Understand the concept of Windows Partition Manager for Windows 10 and Windows 7. This tutorial also enlists Partition Manager Software:
Buying a new PC? Worried about disk storage space? Have you heard of Partitioning? If not, this article is meant for you.
In this article, we will understand the basics of Partitions and talk about Windows Partition Manager and its importance. We will also look at the detailed pros and cons of disk partitioning and ways to edit partitions on Windows.
Let us begin by understanding what is partitioning and why is it needed?
What You Will Learn:
- What Is A Partition
- What Is A Windows Partition Manager
- Windows 10 Partition Manager
- How To Create Partitions In Windows 10
- External Partition Manager Tools For Windows 10
- Windows 7 Partition Manager
- Frequently Asked Questions And Answers
What Is A Partition
When we talk about storage, be it Hard disk, USB drive, or anything with space that can be used for storage, partitioning becomes imperative. If a drive is not partitioned, we will not be able to use it for storage. The minimum number of partitions for a drive is one, and it can have multiple partitions as well.
At a user’s level, partitioning is not a must know unless the user installs an operating system. Partitions are used at this stage when a new drive is set up.
Importance Of Partition
Partitioning is important because files cannot be written on a blank drive. It needs to be compartmentalized with a file system. These compartments so created are named Partitions. It depends on the user if they choose to create one storage space on the drive or have as many partitions as they desire and divide the storage space.
In most cases, at least one partition is preset up without which a drive is as good as a lot of empty space but no files can be written on it.
What happens after a drive is partitioned? Once these compartments or partitions are created, they need to be formatted with a file system. Some examples could be the NTFS file system on Windows drive, FAT 32 file system for any removable drive, etc.
How important is it to create several partitions?
Most computers have one partition on the hard disk which is created at the time of manufacturing, yet most Windows users create more partitions on the hard drive apart from the usual C: drive.
This is done for the following reasons:
- In case of a malware attack, if there is only one partition and it needs to be formatted to clear the malware. Then the data will be lost. This creates a need for additional partitions to back up the lost data from other partitions where data can be stored as a backup.
- When a drive has many partitions, each of them can be separated from the others. It is also possible for each partition to have its file system. The easiest way to understand this is to take the example of Windows. Most computer systems that have Windows installed as an Operating system have a partition system for recovery.
- When there is a need to restore Windows to the initial or default settings, these files on the recovery partition are copied to the main partition. In this example, the recovery partition file system is separate from the main partition and this is the reason why it was not impacted when the main partition has tampered.
- Personal data files are also stored on a different partition by some tech-savvy users who use the Windows Operating system. This partition can be retained even after all the data is cleared while reinstalling Windows.
- In case the user wants to install a different Operating System like Linux on their Windows computer, it can be installed on one of these partitions on the same drive and both operating systems will not obstruct the working of others or causing any reduction in the speed of the computer.
What Is A Windows Partition Manager
It is a tool that allows the system administrator to take various actions regarding partitions. These actions can range from the creation of partitions, changing the size of partitions, or delete partitions. In this article, we will also discuss some of the popular Partition Managers.
Windows 10 Partition Manager
Now that we have a basic understanding of Partitions, let us see how Partition and disk management work in the most common Operating System- Windows and its version Windows 10.
Windows 10 is the latest version of the Windows operating system family and has an integrated feature for disk management which is usually known to users. This feature allows the users to create and control partitions of the disk and does not require rebooting the system or any other interference. It is imperative to be sure about the hard drive of Windows before creating partitions.
In the case of MBR (Master Boot Record) hard drive, only 3 primary partitions can be created and 1 extended partition can be created. Alternatively, we can also create 4 primary partitions. There is no such restriction on the number of partitions in the GPT (GUID Partition Table) hard drive.
Further reading =>> Key differences between MBR vs GPT
How To Create Partitions In Windows 10
Method 1: Using the Disk Management tool
Step1: Open Disk Management tool. Right-click on the Start menu and click on Disk Management. Alternatively, we can also use the search bar and type Disk management.
