Create primary and extended partitions

A partition is a portion of a physical disk that functions as if it were a physically separate disk. Partitions can be created only on basic disks. Partitions cannot span disks; they must be contiguous regions. An MBR disk can contain up to four primary partitions or three primary partitions plus an extended partition. The extended partition may be further divided into logical drives. A GPT disk can contain a maximum of 128 primary partitions.

Use the Create Partition wizard to create primary partitions and extended partitions on a basic disk.

To create primary and extended partitions

  1. Right-click a basic disk to display the context menu, and select New Partition.

    The Create Partition Wizard window appears.

  2. Read the information on the first screen and then click Next to continue.

    The Select disk and region window comes up.

  3. Select a disk and free space on which to create the partition.

    The dialog box shows a list of available disks and free spaces. Check the box for the disk and free space you want to use, and click Next to continue.

    If there is no free space on the selected disk, the free space selection and the Next button are grayed out. Click Cancel to exit the wizard.

    If the free space selection is grayed out, you cannot continue. This can occur if the disk already has the maximum number of partitions (either four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extended partition). It also can happen if the available free space is in an extended partition, because only logical drives (not partitions) can be created there.

    The Select Partition Type window comes up next.

  4. Select a partition type (primary or extended) and indicate the size of the partition. The pull-down list to the right of the entry box for the disk space allows you to select Sectors, KB, MB, GB, or TB. Click Next to continue.

    The Assign Drive Letter screen comes up next.

  5. Assign a drive letter or drive path to this volume if you want to format the partition. You can also assign a drive letter after creating the partition. Click Next to continue.

    When you mount a local drive at an empty folder on an NTFS volume, the operating system assigns a drive path to the volume rather than a drive letter.

    To mount a volume at an empty NTFS folder, click the radio button Mount as an empty NTFS folder and type the path to the empty folder, or click the Browse button to locate it.

    When creating an extended partition, no additional information is required and the final screen appears. Click Finish to complete the operation.

  6. In the Create File System screen that appears next, select the Format this volume checkbox if you want to format the partition using NTFS, FAT, or FAT32.

    These options offer the following:

    FAT (File Allocation Table)

    A file system used by MS-DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows 95/98. Later versions of Windows also can use the FAT file system. The operating system maintains a table to keep track of the status of various segments of disk space used for file storage.

    FAT32 (File Allocation Table)

    An enhanced implementation of the FAT file system. FAT32 uses smaller cluster sizes; therefore, disk space is used more efficiently, disk performance is increased, and larger drives are supported.

    NTFS (NT File System)

    An advanced file system designed for use specifically within Microsoft Windows operating systems. Use this format if you want to use file and folder compression. Note that NTFS cannot be used by MS-DOS, Windows 3.x, or Windows 95/98.

  7. Select an allocation unit size in bytes, if you want to use a size other than the default. Default settings are strongly recommended for general use.

  8. To name the partition, type a label in the "File system label" entry box.

    Give the partition a label that will be helpful to you in identifying it.

    If desired, select the following formatting options:

    Quick format

    Use this method to skip scanning for bad sectors in the partition during formatting.

    Enable file and folder compression

    Use this method to compress the folders and files that are added to the volume. This option is available only if the partition is being formatted with NTFS.

    Click Next to continue.

    The final screen displays the properties of the partition.

  9. Click Finish in the final screen.

    You can view the percentage of completion for the formatting process in the bottom pane of the console, but the Tasks tab must be selected.

More Information

Mount a volume at an empty folder (Drive path)