Creating a Disk Partition

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated March 12, 2018)

Creating a disk partition can be an effective way to better utilize your disk space. A disk partition is a portion of a disk set aside for normal use and referenced by its own name. By partitioning your disk you can better control what files go where. For instance, many people have a partition that Windows uses for startup, installations, etc., and another partition for user data.

You create a partition by using the Disk Management utility. How you start the utility depends on the version of Windows you are using.

  • If you are using Windows 7, click the Start button, type "diskmgmt.msc" (without the quote marks) and press Enter.
  • If you are using Windows 8, display the WinX menu (press Win+X) and click Search. In the Search box, type "diskmgmt.msc" (without the quote marks) and press Enter.
  • If you are using Windows 10, in the Search box type "diskmgmt.msc" (without the quote marks) and press Enter.

The Disk Management dialog box looks the same regardless of the version of Windows you are using. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Disk Management dialog box.

As shown in the figure, I have two physical disks: Disk 0 (my "C:" drive) and Disk 1 (my "E:" drive). Note also that the second physical disk (Disk 1) has 48.83 GB of unallocated space. I can create a new partition for that space by right-clicking it and selecting "New Simple Volume" from the resulting Context menu. This invokes the New Simple Volume wizard. The wizard lets you set the following values for your new partition:

  • the size
  • the drive letter or path
  • the file system type
  • the volume label

After finishing the wizard, I now have a new partition on Disk 1, known as drive T:, that I can reference just like any other disk drive. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Disk Management dialog box, showing the newly partitioned hard drive.

Once you have created the partition, you will want to format it. (You cannot use a partition within Windows unless you first format it.) The easiest way to do this is within the Disk Management utility, right-click on the partition you just created and then choose Format from the resulting Context menu.

 This tip (12244) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

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