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When and How to Use a Hard Drive Partition

when and how to use a hard drive partition


Most PC and laptop users want an organized setup with their files, folders, and software placed in a specified space. That is where a hard drive partition is functional. You can make several partitions on your hard drive and build an organized setup.

What Is a Partition?

Before moving on to when and how to partition a hard drive, let’s figure out ‘partition’, a critical term, we will use throughout the text. Partition is a separate section on a hard drive disk available to the operating system.

It simply means dividing your hard drive into one or several parts. And it is essential to make partitions of your hard drive to restore files on it and reformat your PC before using it.

A hard drive disk is only valuable for your PC’s operating system when you make a partition in it to develop further understanding.

Partitioning the hard drive sometimes helps the system run efficiently. It makes the operating system treat all the partitions as a different drive, but when does it become necessary to partition your hard drive disk? Is it indispensable, and are there potential issues to be worried about? Let us discuss.

When Should You Partition a Hard Drive?

When you install a standard Windows, it generally has a single partition containing all your data, important files, installed programs, etc.

Some PCs and laptops might also have a small secondary partition for recovery purposes. It is separate from the primary section. Even if your Windows installation becomes corrupted, you can still get access to your data.

But keeping all the data in one place can be extremely risky, and you could end up losing all the data with a solitary hard drive partition. Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of using a hard drive partition and see where we stand in our discussion of when to partition a hard drive.

Pros of Partitioning a Hard Drive

There are several good reasons to partition your hard drive. Let us look at them one by one.

  • It Makes Windows Reinstallation Much Easier: You should keep the system files of Windows separate from your user data containing personal files, movies, games, etc. It makes it easier to perform Windows operations.
  • An Organized Setup: Maybe you’re an organized person who loves to put everything in a specific place. A single partition makes the organization of data difficult. Partitioning lets you create several data types like games, studies, movies, music, etc.
  • Simpler Backups: It is essential to keep backing up your data. While putting files on a separate partition isn’t an actual backup, it can make your backup scheme much simpler. Like with your Windows installation, you can clone the entire partition to have an exact copy of its data. You can point to your backup app to protect the whole drive instead of picking and choosing individual folders for a more straightforward approach.
  • Multiple Operating Systems and Improved Security: Partitioning allows you to install multiple operating systems. It can keep your drive safe from malware attacks. And even if your operating systems get infected by malware, the personal files in the other partition will remain potentially unharmed. You can easily reinstall Windows again.

Cons of Partitioning a Hard Drive

On the flip side, there are multiple things you should know about that have an adverse effect.

  • False Sense of Security: You can get in trouble with a data loss disaster if you are not careful with multiple partitions. There can be any reason that can lead to it, like a sudden hard drive failure.
  • Wasted Space of the Hard Drive: You do not necessarily have to worry about the disk space that much apart from storing all the files in one partition of the hard drive. But with at least 2-3 partitions, you might be cramped for leeway on one partition but have plenty of free space on another. A new update of the operating system can take up a lot of space, leaving your device cramped for room.
  • Complexity and Chances for Errors: If you decide to make more than three to four partitions, it won’t be easy to keep them straight, and you can lose track. You can merge the partitions, but having too many hard drive partitions will potentially destroy the organized setup you were aiming to build.

So these were some of the pros and cons of using a partition(s) in your hard drive. Next, we will see how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10.

How to Partition a Hard Drive

There are situations where you have to partition a hard drive. Whether you bought a new hard drive or you want to change current disk volumes, you need an answer on how to partition an external hard drive or the existing one.

There are a few ways that we will cover in this article:

  1. Windows Disk Management
  2. EaseUS Parition Master Free
  3. Mini Tool Partition Wizard Free
  4. GParted

Method 01 – Using Windows Disk Management

It is a more straightforward method to partition your hard drive. Windows disk management is a built-in utility tool that comes with the version of your Windows OS. You can partition your new hard drive as well as the older one with it. Follow the below steps to partition your hard drive:

Step 01: Click on the search box in the taskbar of Windows and type “disk management.”
disk partition 1
Step 02: Locate the hard drive that you want to partition from the Disk Management interface screen. Before creating the partition on the hard drive that has files on it, make some unallocated free space. After that, right-click and click Shrink Volume from the drop-down menu.

NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS STEP FOR A NEW DRIVE. FOR THAT, SKIP TO STEP 04
disk partition 2
Step 03: Now, your OS will calculate the unallocated free space you can make. You can free the space yourself by entering a specific bit-size or click on the Shrink button and free up all of it automatically.

After clicking the Shrink button, your system may take a while before creating the free space.
disk partition 3
Step 04: Right-click on the unallocated space. After that, Select New Simple Volume from the menu.
disk partition 4
Step 05: Select the volume size and the drive letter you want to assign to your new partition.
disk partition 5
Step 06: Choose the filing system for your new partition. Choose NTFS for a hard drive. ExFAT is preferred for portable devices, e.g., USB.
disk partition 6
Step 07: Click the Next button and then click Finish. It will create a new partition of your hard drive.
disk partition 7

Method 02 – EaseUS Partition Master Free

Windows disk management may not be a feasible solution for everyone. You may prefer another option. EaseUS is a simple UI-based tool that you have to install in your Windows OS. It has simple features that allow you to make new partitions, resize them, or even perform defragmentation. The best thing about EaseUS is that it will enable partition recovery and help you recover lost data and partitions.

Method 03 – Mini Tool Partition Wizard Free

It is another essential UI tool that helps you partition the hard drive in Windows OS. Along with the partitioning feature, it also allows you to test your hard drive’s health. You can see the vulnerable sectors of your hard drive and backup your data accordingly.

Method 04 – GParted

GParted is another tool to partition your hard drive. It has fewer features as compared to the other tools explained in this article. But its core feature of making and resizing partition makes it worthy of mentioning here.

Conclusion

It is essential to recognize the need for making the hard drive partitions. Weigh up the pros and cons of partitioning the hard drive, and if it seems favorable to you, only then go for it.

If you decide to partition the hard drive, there is multiple software available online that you can use.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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