Step 2: Click on the drive that needs to be partitioned. After this, right-click the partition and click on “Shrink Volume”.
Step 3: Make changes to the tab “Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB” and then click on the Shrink tab.
Step 4: After making changes to the amount of space to shrink on the selected drive, unallocated space will be seen behind the drive. (In the image above, the selected drive is C:). Use the right-click key to select unallocated space and then select the option “New Simple Volume”. We can create and manage new partitions by following the wizard.
It is important to note here that the unallocated space which was created by shrinking the drive cannot help to extend volumes but will only be used for creating partitions.
Another way to access Disk Management is to click on Start and type “Partition”. On the next window pop up, select the option “Create and format hard disk partitions”.
The window showing Disk Management is divided into parts. The first half displays list of volumes and the second half display disks and volumes on each disk in the form of a graph. Any disk selection made in the first half has a corresponding display in the bottom part as well.
It is important to understand the difference between partition and volume. When we talk about a partition, we are referring to a chunk of space on the disk which has been separated from the other space, while volume is a part of a partition that has a file system.
In Method 1 above, we have looked at how to create partitions using Disk Management. There are many other functions and operations which can be performed using Disk management.
Some of these operations are explained below:
#1) Extend volume
Step 1: Right-click on the existing volume and select “Extend Volume” In the screenshot below, this option is greyed out. This is because we can only extend volume if there is an unallocated space on the right of the same disk. If there is a basic partition on the left, a third party software would be needed if volume needs to be extended.
Step 2: When the window showing “Extend Volume Wizard” appears, click “Next”
Step 3: The next screen that appears is Select Disks. The required disk is highlighted, which also gives information about the total volume and the total space available.
Step 4: In the tab “Select the amount of space in MB”, choose the amount of space by using the increase and decrease arrows. Click Next.
Step 5: The next screen “Completing the Extend Volume Wizard” has the Finish tab that needs to be clicked.
#2) Creating a new volume
This option can be used if there is unallocated space available on the disk or if one of the partitions has been shrunk in size, thereby allowing unallocated space. In either case, the unallocated space can be used and new volumes can be created by following these steps-
Step 1: Use the right-click key on the unallocated space and select the option “New Simple Volume”.
Step 2: When the New Simple Volume Wizard screen appears, click on Next.
Step 3: Decide the size of the volume that needs to be created by using the increase/decrease arrows in “Simple Volume size in MB” and click on Next.
Step 4: The next step is to allocate a letter or path to the drive and click on Next.
Step 5: We can decide if the partition needs to be formatted at this stage. If an external tool is to be used for formatting, we can opt to format later, but this is an important step before using it.
Step 6: In case of formatting the disk, select the radio button “Format this volume with the following settings” and click on Next. In this step, we can choose the File System, Allocation Unit size, and Volume label.
Step 7: Click on Finish on the “Completing the New Simple Volume Wizard” screen. A new partition can be seen in the Disk Management Tool.
#3) Deleting a Volume
It is possible that a volume created may not be in use and can be deleted in order to get some additional unallocated space which can later be used to extend volume. It is very important to remember that deleting a volume will also delete the data which was stored on that volume and therefore a backup must be created for the data. The following steps are to be followed for deleting a volume.
Step 1: Open Disk Management Tool and select a volume.
Step 2: Right-click on the volume and select the “Delete” option.
Step 3: A warning window will pop up informing about all data being erased upon selecting to continue and confirming the choice to delete the volume. Click on Yes. As soon as the volume is deleted, unallocated space is created which can be used as per requirement.
#4) Changing Drive letter and paths
The following steps need to be followed when the drive letters of the volume need to be changed.
Step 1: Right-click on the volume and select the option “Change Drive Letters and Paths”
Step 2: When the next window appears, click on the tab “Change”.
Step 3: The next window that appears allows us to change the drive letter. Click on the radio button “Assign the following drive letter” and select a letter from the drop-down list. At this step, warning pop-ups letting us know that some old applications may not run properly if the letter is changed.
