Cannot delete partitions on external USB drive

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by FredT2, May 27, 2018.

  1. FredT2 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    I have an external drive that has several partitions. I want to reformat the drive so that it has only one partition. The first partition cannot be removed. The next partition cannot be removed because "the previous volume cannot be resized". And the third partition is listed as "Free space" with a format of "free space". Trying to remove it fails. Is there a way just to reformat the drive without going through this mess of trying to repartition?
  2. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Brian has it right in reply 2 above.

    Fishrrman's "guaranteed!" way to repartition a drive (or remove existing partitions):
    1. BACK UP any data on the drive to somewhere else
    2. ERASE the entire drive using Disk Utility to Mac OS extended, journaling enabled GUID partition format
    3. RE-partition if necessary (you don't need to do this step)
    4. RESTORE the data to the drive from your backup.

  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Select the drive itself like in my screenshot and not the partitions below it, then click the erase button and format the entire disk to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). That will set it to one, large partition.

    You also may need to click that View button there and select Show all Devices so you can see the disk and not just the partitions.

    Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 8.15.54 AM.png
  5. FredT2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 18, 2009
    Thanks. I had View set to "Show only Volumes" and so was not seeing the drive itself. I haven't used Disk Utility in a while and had never seen that view. Easy after that.

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