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How to Partition a Hard disk drive or SSD

Organize today, succeed tomorrow.    

Christina Scalise

Do you know? By partitioning a hard disk drive, you can organize files, folders, applications on a computer or laptop. Hard drive partitioning allows you to install multiple Operating Systems. Often a new laptop or PC comes with a single partition. And most of the time, individuals do not have any idea about “How to a partition a hard disk drive?“.

You must partition a new hard disk drive to store data. You can partition a hard disk drive or SSD by using some partitioning software. There is another easy way to partition your HDD or SSD during the operating system installation.

What is a hard disk drive partition?

A hard disk is a physical disk and partition of the hard disk drive is a logical section of HDD.

The hard disk partition is a volume or a region on the HDD. Computer operating systems use partitions to store data.

Partitioning a hard disk drive is a process of dividing a hard drive into some volumes. In Windows OS, you notice these partitions as Local Disk (C), Local Disk (D), so on.

Types of partition in PC (MBR partition scheme)

There are two different types of partitions used on a computer. They are

  1. Primary partition: Primary partition is a special purpose partition. You can use this partition to install the operating system. You can create a maximum of 4 primary partitions on your HDD.
  2. Extended partition: You can create only one extended partition on a computer HDD. However, you can subdivide it into multiple partitions. These multiple partitions are known as Logical partitions.

What would happen if you do not partition HDD?

My best friend asked, “Is it possible to store data if you do not partition an HDD or SSD?”.

I answered him, “no. You can’t”. My friend’s question has similarities to the above question.

Generally, in a raw or new Hard disk drive, you cannot store data directly. You must perform partition of your HDD first. Such that you can store information or data inside it.

Hence, if you do not partition your HDD or SSD, then you cannot use them on your computer to store data.

Why should you partition a hard disk drive?

This answer is straightforward. You should partition your hard drive to store information.

If you have partitioned an HDD or SSD, now that drive is capable of storing data. After partitioning, you need to format the partition with a file system.

There are different advantages of partitioning a hard disk drive on a computer. I have listed some main points about disk partitioning. The list will help you to understand the importance of disk partition.

Partition Disk
Fig: Disk partitions
  1. The arrangement is easier: Partition helps to organize files, folders, and applications on a PC. In multiple partitions, you can organize your documents, multimedia files, and your gaming software with ease. Whereas, in a single partition, it is a little tough to make arrangements. You can check the above picture to understand this point.
  2. Supports Multiple OS: This is the primary advantage of having multiple partitions on a laptop or computer. You can install more than two operating systems on your PC. Assume your main windows OS installed in local disk C and the secondary OS installed on the drive local disk D. However, a single partition with multiple OS causes misconfiguration of your system file. And, because of this, sometimes your system crashes.
  3. Increases Speed: Partitions speed up the data access performance of your computer.  Partitions decrease the read/write head movements of HDD to access data. Thus, it takes less time to read data from the hard drive and computer performance increase.
  4. Easy Backup: This is another useful advantage of a disk partition. Partitions help to back up your data fast. It takes longer to back up the entire hard drive. It is much easier to back up individual partitions instead of back up the whole HDD.
  5. Reduce data lost: Multiple partitions can protect your data. You can install OS in one partition and the other partition you can use to store your data. If there is a system failure and you need to format the OS partition drive, then still your data are untouched. Here you are dealing only with your OS partition drive.
  6. Provides Security: In modern days, data security is much more important than others. Multiple partitions help you to secure your data. In Windows OS, you can encrypt your partition to protect your information.

How to partition a Hard Disk drive or SSD step by step methods

It is not a stiff process to partition a hard disk drive. You must create more than one partition on your hard disk drive. And, if you don’t perform partitioning correctly, it can reduce your pc performance.

There are two different scenarios to create a new partition on a hard drive.

  1. Scenario-1:  Your hard disk drive is new. There is not a single partition on your HDD.
  2. Scenario-2: Your hard drive has a disk partition.

Note: Here, I am using Windows OS to partition a hard disk drive.

