What is Partitioning a Hard Drive: And Why Would I Need To


What is a Partition?

Before we discuss what is partitioning a hard drive,What is partitioning a hard drive let’s take a look at just what is a partition. Partition is a reference to your hard drive; it is a section of that hard drive separated by other sections, so it’s like having more than one drive.  You will find them labeled Drive C: D: E: and so on.  If your hard drive is large enough you can have several partitions allowing you to manage you files anyway you want, making your life easier and allowing your hard drive to operate more efficient.

So partitioning a hard drive is when you make one or more partitions of your hard drive, so you can keep your files and Operating system separate from each other in different sections on the drive

Why Should I Partition my Hard Drive?

There are a few of reasons to partition your hard drive; first off it is going to make your life much easier when working or playing on your computer, second it will help prevent loss of data due to your Operating System becoming corrupt from a number or things, like intrusion from a hacker, or some malware that got into your system, and so on. This is done by keeping your Operating system files separate from your data files; this is also going to make it easier and faster to backup your Data files, because you won’t be backing up the entire system files along with your data files.

Better overall performance

Having your files located in smaller chunks of data on your drive will allow the drive to operate more efficiently by cutting down the back and forth of the reading heads. If the reading heads only have to look in a relatively  small chunk of data it will processes the information faster, and  that’s  just what we want, a faster machine.

Your Data is more secure:

This is always a plus, keeping your data secure, and you do this by keeping your Operating System and software separate from your data filesWhat is partitioning a hard drive (documents, music, photos, and so on)   So if your operating system ever becomes corrupt (which does happen) all you have to do is reformat the partition your Operating system resided on and reload it from your System Disk (that you kept in a safe place) along with your programs. Doing this will not affect any other partitions that contain any of your data files, saving time and headaches.

Are you thinking, well why should I bother doing all that when I backup my data files regularly?  Well like I have mentioned over and over again in other articles, you can never have enough backups made.

Organizing your Data is easier

You can have as many partition that you want (as long as you have the space on your drive) allowing you to have one just for your photos, another for documents, one just for your games, and of course  one for your Operating System with your programs. So when you go to look for something like a specific document, all you have to do is go to that partition (which will be listed as D:,E:,F: or something similar) and you won’t have to look through a whole drive with a long list of files, just to find what you’re looking for.

I myself like to have one partition for my Operating System and programs, another for my documents, photos, music, and then another one for an emergency recover image of my operating system and programs. (I have covered how that’s done here on this page How to Image a Hard Drive) This way if the operating system ever becomes corrupt (like when I screw around with the system and do something I’m not supposed to) all I have to do is reload the image file (of the operating system and programs) from its separate partition, this way my data files and other things won’t be touched or damage in the process. A lot less trouble and time, than having to load everything back on to your drive.

Running more than one Operating System:

This is for those that need or like to have more than one Operating system to work or play from. So by having a separate partition for each Operating system and their own data files it will keep the files separate from each other, it will be like having two separate computers in one. So if this is something you want to do then by all means you will have to have more than one partition to work with.


How to go about partitioning your hard drive:

What is partitioning a hard drive

First Screen

First off take a moment and make sure your data is backed up, (nothing should get damaged while doing this, but you can never be too careful when it comes to your data files).

What is partitioning a hard drive

Next Screen

Once that is done open up your Control Panel, (you can find this by entering control panel in your search bar), then find administrative tools and click on that, from there double click on computer management, on the next screen look for Disk management under the Storage heading on the left hand side, click that.

Here you have a Disk management screen showing you a list of your drives and any partitions that you might have. To create your new partition choose the disk that has enough free space to allow for this, and right click,What is partitioning a hard drive you are now going to shrink the size of this one to free up space for your new partition, in the pop-up screen enter the size that you want your new partition to be (something like 128855MB which would be 128.8GB of space).

The default amount showing is the maximum amount it will allow you to shrink the drive. So when you’re ready click on Shrink volume, when it has finished you will be brought back to the Disk management screen, here you want to select the new unallocated drive, right click, select New Simple Volume and follow the wizard. Congratulations you have now partitioned your drive, so pat yourself on the back for a well done job, and if you want more partitions just repeat the steps above.

There is one fall back in using the Disk Management utility and that is it may not allow you to shrink the drive as much as you want to (example your drive has 32GB of free space but will only allow you to shrink it by 20GB. So if you want you can use third-party software that will perform the process of Partition your drive to whatever size that you want. Here is a free one that I have used and is simple and is easy to follow (AOMEI Partition Assistant), free and awesome.

I have mentioned this before in other articles here but it is worth mentioning it again, when downloading third party software always choose the custom install so you can opt out of any unwanted crap that they want to shove on you.


There you have it, now you know what is partitioning a hard drive is all about, along with knowing how it will benefit your computing experience. You have a better idea of how to manage your data in ways to make life simpler when working or playing on the computer, and best of all, you know how to go about doing it all yourself, free of charge.

Thank you for stopping by and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate in leaving them in the comment section below. Before you go, for your entertainment  I have a video here on How To Partition a Hard Drive, hope you enjoy it.


Don’t forget to have a wonderful day working on your computer. 🙂

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join others others who are recieving there weekly newsletter with the latest Tips & Solutions to EveryDay Home Computing
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

About Author

Hello, my name is Kim and I am the owner of this site. I have been working with computers since they first became available to the public.I have built several computers over the years and enjoy helping others with their everyday computing. Should you have any questions about using your computer, or any other device, please leave me a note below in the comment section and I will be more than happy to help you out. Come back often for more tips and solutions to your every day computing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *