How to expand primary partition on external HD without delete other partitions?

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by SackJabbit, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. SackJabbit macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2011
    Hi! I have a Western Digital 4TB portable external hard disk which has 3 partitions set up like so:

    |<--- 500GB Time Machine --->|<--- 500GB Games --->|<--- 3TB Music/Photos/Videos --->|

    I would like to expand my Time Machine to 1TB, keep my Games partition to 500GB and decrease my Music/Photos/Videos partition to 2.5TB:

    |<--- 1TB Time Machine --->|<--- 500GB Games --->|<--- 2.5TB Music/Photos/Videos --->|

    Is there a way to do so without deleting any partitions? I notice Disk Utility doesn't allow me to expand my Time Machine partition drive without deleting the other partitions first. Do I have to look to third party solutions?

    Many thanks for your advice in advance. :)
  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007
    Third party who knows if available if it can resize and move a 500gb Games which is what is needed. Only way I can see it done with the least disruption is create new 500gb from the 3tb move Games there then delete the Games and expand the TM partition.
  3. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    What you want to do isn't possible due to the way partitioning works and also where the data actually physically is on the disks. The reason for this is because you cannot shrink a volume from its beginning blocks as there is data already in that space. Even if you could shrink the media partition from the beginning, all the data from the games partition would then have to physically be moved into that space. Things are looking up though, APFS is on its way!!
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Short of using a commerical app like "iPartiton" (which actually works well), what MacUser suggested above might be the best way...
  5. komatsu macrumors 6502

    Sep 19, 2010
    MacUsers suggestion sounds good.

    Please note, if using third-party partitioning tools there is always a MEDIUM to HIGH risk of a partition or all partitions "going south"...even if you follow instructions precisely. I've seen this happen to experienced Mac users. So if your're going down this take a clone of your HDD first - it's a much quicker process than data recovery!
  6. SackJabbit thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. I hadn't realised that it wasn't possible for MacOS. I used to use third party software like Partition Magic/Manager to resize (increase) my primary partition which hosted Windows 7 OS, and had 2 other partitions on the same drive.

    I will most definitely clone the partitions before proceeding to resize them. Alternatively, if my external drive is tight on space, I think I will move my Time Machine to a new standalone dedicated external drive.
  7. freeuser Suspended

    Apr 8, 2013
    might be a good idea, to switch to a bigger disk 6-10Tb, if you can afford it
    and clone your harddisk to that new one, all of your partitions would be expanded

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6 March 17, 2017