Simply put partitioning a disk means dividing the hard disk or storage device into several sections. Each section is a logical unit, which function as a separate physical device. After portioning, Windows will treat the partitions as separate volumes displayed on the File Explorer under “This PC” with a unique letter assigned to each.
Benefits of Partitioning Hard Disks
Nowadays, laptop and desktop computers come with larger disk drive. It is common to have drives as larger as TBs in size. For example, below are the available sizes of hard disk of Dell laptops indicating you can buy from 32GB to 2TB.
However, it is not a good idea to use 2TB of hard disk as a single drive on your laptop. You may need to partition the hard drive due to the following reasons.
- File/ Data Organization – Partitioning your disk allows splitting and storing data in a different location, simplifying file management in your PC. Each virtual drive will have its own file system, thus preventing corruption of the system data.
- Data Backup – In case of a system failure, you can reinstall Windows or recover from your backup without affecting the data in the other drives.
- Security – You can encrypt an entire partition that contains your sensitive data.
- Speed – You can move your frequently used and dependent data in one partition to enhance speed.
How to Partition Hard Disk in Windows 10?
Now you know the reasons to partition your drive. Next step is to understand how to create partitions of hard disk in Windows 10. You can either do this from the graphical user interface of Disk Management tool or directly from the Command Prompt.
Related: Fix hard disk errors in Windows 10.
Method 1: Partition Hard Disk Using Windows 10 Disk Management
Windows 10 has a Disk Manager, which allows users to create partition drives without having to install extra software or formatting your PC. First, you need to log into Windows with an Admin account and ensure that the drives have enough space to allow more partitions.
- Press “Win + X” keys on your keyboard or right-click the Windows Startup button and select “Disk Management”.
- The Disk Management window shows the different partitions, their capacity and free space. You can also see the different type of allocation marked with color codes with a key at the bottom of the window.
- Right-click the volume you want to partition and select “Shrink Volume…” from the context menu.
- Specify the amount of disk space you want to shrink on the pop-up that appears and then click the “Shrink” button at the bottom of the pop-up window.
- On the Disk Management window, you will now see free space (unallocated volume). Right-click the volume and choose the first option, “New Simple Volume…”.
- Click “Next” on the resulting volume creation wizard.
- Enter the size of the new volume in MBs and go to the “Next” page. If you want to allocate the entire free space, leave the maximum volume size.
- Assign the Drive a letter by clicking the arrow and selecting a letter from the available options and click next to continue.
Remember, Windows by default will install the operating system on C drive. You can choose different letters like D: or E: during installation. However, we don’t recommend this, as many programs by default will try to install on C drive. Also, when you connect external drives like USB; Windows will automatically assign the available drive letter to external drives temporarily.
- Choose your preferred formatting settings but in case you don’t understand the various options, leave the page untouched. We recommend the NTFS file system (default file system in Windows 10), which optimize space and speed of the partition.
- Also, ensure to select the “Perform a quick format” option as only after formatting the new volume that you will be able to use it.
- Confirm the details for the new volume on the summary page and if everything is correct, click the “Finish” button to exit the wizard. You may use the “Back” button to amend any incorrect settings.
- You will notice a newly created logical drive on the disk management window.
- This will also show as a separate disk on the file explorer in “This PC” section.
Method 2: Partition Hard Disk from Command Prompt
You can also partition hard drives in Windows 10 using the Command Prompt.
- Search for “cmd” and right-click the result to open in as Admin.
- Type “diskpart” and press enter to open the Windows disk-partitioning tool.
- List the drives on your PC to select the one you want to partition. Type “list disk” and hit enter key.
- Use the “sel + disk number” to select the disk and then “list partition” to see the various partitions.
- If you have no free space, you will need to shrink one of the volumes. Type “sel + partition number” to select the volume and the “shrink” specifying the desired size of the new volume.
- Now you have 20GB unallocated and you can create a new volume and assign a letter automatically as shown in the image.
- Format the new volume and for Windows to complete the formatting.
- Your new drive is now ready for use so you can exit “diskpart” and close Cmd.
Partitioning your hard drive enables you to separate your system and personal data preventing serious data loss in case of a problem in one of the disks. In Windows 10, you can use the Windows Disk Management tool or the diskpart command to create and manage partitions. Windows will assign a letter from A to Z to the partitions on your hard disk.