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AlanHo

Windows 7 Drive Partitioning

27 posts in this topic

Creating a Separate Data Partition on a Computer With Only One Hard Drive.

Using Windows 7 Disc Management

Introduction

For a number of reasons it is good practice to store all your data on a separate drive or partition to the one used for your operating system and programs. The ideal is to have two hard drives – but on a laptop with space for only one hard drive - a second partition must be created.

Foreplay

Your computer is likely to have a hard drive and an optical (CD/DVD) drive. It may also have a built in card reader which Windows treats as another drive or drives.

Hence the hard drive will be labelled drive C

The optical drive may be drive D

Card readers will have subsequent letters.

It is better to have your drives labelled :

C : For the operating system and programs

D : For the partition to contain your documents, photos, and other data

E: for your optical drive

F : onwards for card readers and flash memory sticks etc

Hence it is necessary to change the drive letters for the optical drive D: and the following drives by moving them all up one place so that the letter D becomes available for your new partition.

To do this click on the Windows Start Orb and type “disc management” in the search box

Now click on “Create and format hard disc partitions”

The disc management window will open listing your drives, their sizes and other details and their drive letters.

If the drive letter D: is already in use it will be necessary to change the drive letter of the drive occupying D. To keep the drives in order – this may mean changing the drive letters of all the subsequent drives.

To change a drive letter – right click on the drive – click on “change drive letter…” – click “Change” – assign the required drive letter from the drop down choices, click “OK”.

Continue to do this to your drives until you are left with the original C: drive, D: will not exist and all other drives will have higher drive letters.

Preparing to Create a New Partition on the C: Drive

First, it is best to run CCleaner to remove all crap and then defrag the drive.

To defrag the drive, open Windows Explorer, right click on the drive, click on “Properties”, click on the “Tools” tab and then click on the defrag button.

YOU MUST TAKE A FULL BACK UP up of your C: drive onto another hard drive – I use Acronis. This is an absolute must in case things go wrong and you need to restore your system.

Creating the New partition

As before, click on the Windows Start Orb and type “disc management” in the search box

Now click on “Create and format hard disc partitions”

The disc management window will open listing your drives.

Right click on Drive C: and click on “Shrink volume” in the drop down menu.

A window will open telling you the size of the available shrink space and the total size of the C: drive after shrinking it. Here you can adjust the size of the shrink to ensure that there will be some unused space left on the C: drive for future programs.

Once satisfied – click “Shrink”

After a short while the bar diagram of drive C: will show a blue bar indicating its new size and a black bar to the right showing the unallocated space we created in the shrink process that we can convert to a new partition

To convert the unallocated space – right click on the black bar and click on “New simple volume” from the drop down menu. A wizard will open - click “Next” and click “Next” on the Specify Volume Size page. Now assign drive letter D: and click “Next”. Now set the format parameters, NTFS, Default and type in a new volume label of your choice – I use ‘Documents & Data’. The quick format box should be ticked – now click “Next” followed by “Finish”. A small window opens asking you to confirm the operation.

You are now done partitioning.

You have a C: drive for your operating system and programs and a D: drive for your data.

Moving Windows 7 Data Files to the D: Drive

Using Windows Explorer create the following folders on the D: partition.

Documents

Music

Pictures

Videos

Plus any other main folders you may have created on the C: drive for data

To relocate the system data files from Drive C: to drive D :-

Right click on Documents folder on C:

Click Properties

Click Location tab

Click move

Browse to D: Documents

Click Select Folder

Click Apply - a window will open asking you to confirm the move

Click "Yes"

The files will be moved - when finished

Click OK

Now do the same for the Music, Pictures and Videos folders etc

CONGRATULATIONS – you got there

You now have a computer with all your data separated from your OS and programs which makes backing up data easier and allows you to reinstall Windows and programs without losing your data.

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Good stuff Alan. Nice guide. Thanks.

Hope that Grandaughter takes it easy when she gets her laptop back. :)

John.

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Excellent guide Alan, just one caveat, do not move programs from C to D drives as the majority will not work without editing the registry.

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Many thanks Alan. :flowers:

I'll print out your instructions before I start, should I have the courage to begin...

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Thank you, I have now found the Disk Management section in Win 7.

However, my next dilemma will be what sizes the partitions should be. This is how it all presently looks...

"My Computer" post-5852-063667800 1278485894_thumb.jpg

"Disk Management" screen post-5852-073981400 1278486016_thumb.jpg

Drive 'C' would contain the Operating System and all of my program files.

The new partition Drive 'D' would contain all of my data files - pictures, music, videos etc. (This would require the present Drive 'D' to be renamed).

(1) What size should Drive 'C' be?

(2) What would happen to the Acronis 'Secure Zone' and the Nokia bit?

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This is where it gets interesting.

I assume that the 100MB partition is for Nokia and reserved by the system and the 40.49 MB partition is devoted to the Acronis secure zone - but for some reason not shown as reserved.

I do not use the Acronis secure zone so admit to not being fully aware of its implications - for all I know it may need to expand at some time when Acronis gets constipated.

I am going to assume that Acronis will stay at its present size when I make the following comments.

Your Windows Explorer shows that your C: drive has 376 Gb free space out of a total size of 425 Gb - thus it has 49 GB of files installed. However - this does not mean that it can be shrunk to this size.

You can decrease the space used by primary partitions and logical drives by shrinking them into adjacent, contiguous space on the same disk. You can shrink the existing partition from the end of the volume to create new unallocated space that can then be used for a new partition. The shrink operation can be blocked by the presence of certain file types. When you shrink a partition, certain files (for example, the paging file or the shadow copy storage area) cannot be automatically relocated and you cannot decrease the allocated space beyond the point where the unmovable files are located.

