiniTool Solutions Ltd, which is a dedicated software development company. With over 4-year writing experience, she mainly writes article about files recovery and disk management. In spare time, she enjoys fishing, cooking and watching movies.