Scenario-1 (No partition on your Hard Drive)

It is the first time you will partition your disk drive. To create a partition on your hard disk drive, you need to start the operating system installation process on your computer. Follow the steps below to make drive partitions:

  1. Initiate the Windows Operating system installation procedure. If you have interested, you can check “Windows 7 Installation Steps” or “Windows 10 installation steps”.
  2. When you see the text “Press any key to boot from CD/DVD..” on the monitor screen, then press a key from the keyboard.
  3. Press enter to choose Windows setup. Once the windows are loaded, you will see a new window.
  4.   From the window, select your preferred ‘Language to install’, ‘Time and currency format’ and, ‘keyboard or input method’.  Click Next.
  5. Now click on “Install now”.
  6. Accept License terms by clicking the checkbox. Click “Next”.
  7. Click on the “Custom (Advanced)” type of installation.
  8. Now click “Drive options (advanced)”.
  9. Select “Disk 0 Unallocated Space”. Then enter your drive partition size in MB (e.g for 100GB=102400MB). Click on “Apply” and press on “Ok”.
Unallocated space
Hard drive without partition

You have created your first partition, which is a primary partition. You can install OS on this partition. If you need more than one primary partition, you can repeat the step 9 process. This way, you can create multiple partitions on your drive.

Scenario-2 (Your Hard Drive has partition)

First partition
Hard drive’s First partition

If there is a partition on your drive, then these methods will help you to create a new partition.

Method-1 (Using Unallocated space)

This method is not a hard one. You can create new partitions from the unallocated space. You can use the following steps to create a new partition drive.

Computer management
Computer Management
  1. Search “Computer management” on the windows search bar and click on “Computer Management”.  You can also open from the Control panel->Administrative Tools->Computer Management.
  2. From the ‘Computer Management’ window, click on ‘Storage’.
  3. Now click on ‘Disk Management’.
  4. Find the “unallocated space” on the “Computer Management” window and select it.
  5. Now right click on ‘New Simple Volume’. You will have a new window, ‘New Simple Volume Wizard‘.
  6. From the new window click on Next.
  7. Now enter the partition volume size in MB. This the storage size capacities of your partition drive. Click on “Next”.
  8. Choose the drive letter and click “`Next”.
  9. Now select your format partition options and click Next.
  10. Finally, click on “Finish” to create your new partition.

With the help of the above method, you can create multiple logical partitions. These new drive partitions can use for any purpose on your computer. Nonetheless, you cannot use these partitions (logical partitions) to install the Operating System.

Method-2 (Using Shrink)

You can use this method if you cannot find any unallocated space on your drive. If there is a single partition on your hard drive, you can create a new partition from that partition. By using the Shrink Volume option, you can do that. Let us practice to create a new partition using Shrink Volume. Remember, you must need enough space on your partition drive so that you can shrink it.

Shrink volume partition
Shrink volume to partition disk
  1. Follow the step no. 1, 2, 3 from the Method-1(Using Unallocated space).
  2. Select the partition from where you want to create a new partition.
  3. Right-click on the partition and click on Shrink Volume.
  4. A new window appears named ‘Shrink <drive letter>'(Example: if it is Local Disk(C) then the name is ‘Shrink C‘).
  5. Enter the amount of space in MB i.e, the size of the new partition. The size of the new partition must be less than the size of the original partition.
  6. Click on “Shrink”.
  7. Now you will see a new block of “Unallocated Space”.
  8. Now follow step 5 to step 10 from the Method-1(Using Unallocated space).

Method -3 (using third party software)

To partition a hard disk drive, you can use some third party application software. There are various third-party software applications on the market. You can also search on the internet to get these applications.

My suggestion for you, use windows partitioning tools to partition a hard disk drive. If it is not necessary, do not use other software applications.


Sometimes, partitioning a hard disk drive is not the best technique for computers. It creates some unnecessary problems on your computer. Hence, I suggest you perform a backup of the hard disk drive before you start to partition a hard disk drive. For the most part, it is good practice to create a backup while you use Shrink method to partition a hard disk drive.

Another small tip for you, don’t forget to format your partitions with a proper file system. In general, for Windows OS, you can use NTFS file system to format your partition drives.