Due to Windows being one of the most popular Operating Systems in the market, we are all known to the terms ‘Local Disk C’, ‘Local Disk D’, and so on. But what if you wanted to add any such drive of your own choice to your PC to organize your data much better and make it easier for you to access files? The process of doing so is partitioning your Hard Drive.
Partitioning your Hard Drive gives you the power to create several independent systems within the same hardware of your PC. It also offers the advantage of organizing your data efficiently.
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Should you partition your hard drive/disk?
Have you been thinking of partitioning your drive on Windows 11? Here are some reasons as to why you should and should not do it.
Why should you partition your hard drive?
As mentioned earlier, there are many benefits to partitioning your hard drive. By doing so, you can allocate different spaces to different data. This will especially come in handy if you use your PC to work often and contain specific essential files.
Partitioning your drive and creating a special disk for your valuables can also reduce their risk of getting corrupted. If you organize your data well and store your most-used files together, it can result in an increased performance of your system, and it becomes easier for the system to fetch files.
Note: This will also minimize the risk of spreading computer viruses as well.
Why should you NOT partition your hard drive?
If you are not well equipped with the entire process of partitioning your hard drive, there is a fair chance that you might end up making some mistakes during the process as it is not an easy task.
Incorrect partitioning can also lead to a reduction in the memory in use. Since much of your data would be present in different disks now, this can lead to reduced performance if you’re fetching data from different drives simultaneously.
Also, since space would be divided amongst different drives and each drives functions independently of the other, this might hinder you from utilizing the full potential of your device’s memory. E.g., you might have 12GB of free space and are downloading a 5GB file, but because your memory is now split into different drives, each drive might have 4GB worth of free space which will not allow you to download the file.
How to partition a hard drive in Windows?
If you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of partitioning your drive, it is now time to learn how to do it finally. The best way to imagine this whole process is to see it in terms of physical objects. Imagine that you are a teacher who has distributed a chocolate (memory) to three students (drives) named C, D, and E.
Now, a new student arrives and you need to give him some as well. You can take more chocolate (or memory in case of computers) from one student (drive), or take in an equal amount from the others, whatever suits your needs the best. This is how the whole process of partition works. Your memory is one unit that you can divide into several parts to cater to your needs.
Partitioning a hard drive in Windows 11 using Disk Management
Before following these steps, know that you only need to follow the first three steps if you do not have any unallocated space on your computer. In case you do not have unallocated space or are unsure, begin following from the first step.
Step 1: You can either click on the Start Button and select “Disk Management” or click the search button on your taskbar and search for it.
Step 2: Since your device’s storage has already been divided into several parts as per the number of drives it currently has, and you will need to unload some memory from the drives that are currently in use to free up some space that will be used by the new drive that you will create.
Now to do this, right-click on the Hard-Disk partition that you want to shrink. This means that in case you want to free memory from your D drive, you need right click on the respective drive and select the option “Shrink Volume”. You need to remember that doing this will take away the specified space out of the chosen drive.
Step 3: Now, you need to choose the amount of space you want to free for your new drive. You will need to specify the size of this in MB. E.g., if you are planning to have a drive of 5000 MB, you need to put the number in the box. Now click on the button that says “Shrink”.
Remember that doing so will take away the space from your specified drive from whom you’re taking out the space.
Step 4: Once the process is complete, you will be able to see unallocated space on the hard disk. Right-click there, and a pop-up window will open up. Choose the option that says “New Simple Volume”. Select the option “Next”.
Step 5: In this step, you need to specify the size of the drive that you want to create. E.g., if you want your new drive to have 3000MB worth of space, you need to enter that value. Now go on to the next option.
Step 6: You need to give your drive a letter as well. You can either roll with the default letter as assigned by the system, or you can choose one of your own choices as well.
Step 7: In the next window, select the option that says ‘Format this volume with the following settings’ and choose the settings as
- File system: NTFS
- Allocation Unit Size: Default
- Volume label: New Volume
Step 8: You can finally click on the finish button, and this will conclude the process. You can now check out your new drive to see if it is working smoothly and start enjoying its benefits.
