You may own a computer, be it a laptop or a desktop but not have an external hard drive and would love to have a backup of your files. This is where you'd wish you knew how to partition a hard drive. Worry not. This article will give you step by step instructions on how to partition your hard drive.
What is a hard drive partition?
Hard drive partition simply means separating one physical hard drive into multiple independent volumes.
Why partition a hard drive?
Most PCs arrive with a single partition (as C: typically) on their hard drives. Keeping your apps, data and operating system on the same partition can be risky. If something happens to the partition's index file (the file that tells your computer where the various pieces of your data are located), your computer would not be able to boot up that drive--and even if you boot up with a recovery disc or an external drive, you would not be able to access the rest of your data.
Here are some reasons why you must partition your hard drive
1. In the case of system failure, your data is less likely to be affected
Having at least two partitions - one for the operating system and the other to keep your personal data - assure you that you will retain data and files when you have to install an operating system due to virus infection or failure of some hardware.
2. It is possible to use two or more operating systems on the same computer depending on the number of partitions. One on each partition
3. Improved performance
Hard disk drives usually work better on smaller chunks of data rather than on one big partition. You also get a small boost in performance. The performance consuming process is greatly reduced.
4. Organizing your data is much easier
Organizing data becomes easier. You can decide to save your documents and media data such as movies, music and pictures on one partition and another partition for games. One could also setup a partition for only backup backup data.
How to format hard drives
- Go to 'my computer' and select the drive you wish to format.
- Right click on it and select the 'Format' option.
- Click START to format.
NOTE: Doing this will erase all data on the said drive. Be sure this is the drive you want to format before going through with it.
How to create a partition
Creating a partition differs slightly from depending on the operating system one is using. Let's look at how to create a partition on Windows 7, 8 and 10 operating systems:
Hard drive partition Windows 7
1. Click START and in the Search programs and files text field, type diskmgmt.msc and enter. When Computer Management is selected,you should see all of the disks and their partitions on your computer as shown below.
2. To make some space for the new partition, right-click on the partition you wish to re-size and select the Shrink Volume option.
3. Enter the size you wish to shrink your drive to in megabytes then shrink.
Note: 1,000 MB = 1GB
4. You should now see a new unallocated partition in your Disk Management window. Right-click on the unallocated partition and select the New Simple Volume option.
5. A pop up window labeled The New Simple Volume Wizard should pop up. Click Next to continue.
6. Enter the size of the new partition. Enter the amount of memory you wish to give to your new partition and click on next.
7. Give the new volume a path or letter name by selecting from the menu, a letter name for your new partition and click next.
8. Settings for the new volume.
- Click on Format this volume with the following settings:
- For File System, select NTFS
- For Allocation unit size, select Default
- For Volume Label, type the name you wish to give your new drive
- Click on Perform a quick format
- Then click on the NEXT button
9. Go over your settings to make sure everything is as you want it and click the Finish button.
10. Format the new volume.
- You will get a pop up asking you to partition your new drive. Click on the 'Format disk' button.
- A new pop up window will appear. Keep the settings and click on the START button.
- A pop up warning will appear. Click on the OK button.
11. If everything was done correctly, you should be able to see your new drive in Disk Management window.
Create partition Windows 8
1. Press the windows button on your keyboard + E to launch my computer. Right click on my computer on the left side of the window and select manage. Under storage in the new pop up window, select disk management
2. Review your drives in the Disk Management window. The (C:) drive usually contains the windows operating system.
3. Before you can partition a drive, you need to shrink it to make some space for the new partition. right-click on the partition you wish to re-size and select the Shrink Volume option.
Enter the size you wish to shrink your drive to in megabytes then shrink.
Note: 1,000 MB = 1GB
4. Choose the amount of hard drive space to shrink. Shrink space is the amount of hard drive space, in megabytes, you'd like to use for the partition. In the Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB, type the number in megabytes of space you'd like to shrink.
5. Click SHRINK.
6. Partition the unallocated disk area. Right-click the unallocated area, and then click New Simple Volume.
7. Choose the size of the new partition. In the New Simple Volume Wizard, in the Simple volume size in MB field, enter the size in megabytes of the new partition. Click NEXT.
8. Assign a drive letter to the new partition. Click the 'Assign the following drive letter radio' button to select it. Click the drop-down menu, and then click the drive letter you'd like to use. Click NEXT.
9. Choose the partition formatting options. You can safely choose the default options.
10. Click FINISH.
11. Review your new partition. In the Disk Management Window, make sure that the unallocated space has been renamed with the new drive letter.
Create new partition Windows 10
1. From the Windows desktop, press Windows key + X to open the Power User Task Menu and select disk management.
2. Choose the hard drive you want to partition from the list of available drives. If it is an existing drive with files, you’ll need to create some “unallocated space” before you'll be allowed to partition it. Right-click it and “shrink volume” first from the resulting drop-down menu.
3. The computer will then determine how much free space you can allocate to the new partition. Once done, click the “Shrink” button.
4. Right-click the “Unallocated” space and select “New Simple Volume” from the menu.
5. Follow the prompts instructions and select the size of the volume - the default will use all unallocated space) and the drive letter.
6. Format external hard drive Windows 10 - It’s wise to format new and old drives when creating a new partition. When given the option, select to do so. For “file system”, select “NTFS.” The “exFAT” option is more commonly used for portable devices. You can also add a volume label name if you want.
7. Continue to click through “Next” buttons and till you click “Finish” to create the volume. Your hard drive will now have a brand new disk partition Windows 10 with its very own designation. You’ll be able to see it, and all the information about it, on the Disk Management page.
Third party alternatives
There are third-party tools you can use to partition your hard drive. These are some you can use:
EaseUS partition master free
This has tools for moving and resizing partitions, wiping them clean, and altering labels and designations, EaseUS’s Partition Master Free is a great tool enjoyed by millions of users. It even comes with a “Partition Recovery Wizard,” which can help you recover lost or deleted partitions after a hard-drive failure.
Mini tool partition wizard free
Mini Tool’s partitioning application is fully featured, even in the free version, and adds the ability to convert file systems without formatting a drive and of testing the stability of your hard drive to see if there are any bad sectors.
GParted has broad support for file systems and formats and has a full suite of partitioning creation, resizing and deletion abilities. It is incredibly lightweight.
We hope that the next time someone asks if you know how to partition a hard drive, you just smile and let them know you're the computer hero they need to help them partition their drives.
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