How to: Partition your hard drive

Is it possible to install multiple operating systems on your computer without losing your current one?

Yes, it’s possible. Partitioning your hard drive can be useful if you plan on installing multiple operating systems on a single hard drive or storing user files and documents separate from the operating system partition.

Screenshot was taken last May 10, 2011.

In this article, let’s focus on the operating system’s built-in partitioning software. Doing the following process will not cause any data loss.

UPDATE: This article is only applicable to Windows  7 and Vista operating systems. shrink feature is not applicable to XP systems. You can get a free partitioning software from the internet for your XP machine.

To partition your hard drive,

  1. Right click the Computer icon on your desktop or start menu.
  2. Choose Manage.
  3. You might be prompted for administrator privileges. Confirm or enter your password to continue.
  4. On the left sidebar, choose Disk Management then wait for the virtual disk service to load.
  5. You will see a list of your drives on top as well blue-labeled drives on the bottom.
  6. Right click on the drive you want to partition then select Shrink.
  7. The system will assess the free space available for the new partition. It is recommended to defragment first your hard disk to increase the available shrink space.

8. Enter the amount of space to be allocated for new partition/s in MB. You are limited by predefined value in the text bar. For example, if you have a 100 GB Drive C: and you wanted to split it into 3 partitions (40GB for current operating system and another two partitions, 30 GB per partition), enter 60000 MB for that.

9. When done, click Shrink. You will see unallocated space in black label. This is the space where you can create partitions.

To create second disk volume or partition,

1. Right click on the unallocated space.

2. Select New Simple Volume.

3. Specify the size of the new partition. In the example above, enter 30000 MB out of 60000MB. Select NTFS file format if you prefer on installing new operating system on that drive. Choose Quick Format if you want the process fast. Selecting this option or not will not make a huge difference. You may enter the Volume name. E.g. New Software

4. Click Next to review format selections.

5. When done, click the Format button.

To create the third partition,

1. Right click the remaining unallocated space.

2. Select New Simple Volume.

3. You may keep the predefined size of the last partition. This step is similar to the step above.

4. When done, click the Format button.

You can have as many partitions as you like but you are limited to 3 primary partitions. The first one is reserved for System volume as well as recovery volume. The second is for the operating system. Partitions made beyond the third partition will belong to the logical drive category. You still can install an operating system on a logical drive.


About cloudygearz

listens to music, is now on cloud computing, writes blog articles, designs something new and awesome, and dreams to have a worthwhile vacation

Posted on April 26, 2011, in Tech Stuff, Tips and Tricks, Troubleshooting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Shrink won’t show up in XP.

  2. I have updated the article. Thanks for sending this in.

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