In simple language this means that you cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located. It is possible to move certain unmovable files such as the page file - but unless you are very computer savvy this is not recommended.

Hence we cannot advise you what size to shrink your C: drive to until you carry out a further step to determine the minimum size you can shrink your volume to. It is unlikely to be the 49 GB shown in Windows Explorer because there will be space between existing files and the last unmovable file we cannot use.

You need to go back to disc management, right click on your C: drive and click on "Shrink Volume" in the drop down menu. This will open a window telling you the size of the available shrink space etc.

Now post back the results here.

Don't worry about going this far - there is a cancel" button on the page to get you back to safety.

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Phew! That was scary...

post-5852-035593700 1278514509_thumb.jpg

By the way, 75% of your last post was Greek to me. B)

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You are doing OK Irene - keep up the good work and you will find it is not as scary as you anticipate.

We can now see that after shrinking your C: drive you will finish up with :-

Your C: drive will be re-sized to 255354 MB (255 GB)

You will create 180025 MB (180 GB) of unallocated space which you can convert to your D: drive

I am sure you recognise that at present your C: drive currently uses only 49 Gb of space - so why can it not be shrunk smaller than 255 GB you may well ask? This is because you have been using the computer for a while - adding and deleting programs and files - and an unmovable file has been pushed 255 GB along from the start of your files leaving lots of currently unused space in between.

I don't know how much data you have stored on the C: drive - or how much you are likely to add in future. Only you can decide whether a D: drive for your data sized at 180 GB will be big enough. I suspect it will (unless you intend adding lots of video, many thousands of photos and lots of music).

Note that the next time you get to the shrink page - the numbers may have changed slightly due to ongoing changes as you use your computer.

I would therefore suggest that you proceed to shrink your C: drive to the minimum possible (255354 MB or whatever it is when you actually carry out the task) and then convert the unallocated space of approx 180 GB to a new D: drive by following my original instructions.

If you decide to proceed I hope and expect that all goes well.

PS

We are away at our "country retreat" (a static caravan in the Far forest near Bewdley) until Sunday - so I will be out of touch.

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Thanks Alan. :flowers:

One quick question before you go. If I did a defrag, would that improve the picture?

P.S. I think I'll wait until you return before I continue. ;)

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Thanks Alan. :flowers:

One quick question before you go. If I did a defrag, would that improve the picture?

P.S. I think I'll wait until you return before I continue. ;)

Do a CClean and defrag anyway as included in my original instructions - it cannot hurt - I would doubt that it will change the figures much but would be interested to see the result.

Footnote

The ideal situation when you have only one hard drive would of course be to install windows from scratch, then immediately partition the drive to optimum sizes whilst all the files are nicely bunched together, then add your other software etc. You may not want to go down this route though unless you are hungry for more experience and the satisfaction of completing the challenge.

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I am having 180gb hard disk and getting a problem at the time of Partition. The space of c drive is too less that no other software can be downloaded...Please suggest.

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How important is the partition?

As important as the data stored on it.

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I am having 180gb hard disk and getting a problem at the time of Partition. The space of c drive is too less that no other software can be downloaded...Please suggest.

Start deleteing useless files/folders and uninstall needless programs to get back some space.

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your computer will restart again and you may take a look at the partition manager interface from your OS, and see that your unallocated space has increased. This space is what you should select when installing another OS. The number of operating systems that can be installed on your computer is limited to the amount of space available on your hard drive. Most computers, after you install more than one OS.

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Hi

I m having problem with my hard drive type.It has been converted into RAW format after format.What should i do to recover drives?

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vishal, This usually means the drive is wrecked/faulty and nothing ordinary an mortal can do will restore it to a working state (despite what you might be told elsewhere).

If the drive is under warranty, send it back to the manufacturer, otherwise there is not much you can do with it. If you try to format it, the formatting will seemingly go as it should to about 99 - 100% and then fail - and the drive remains as it was.

Is this drive, by chance, a Western Digital external drive? I had three of those fail on me.

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Hi AlanHo,

Thanks for the great tips. i partitioned my drive and all is going well. cheers

Regards

Ladysman217

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Does windows 7 supports a specific no. of drive partition, I have tried yesterday to partition my drive to more than 4 but after 4th it says hard-disk have enough partition already. Please help. Thanks in advance.

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Does windows 7 supports a specific no. of drive partition, I have tried yesterday to partition my drive to more than 4 but after 4th it says hard-disk have enough partition already. Please help. Thanks in advance.

My understanding is that Windows allows four "Primary" partitions on a single hard drive.

However, one of those could be an "Extended" partition, and you can create as many "Logical Partitions" inside the "Extended" partition as there are letters of the alphabet!! So if partition C is a primary partition containing your Operating System and programs, Drive D for your data, E for back-ups F for your DVD drive - that leaves you F through Z, or a maximum of 22 "Logical Partitions". Some drive letters need to be reserved for external drives or USB connected devices like memory sticks which will reduce the maximum number of logical partitions possible

So you can create three "Primary" partitions plus at least 15 "Logical" partitions to allow for spare drive letters for other purposes.

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After partitioning can a partition size be increased in a reverse of that used to shrink it? I'm thinking of the scenario where I run out of space for programs (and or data) and need to shift the "boundaries". Is that possible or is it cast in stone once partitioned?


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Partitions can be shrunk or extended as needed; some partitioning softwares even give you a slider to move the partition sizes up or down.


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In my eyes, the number of operating systems that can be installed on your computer is limited to the amount of space available on your hard drive. 

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Hello CaesarBarnes, Welcome to Windows Forum. May your stay be a long and Happy one.

You do realise that you have contributed to a Post that is nearly Two Years old don't you?

 

 

 

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