To partition a hard drive in Windows means cutting a part of it and making that part available to the operating system. Most of the time, the “part” of the hard drive is all of the usable space, but creating multiple partitions on the hard drive is also possible.
Don’t worry if this sounds like more than you think – hard drive partitioning in Windows is not that difficult and usually only takes a few minutes to do.
Follow the steps below to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP:
How to partition hard drive in Windows 10/8/7
Note: Manually partitioning (and formatting) a hard drive is not required if your ultimate goal is to install Windows to the drive. These processes are included as part of the installation procedure, meaning you don’t need to prepare the drive yourself. See How to Clean Windows Setup for more help.
Step 1. Open Disk Management. Click the Start menu and type diskmgmt.msc in the search box and click the search result to open Disk Management. In Windows 10, you can also right-click the Start button to find Disk Management. If you get the UAC dialog box, then confirm.
Step 2. Right-click on the hard drive you want to partition and choose Shrink Volume.
As you can see in the image below, the example hard drive is 120GB, and it contains a single partition. In this example, we will split the current section into two sections without losing data. If you want to repartition the disk, you can erase the volume and create a new partition.
Step 3.Enter the amount of space to shrink and click the “Shrink” button.
As shown in the picture, the value of “ Total size before shrink in MB ” is the partition’s total size, and the value “ Size of available shrink space in MB ” means the maximum size you can shrink. Enter a value that does not exceed the available thumbnail size.
Note: In some cases, the Value in “ Size of Available Shrink Space ” may be smaller than the free space displayed in Windows Explorer. There is 60 GB of free disk space, but the available miniature size is only 30 GB, calculated by the Disk Management console. The problem is the limited open space by what and how files are distributed on the disk. For example, some files like pages and shadow copy files are considered non-movable data by Disk Management. If these non-movable files are stored in the middle of the free space, only the free space on either side is available to shrink.
Step 4. Right-click on the unallocated space and choose New Simple Volume from the context menu.
Step 5. Click the “ Next ” button on the new Simple Volume Wizard, which will guide you through creating a new simple drive on the free disk space.
Step 6. Enter a size for the new partition and click Next to continue. The value you enter should not be greater than the maximum free space. In this example, all the unallocated space is allocated for the new volume, as shown below.
Step 7. Choose a drive letter for the new drive and click Next.
Step 8. Set the format value for the partition and click Next. You can follow the default settings for the File system, Allocation unit size, and Volume label.
Step 9. Now you have successfully created a new partition. You can see the parameters you set for the section in the column. Click “ Finish ” to close the wizard.
Windows don’t allow anything but essential partition management after you create a system, but many software programs can help if you need them.
See Free Disk Partition Management Software for Windows for a list of updated reviews of these tools and more information about precisely what you can do with them.