How to partition a hard drive

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How to partition a hard drive
Partition your hard drive for special needs

Hard disks can be partitioned to run separate operating systems on the same disk, or to break down a disk into manageable chunks for storage. Partitioning is performed on a new or reformatted disk. These instructions describe using FDISK for PCs using Windows XP or later.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Partitioning Software
  • Hard Disks
  • Drive Management Software

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  1. 1

    Start the computer in Command Prompt Mode.

  2. 2

    Type "FDISK." The partition window will appear with menu options.

  3. 3

    Enter 5 if you're partitioning a second drive, and select the drive; otherwise, skip to the next step.

  4. 4

    Enter 1 (Create DOS Partition or Logical DOS Drive).

  5. 5

    Enter 2 (Create Extended DOS) to create a partition.

  6. 6

    Enter N when the program asks if you want to use the maximum available size.

  7. 7

    Designate the amount of disk space to allocate to the second partition (the partition will be assigned the next drive letter).

  8. 8

    Type a name for the new partition and press Enter. The partition menu will appear.

  9. 9

    Repeat steps 5 through 8 to create additional partitions.

  10. 10

    Press Esc to exit the partition command.

  11. 11

    Format the newly created partitions (see "How to Format a Hard Drive").

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to allocate ample disk space (about 20 GB) on the C drive to hold Windows software and temp files created by other software programs.
  • Commercial products, such as Partition Magic, make hard disk partitioning much easier.
  • The FDISK procedure deletes all files on the hard disk. This action is not reversible. Be sure to back up any files you want to keep.
  • If the disk capacity displayed in the FDISK menu doesn't match your hard drive, then your system doesn't support larger disk drives. Use disk management software, such as Disk Manager or EZ-Drive, to provide support for larger drives.

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