Step 4: Click “YES” to change the letter of the drive.
#5) Formatting a volume
The Disk Management tool also allows us to format a particular volume. It is very important to remember at this point that once the volume has been formatted, all the data present on the volume will be lost, and therefore, it is imperative to take a backup of the data.
Follow the steps below for formatting a volume using Disk Management Tool:
Step 1: Right-click on the volume and select the option “Format”.
Step 2: The next window that appears is “Format”. In this window, choose a file system and select if a quick format is needed or not.
Step 3: Click “OK”.
Step 4: Click “OK” on the warning page that appears. This warning is related to data on the volume that will be deleted while formatting the volume.
Method 2: Creating Partitions in Windows 10 using AOMEI Partition Assistant
This tool is a user-friendly partition tool and can be easily downloaded. It is available for free and is great as a partition manager tool. Using this tool, there are 2 methods to create a partition. One of the methods uses the unallocated space to create partitions and the other method creates partitions, but no unallocated space is used.
Website: AOMEI Partition Assistant
Step 1: Download and install the tool AOMEI Partition Assistant.
Step 2: After selecting the hard drive that needs to be partitioned, right-click on a drive, and select the option “Resize Partition”.
Step 3: Move the slide bar (towards the left) to choose the proportion of unallocated space and click OK.
Step 4: Unallocated space is created behind the drive that was chosen.
Step 5: Right-click on unallocated space and select the option “Create Partition”.
Step 6: Move the slide bar to choose the proportion. The drive can be renamed with any other letter. Users can also make alterations to properties by selecting the option “Advanced”.
In case, there is already unallocated space, Step 5 and onwards steps can be followed. Alternatively, users also have an option to use this unallocated space to add to the existing partitions. Split partition is yet another feature that can be used if no unallocated space is available on the drive.
Apart from AOMEI, there are many other third party Partition Manager tools. Below is a list of some of these tools-
External Partition Manager Tools For Windows 10
#1) Mini Tool Partition Wizard
It has proved to be one of the great partition management tools available. It provides the ease of performing various operations related to resizing, deleting, and formatting. It also performs other operations like running checks for errors on file systems or shifting operating systems from one drive to another, which gives it an edge over many other tools.
Price: There is a free version also available. Per-user price is $59.00.
#2) Active@ Partition Manager
It is yet another great tool for managing partitions. This tool manages existing partitions and also creates new partitions by using unallocated space. It supports all the common file systems like FAT, NTFS, HFS, etc. It also has some fantastic features like converting MBR and GPT and carrying on backup procedure for a completed drive.
The only drawback of this tool is that it cannot make changes to the size of any locked volumes.
Price: Free application
Website: Active@ Partition Manager
#3) EaseUS Partition Manager Free Edition
It is a very popular tool for managing partitions. It allows us to carry out almost all operations related to drive and partitions and is compatible with all Windows versions. It is an extremely user-friendly tool which has a graphical interface and makes operations of shrinking and expansion of partitions as easy as a few simple clicks.
One of the great benefits of this tool is that changes we make to partitions are not executed in real-time, but only in a virtual set up and users can check the suitability of the changes before saving them.
#4) G Parted
This tool can be used from a bootable disk, USB device, and is also available as a complete application with a user interface. These features make this tool extremely easy to use. The partitions are easy to create, and users have an option to use the slide bar or text to decide the size of the partition. Several file systems formats are supported.
Some of these are- EXT 2/3/4, NTFS, FAT16/32, and XFS.
One of the unique benefits of this tool is that it can hide partitions as well. The major drawback of this tool is all the partitions are not listed on one page and therefore we have to be careful to choose one disk at a time from the drop-down menu to check the partitions. The large size of this tool is over 300 MB also makes it time-consuming to download.
Website: G Parted
#5) Cute Partition Manager
Cute Partition is yet another tool similar to G Parted, which does not run on an Operating system and needs to be installed on a bootable disk or drive. This is an advantage as it can be used in the absence of an OS as well. This tool helps to create, delete partitions, and also change the file system of a disk. All the changes apply only when saved.
