How to Partition a Hard Drive on Windows 11
Partition and create multiple drives of a single large disk to better manage data on your Windows 11 PC.
To partition a hard drive on Windows 11, use the built-in Disk Management tool. First, shrink an existing drive to create unallocated space, then create a new drive from the unallocated space. To increase the size of an existing drive, delete an unused drive and extend the volume of another drive using the unallocated space.
Most of the time when you purchase a new computer or attach a new Hard Drive to your computer, it comes with a single partition. But, it is always a good idea to have at least 3 or more partitions of your hard drive for various reasons. The bigger the capacity of your hard drive the more partitions you can have.
In Windows, partitions of Hard Drive are referred to as Drives and generally have a letter associated with it as an indicator. You can create, shrink, resize partitions, and more. The process is very simple and uses the built-in Disk Management tool.
Why Create Partitions of a Hard Drive?
Creating partitions of a Hard Drive can be helpful in numerous ways. It is always recommended to keep the Operating System or the system files in its own separate drive or partition. In case you have to reset your computer, if you have your OS in a separate drive, all other data can be saved by just formatting the drive where the OS is installed.
Other than the aforementioned reason, installing programs and games in the same drive where your operating system is, will eventually slow down your computer. Creating partitions with labels also helps with organizing files. If your hard drive is big enough, you should create a few partitions.
How Many Disk Partitions Should You Make?
How many partitions of your hard drive you should create solely depends on the size of the hard drive you have installed on your computer. Generally, it is advised to create around 3 partitions of your hard drive. One is for your Operating System, one is for your programs such as software and games and the last one is for your files like documents or media etc.
If you have a small Hard drive, like 128GB or 256GB, then you should not make any more partitions. This is because it is recommended to have your OS in a drive with a minimum capacity of 120-150GB. On the other hand, if you are using a 500GB to 2TB Hard Drive, then make as many partitions as you need.
Partitioning a Hard Drive in Windows 11 using Disk Management app
The process of creating partitions in a hard drive is systematic and also very simple. A new hard drive will always come without any partition or Drive. Drives represent partitions of your hard drive. If you have two partitions, your computer will show two drives in the File Explorer window.
Create Unallocated Space by Shrinking the Drive
In order to successfully create a new drive or partition, first, you have to shrink an existing one to create unallocated space. The unallocated space of your Hard Drive cannot be used. It has to be assigned as a new drive to create partitions.
First, press the Windows key to pull up Windows Search and type ‘disk partitions’. Select ‘Create and format hard disk partitions’ from the search results.
This will open up the Disk Management window. This window contains information about your existing drives or partitions. The Disk 0, Disk 1 represents how many storage units, such as Hard Drives or Solid State Drives you have installed.
To shirk a Drive, first, click on the box that represents the Drive you wish to shrink. It will have the diagonal patterns inside the box which indicate you have selected the drive.
After that, right-click on it and select ‘Shirnk Volume…’.
A smaller window will appear where you can set how much you want this drive to shrink. Here you can determine how much space you wish to subtract from the selected drive. For demonstration purposes, we will put the value 100000 which is around 97.5GB and click on ‘Shrink’.
Now, 97.66 GB of unallocated space has been created. This space can now be used to create a new drive or partition.
Create a New Drive from the Unallocated Space
To turn unallocated space into a new drive, right-click on the ‘Unallocated’ box in Disk Management window and select ‘New Simple Volume…’ option from the context menu.
The ‘New Simple Volume Wizard’ window will show up. Click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
On the Specify Volume Size step, keep everything default if you wish to create a new drive from all of the unallocated space or change the volume size you want to keep some unallocated space for creating another partition. Once done, click on the ‘Next’ button.
Again click on the ‘Next’ button to progress further or if you want, you can choose any letter to the new drive by clicking on the dropdown menu.
Next, you can give the new drive any name by typing it inside the ‘Volume label’ field. Once done, click on the ‘Next’ button.
Finally, click on ‘Finish’ to create the new drive.
You will now be able to see the newly created drive or partition in the Disk Management window.
Increasing Size of a Drive by Deleting Another Drive on the Disk
If you wish to increase the size of any existing drive, you can do so by deleting an unused drive and using the unallocated space left behind by the deleted drive to extend the volume of another drive on your disk.
Note: Before you delete a partition, make sure you have moved the files it contain or you have prepared a backup.
First, launch the Disk Management app by searching for it in the Start Menu. Then, select ‘Create and format hard disk partitions’ from the search results to open .
On the Disk Management window, create unallocated space if you don’t already have it by deleting an existing drive you don’t need.
To delete a drive, right-click on it and select “Delete Volume…’ option from the context menu.
You’ll get a prompt to confirm the deletion of the drive. Click on the ‘Yes’ button to confirm.
Once the drive is deleted, you’ll see ‘Unallocated’ space available in the disk of the exact size of the drive you deleted.
To extend the size of another drive on the disk, right-click on the drive which you wish to extend and select on ‘Extend Volume’ option from the context menu.
On the ‘Extend Volume Wizard’ window. Click on ‘Next’.
The unallocated space will be automatically selected. Just click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
At last, click on the ‘Finish’ button to finalize the process.
Now, you will see that the unallocated space has been added to the selected drive and its capacity has increased.
This is how you can create new partitions of your Hard Drive or add merge two partitions into one in Windows 11.