Partitioning a hard drive in Windows 11 using a third-party apps
If you don’t want to go through the long process of the default management system, then we have the 3rd-party partition manager solutions for you. EaseUS Partition Master Pro is a great tool that can help you easily partition your drive and resize it for another drive.
EaseUS Partition Master Pro also has some other tools, such as a Clone function that can clone your drive or the Merge tool to help you merge different partitions. It can also help you convert MBR to GPT format and a migrate OS tool that can help you make a copy of your current OS on another drive.
However, it is primarily used to partition and resize drives, and you can do that by:
All you need to do is install the app and run it. Once it scans your drive, click on the “Resize/Move” tool on the right panel.
After that, select your disk partition and adjust it with the slider, as shown in the screenshot above. Finally, click on the “OK” button and wait for the process to complete.
Once the process is completed, your drive size will be adjusted, and you’ll see the new drive on your system.
How to format a hard drive in Windows 11?
One might want to format their hard drive for various reasons. Formatting can be used to remove viruses that seem to be affecting your files in the drive, or maybe you just want to protect your personal data from being accessed by someone else by chance.
An important thing to remember here is that formatting will remove all the files on your hard drive; hence, it is recommended that you back up any important data in that drive because once it’s lost, you will never be able to retrieve it again. The process of formatting is simple and easy:
- Open the drive location and right-click on the drive that you want to format
- You should be able to see a drop-down menu now. Choose the option that says ‘format’ there
- Fill in the necessary details in the dialogue box and click on the Start button
With this, the formatting process will begin, and it may take up to a few minutes to finish.
How do I allocate unallocated space to an existing hard drive?
As you use your PC over time, your memory space would likely start filling up quickly in no time. To counter this, you might want to add some of the allocated space to an existing hard drive in your computer.
The process to do so is very similar to allocating space to a new drive that you want to create.
- Click on the start or search button and head to “Disk Management”.
- Now, all you need to do is right-click on the partition whose memory you wish to extend, and a drop-down menu will appear. From that menu, choose the “Extend Volume” option.
- You will now need to follow the procedure similar to as explained above, specifying the space to add and giving in some other requirements.
- Once you’re done with it, just click on “Finish”, and your specified amount will have increased your drive volume.
How many disk partitions should I make?
The partitions on Windows depend on your drive. If it is formatted in GPT, then you can create a maximum of 128 partitions. However, if it is an MBR drive, you can only have 4 primary partitions with any number of logical partitions for storage.
So, while there is no set limit to the partitions you should create, keeping the partitions to a minimum is generally advised. This is due to the reason of keeping everything organized and easy to be accessed.
You can follow the guide above to get a complete guide on how you can partition your drive on Windows 10 and 11. However, make sure to stick to the basics and use a maximum of 4 partitions for easier and quicker management.
Why can’t I extend my C drive?
After right-clicking on the drive, if the option to extend your C Drive seems to be grayed out and you’re unable to select it, it is probably due to no allocated space being present in your PC. If this happens to be the case, you will not be able to partition your drive either. To fix this issue, you can follow the same procedure that you would’ve followed while trying to partition a Drive-by extracting space from other available drives. Hence the steps would be –
- Go to the search button and open Disk Management.
- Right Click on the drive from whom you want to free the space from
- Fill in the specifications required in the pop-up window
- Click on Finish
After doing so, you should probably have enough space to extend your current drives or create a new one altogether. You can then follow the regular process that you would’ve otherwise followed to increase the space of a drive on your device.
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Just like everything else, partitioning your hard drive will have its pros and cons. When done correctly, it can improve your PC’s performance, but when done incorrectly, it can also hamper the efficiency of your machine. You can make the best out of it by researching well and thinking it through.
After all, computers are machines that will simply follow what you ask them to do, so it is in your hands how you choose to command them upon how they utilize their memory space.
Most importantly, make sure you follow the procedure correctly to avoid any issues that may come up due to mishandling. We hope that those steps were enough to guide you through partitioning a hard drive, and now you will be able to make the most of the features that Windows 11 has to offer because of better space management.