I have a physical hard drive that is split into 3 partitions. The second partition is running out of space and I want to give it some free space that I have on the third partition. While, this is simple to achieve on Windows, I just can't get there with my Mac.

The problem is that I can create a new partition from the free space but not transfer space from my third to my second partition. This is a common task and I can't believe Disk Utility can't do that so I ask you what I should do in order to achieve this?

  • Are these partitions on your internal boot drive, or on an external drive? – user9290 Sep 30 '11 at 0:58

I would say that this is not a common task: it's actually quite complex.

The issue is that partitions are filled up from beginning to end, so the free space in your third partition is at the end of it, so it's not adjacent to your second partition.

What you need to do is to move the data from the third partition to another hard drive (or back up your entire disk to another, which would be preferred). Once that's done, delete the third partition in Disk Utility. Expand the second partition into this free space (leaving enough room for the third partition) and re-add the third partition. Finally, copy the files back to the third partition from the copy made in the first step.

  • 1
    Mmm...Thank you for your answer.I'm still convinced that, from a user point of view (how complex it is under the hood is not a user concern), this is a common task that all the disk managing software that I used to use under Windows were able to do. I don't think it makes sense to have to buy another Hard disk just to reorganize the first one which has lot of free space. If Windows software can make it, why Mac ones cannot? Anyway, thank you for your answer. Do you think of any workaround than BUYING a new hard drive? It's a budget I don't have. – Baylock Sep 29 '11 at 22:29
  • If the first partition has enough free space, you could put it there. You could even burn the files to DVDs if that's practical. There just needs to be a second copy because you're going to erase the drive. – Cajunluke Sep 29 '11 at 23:02
  • I'd imagine that the other drive partitioning software was scooting the files around inside the partition to be shrunk. Disk Utility is a fairly basic partitioning utility; it just got partition live resizing in 10.5. Maybe there's some other Mac software you can buy that'll do the partition stuff you want, but it might be that an external hard drive is cheaper. – Cajunluke Sep 29 '11 at 23:05

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