How to partition a hard drive or SSD into sections

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When buying a computer or when you install Windows or another OS, many users want to partition the hard drive into two or, more precisely, into several sections (for example, drive C on disk two). This procedure gives the possibility to keep separate the system files and personal data, i.e. allows you to save your files in the event of a sudden «gathering» of the system and to improve the performance of the OS by reducing the fragmentation of the system partition.

Update 2016: added new ways to share the drive (hard or SSD) in two or more, also added a video on how to partition a disk in Windows without any programs in the program AOMEI Partition Assistant. Corrected in the guide. Individual instruction: How to set up disk partitions in Windows 10.

Cm. also: How to partition the hard disk during Windows 7 installation, Windows does not see the second hard drive.

To partition the hard disk in several ways (see below). The manuals are considered and described all of these methods and discusses their advantages and disadvantages.

  • In Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and 7 — without the use of additional software, standard tools.
  • During installation of the OS (in particular, you will learn how to do it when installing XP).
  • Using the free software Minitool Partition Wizard, AOMEI Partition Assistant, as well as Acronis Disk Director.

How to partition a disk in Windows 10, 8.1 and Windows 7 without software

You can divide a hard drive or SSD in all recent versions of Windows already installed system. The only condition is that free space on disk was less than you want to allocate the second logical drive.

To do this, perform the following steps (this example will be a system drive is C):

  • Press Win+R on keyboard and type diskmgmt.msc in the Run window (Win key is the one with the Windows logo).
  • After downloading the disk management tool, right-click the mouse on the tab corresponding to your C drive (or another that you want to share) and select the menu item «Shrink volume».
  • In the window, shrink the volume, enter in the «amount of space to shrink» the size you want to allocate to the new drive (logical partition on the disk). Click «Compress».
  • Then, to the right of your drive will appear in the space «Unallocated». Click right mouse button and select «new simple volume».
  • The default for the new simple volume size is set equal to the entire Unallocated space. But you can specify less if you want to create multiple logical drives.
  • In the next step specify the letter of the generated disk.
  • Set the filesystem for the new partition (better to leave it as is) and click Next.
  • After these steps, your drive will be divided into two, and newly created will receive their letter and will be formatted with the selected filesystem. You can close «disk Management» Windows.

    Note: you may find that later you want to increase the size of the system partition. However, to do it the same way will not work due to some restrictions of the considered system utilities. You will help article How to increase C drive.

    How to divide the disk into partitions in command prompt

    To partition the hard drive or SSD into multiple partitions in «disk Management», but with the help of command prompt Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7.

    Be careful: shown in the following example will work without problems only in those cases when you have only the system partition (and maybe a couple hidden) to be divided into two partitions — system and data. In some other cases (the disk is MBR and there are already 4 sections, with a decrease of the disc, «after which» there is one disk) it can work surprisingly if you are a novice user.

    The following steps show how to split C drive into two parts in the command line.

  • Start a command prompt as administrator (how to do). Then order, enter the following commands
  • diskpart
  • list volume (the result of executing this command you should pay attention to the volume number corresponding to the disk C)
  • select volume N (where N is the number of the previous paragraph)
  • shrink desired=size (where size is the number specified in megabytes by which we will reduce the C drive to split it into two drives).
  • list disk (here note the number of the physical disk HDD or SSD which is the C partition).
  • select disk M (where M is the disk number from the previous paragraph).
  • create partition primary
  • format fs=ntfs quick
  • assign letter=salaamayaa
  • exit
  • Ready, you can now close the command prompt: in Windows Explorer you will see the newly created disk or rather partition the disk with the specified letter.

    How to partition a disk into sections in the program Minitool Partition Wizard Free

    Minitool Partition Wizard Free is a great free program that allows you to manage partitions on the disks, including to divide one partition into two or more. One of the benefits of a program that the official website is available a bootable ISO image, which you can use to create a bootable USB drive (the developers recommend to do this using Rufus) or to burn a disc.

    This allows you to easily perform actions on division drive in cases when in the running system to execute it fails.

    After download in Partition Wizard you click on the drive that you want to share, right click and select «Split» (divided).

    Further the steps are simple: configure the partition sizes, click OK, and then click «Apply» (apply) at the top left to apply your changes.

    Free download bootable ISO image Minitool Partition Wizard Free from the official site https://www.partitionwizard.com/partition-wizard-bootable-cd.html

    Video instruction

    Recorded also a video on how to partition a disk in Windows. It shows the process of creation of sections by regular means of system, as described above and using a simple, free and convenient program for these tasks.

    How to partition the disk during setup, Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7

    The advantages of this method include its simplicity and convenience. The split will take relatively little time, and the process is very visual. The main drawback is to apply the method only when installing or reinstalling the operating system, which in itself is not very convenient, besides there is no editing of partitions and their sizes without formatting HDD (for example, in the case when out of space of the system partition and the user wants to add some space from another hard disk partition). In more detail the partitioning on the disk when you install Windows 10 described in the article Install Windows 10 from USB drive.

    If these shortcomings are not critical, consider the process of the disk partitioning during the OS installation. This statement is entirely applicable when you install Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7.

