When you purchase a laptop/ desktop PC the hard drive within will always feature a partitioned hard drive. This partition will usually give you access to the full capacity of the hard drive.
However, it is possible to section off parts of the hard drive should you wish to separate documents and data or even install a new operating system.
Partitions are usually labelled C:, D:, E: and so on. If you’re looking to partition your hard drive we’d advise you to make a full image backup of the entire drive, we wouldn’t want you losing all of your data during the partition.
Step One – Check The Space On Your Drive
Once you’ve made the back up, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough room on the existing partition for a new one. If you haven’t, it might be worth having a look through your computer to see what you don’t use any more, old applications, duplicate photos and duplicate files will often take up a lot of space on your hard drive. Maybe even empty your recycle bin, some users rarely do this and find that there is a lot of data left in there.
To see how much space you’ve got on your hard drive, go to the ‘Taskbar’ and select ‘Computer’ from the left-hand menu.
To create a new partition, the drive you’re currently using needs to be large enough to hold all your data.
Step Two – Moving Data
If you don’t have enough free space to partition your drive, we’d recommend that you move some of your files to an external drive.
Typically, movies, music, photos and documents take up lots of space so we’d advise you to move these over.
Step Three – Disk Management
Accessing disk management all depends on your operating system. For Windows 8 & 10, press [Windows Key] and [X] from the Quick Access menu. Windows 7 and Vista users, you’ll have to click ‘Start’, select ‘Run’ and type diskmgmt.msc into the dialog box.
When Disk Management is open, right click on the drive you wish to partition and choose the ‘Shrink Volume’ option.
Step Four – Shrinking Your Drive
Once you’ve clicked ‘Shrink Volume’ you’ll be greeted by a window that will show you the maximum size that your main partition can be shrunk by. If this is ok, click ‘Shrink’, if it’s too large then make sure you specify the figure in MB.
Average users will need around 50GB in total (51,200MB).
Step Five – Creating The New Partition
Once Windows has shrunk the drive you’ll see a new unallocated partition next to the previous drive in Disk Management, this is your new partition. To set up, right-click the empty space and choose ‘New Simple Volume…’, to get the ball rolling, click ‘next’ on the ‘New Simple Volume’ wizard.
Step Six – Set Up Data Partition
When you’re asked to specify the volume size, leave the default figure along and click ‘Next’. If you’d like to give the next partition a drive letter then simply click ‘Do not assign a drive letter of drive path’ for now and click ‘Next’. Give the volume a suitable label such as ‘Data’, leave the other options as they appear and finally click ‘Next, followed by ‘Finish’.
Step Seven – Changing the Drive Letter
Find the drive that’s been allocated the D: drive letter, then right click it and choose the ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths…’ option. click ‘Change’ to pick and new drive letter (such as ‘Z’) and click ‘OK’ followed by ‘Yes’. Now right-click your new data partition and select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths…’ when you’re done. Finally, click ‘Add’, select drive D: and click ‘OK’.
Step Eight – Move Documents Folder
Open a folder window and browse to C:\Users\Yourusername. Right-click the ‘Documents’ folder and choose ‘Properties’. Switch to the Location tab and click ‘Move’. Open your new drive and create a new folder with your username. Create another folder inside it called ‘Documents’. With this folder selected, click ‘Select Folder’, then choose ‘OK’, followed by ‘Yes’.
Step Nine – Move Other Folders
Once the files have been moved to your data partition, repeat the same process for all the other user folders you need: typically Desktop, Downloads, Pictures, Music and Videos, but you might also consider using Contacts, Favourites and Saved Games, too. Once done, transfer back any files you moved to your external drive into the relevant folders on your data partition.
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