This tool is a text-based tool, which means only a keyboard is needed to work on this tool.
Website: Cute Partition Manager
#6) Macrorit Partition Manager
This tool is popular for its simple and user-friendly features. All the features and options can be seen on one side and none is hidden. The most common tasks that this tool is used for creating, deleting, moving, formatting volumes, and changing the label of the volume. It is also used to run surface tests and change between primary and logical volumes.
Changes made do not get applied unless saved. (Press Commit key to save.) The only disadvantage of this tool is that they do not support dynamic disks.
#7) Paragon Partition Manager
This tool provides easy-to-use step by step guide to users while creating, deleting, or formatting partitions. Most of the common file systems like NTFS, FAT32, and HFS are supported. Additional features are provided only in the Pro version.
Price: Pro version is priced at $19.95 for Personal use and $39.95 for Professional use.
#8) IM Magic Partition Resizer
This tool is easy to use and provides the option to change the size of partitions or move partitions. The features are the same as most of the tools mentioned above. It is also capable of capturing errors in partitions and formatting partitions. The process of using the tool is also extremely simple with a right-click on the device, and the updates can be previewed before saving or applying changes.
Some features are only available on a paid version of the product.
Price: Unlimited edition available at the US $399
The tool is extremely simple to use and allows us to manage partition through a slide bar. This tool has an extremely simple platform, and the options can be seen on the top of the window. One of the most annoying features of this tool is that it does not allow changing the size of partitions on which Windows is installed.
As we have seen above, most of the tools mentioned are free partition manager Windows 10 tools but they also provide a smooth interface with other versions of Windows like Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows XP.
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Windows 7 Partition Manager
In terms of creating and managing partitions, Windows 7 is similar to Windows 10. It also has an inbuilt tool called Disk Management, which is capable of carrying out operations similar to that of a third-party tool. Some of the operations supported by the Disk Management tool on Windows 7 include re-partition a drive, formatting a drive, delete partitions, extend or shrink partitions.
Usually, this inbuilt tool suffices for most of the operations, thereby reducing the dependency on any third-party tool. Windows 7 partition manager is a savior in situations when the C drive has low space. In this situation, the performance of the system is impacted. Windows 7 partition manager tool helps to create additional space.
In a rare situation when the inbuilt partition manager tool is not able to perform tasks related to partition, one of the third-party tools mentioned above can be used. One of the tools which can be used by all Windows users is IM – Magic Partition Resizer free. This tool can easily create partitions on the hard drive without any damage to the existing data or without Windows 7 being reinstalled.
Frequently Asked Questions And Answers
Below are some frequently asked questions about the Windows Partition Manager.
Q #1) How many partitions does Windows 10 create?
Answer: Windows 10 can partition the disk on its own and creates 4 partitions. These partitions are- Recovery, EFI, Microsoft Reserved (MSR), and Windows partitions.
Q #2) What is an optimum size of the partition on Windows 10?
Answer: The size of the partition depends on the version of Windows 10 in use. If it is a 32-bit version, 16 GB of free space will be needed. If it is a 64-bit version, 20 GB of free space is needed.
Q #3) Is it better to install Windows on a separate partition?
Answer: If Windows (operating system) is installed on a different drive, the speed of the system can be enhanced. It is advisable that data is stored on a separate partition to avoid loss of data in the event of the reinstallation of Windows.
Q #4) Which software is best for disk management?
Answer: In order to decide the best disk management tool, it is important to be sure of the functions which need to be performed. Most tools that have been described above, support all functionalities of disk management.
In this article, we have talked about the Partition manager for Windows 10 and Windows 7, its importance, and some of the best partition manager tools. Most of these tools are free and have a paid version as well.
Suggested reading =>> Best Download Managers for Windows PC
We hope, this article will our readers to make a sound choice when choosing a partition manager.