  • After you run the setup loader will prompt you to select the partition on which OS is installed. In this menu you can create, edit, and delete hard disk partitions. If the hard drive is not broke, will be offered one section. If broken – need to remove those sections whose volume you want to reallocate. In order to configure the partitions on your hard disk, click the corresponding link at the bottom of their list is «drive options».
  • In order to remove partitions on hard drive, use the corresponding button (link)
  • Attention! Deleting partitions will delete all data on them are.

  • After that, create a system partition by pressing «Create». In the resulting window, enter a partition size (in megabytes) and click «Apply».
  • The system will offer to allocate some space for the backup area, confirm the request.
  • Similarly, create the desired number of partitions.
  • Next, select the partition that will be used to Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7 and click «Next». After this, continue installation as usual.
  • Splitting a hard disk while installing Windows XP

    During the development of Windows XP was not created by an intuitive graphical interface. But even if management happens via console, hard disk partition when you install Windows XP is as simple as when installing any other operating system.

    Step 1. Delete existing partitions.

    To reallocate the drive during the definition of the system partition. You want to split the section into two. Unfortunately, Windows XP does not allow this operation without formatting the hard drive. So the sequence of actions is the following:

  • Allocate the partition;
  • Press «D» and confirm the delete the partition by pressing «L». If you delete the system partition You will also be asked confirm the action using the Enter button;
  • Section is deleted and You get an Unallocated area.
  • Step 2. Creating new sections.

    Now need unpartitioned space to create the desired hard disk partitions. This is done quite simply:

  • Press button «C»;
  • In the window that appears, enter the appropriate partition size (in megabytes) and press Enter;
  • After this new section will be created and You will return to the definition of the system drive. Similarly create required number of partitions.
  • Step 3. Define the format of the file system.

    After the partitions are created, select the partition which needs to be systematic and press Enter. You will be prompted to choose the file system format. The FAT format is more outdated. With him You will have no problems with compatibility, such as Windows 9.x, however due to the fact that systems older than XP today – a rarity, this advantage does not play a role. If besides to consider that NTFS is faster and more reliable, allows to work with files of any size (FAT – up to 4Gb), the choice is obvious. Choose the desired format and press Enter.

    Then the installation will go in a standard mode – after formatting a partition on it will start the installation of the system. You will only need to enter the custom settings at the end of setup (computer name, date and time, time zone, etc.). Typically, this is done in a graphical mode, so the difficulty is not.

    Free program AOMEI Partition Assistant

    AOMEI Partition Assistant is one of the best free programs to change the structure of partitions on the disk, migrate system from HDD to SSD and, in particular, it can help to divide the disk into two or more. At the same time, the program interface is in Russian language, unlike other similar good product — MiniTool Partition Wizard.

    Note: despite the fact that the program claimed to support Windows 10 I have in this system it does not fulfil the split for some reason, but no failures occurred (I think by July 29, 2015 must correct). In Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 works without problems.

    After launching AOMEI Partition Assistant, in main window you will see connected hard drives and SSD, and partitions on them.

    To partition a disk, click right mouse button (in my case C), and select the menu item «Split partition».

    In the next step you will need to specify the size of the new partition — this can be done by typing the number or moving the divider between the two disks.

    After you click OK, the program will display that the disk is already divided. Actually, that’s not so — to apply the changes, click «Apply». After that you can be alerted to the fact that the computer will reboot to complete the operation.

    And after reboot in Explorer you can see the result of the separation discs.

    Other programs to create partitions on a hard disk

    For partitioning a hard disk there are many different. It’s as commercial products, e.g. from Acronis or Paragon, and propagating along the free license of Partition Magic, MiniTool Partition Wizard. Will analyze the hard disk using one of them is Acronis Disk Director.

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  • Download and install the program. When you first start you are prompted to select the mode. Choose «Manual» – it is more customizable and works more flexibly than «Automatic»
  • In the opened window select the partition you want to split, click it, right click and select «Split volume»
  • Set the size of the new partition. It will be deducted from that volume, which is broken. After setting the volume, click «OK»
  • However, that’s not all. We only simulated scheme of the disk partitioning to translate the plan into reality, you need to confirm the operation. To do this, click «Apply pending operations». Will start creating new partition.
  • You will receive a message prompting you to restart the computer. Click OK, then computer will reboot and will create a new partition.
  • How to partition the hard drive in MacOS X regular means

    You can perform a breakdown of a hard disk without reinstalling the operating system and without additional software on your computer. In Windows Vista and higher utility disk built into the system, it is also the case in Linux and in MacOS.

    To perform the partitioning in Mac OS, do the following:

  • Run Disk utility (to do this, select «Programs»— «utilities»— «Disk utility») or find it using Spotlight search
  • On the left, select the disk (not a partition, namely a disk) to be divided into partitions, click partition at the top.
  • Under the volume list, click the + button and specify the name, file system and the volume of the new partition. Then confirm by pressing the «Apply» button.
  • Then, after a short (at least for SSD) of the process of creating a new partition, it will be created and accessible in the Finder.

    I hope this information is helpful and if something is not working as expected or you have any questions, you leave a comment.