When buying a computer or installing Windows or another OS, many users want to split the hard drive into two or, more precisely, into several partitions (for example, drive C into two drives). This procedure makes it possible to store system files and personal data separately, i.e. allows you to save your files in the event of a sudden "gathering" of the system and improve the performance of the OS by reducing the fragmentation of the system partition.
Update 2016: added new ways to split a disk (hard or SSD) into two or more, also added a video on how to split a disk in Windows without programs and in AOMEI Partition Assistant. Corrections to the manual. Separate instruction: How to split a disk into partitions in Windows 10 .
See also: How to split a hard drive during the installation of Windows 7 , Windows does not see the second hard drive .
There are several ways to break a hard drive (see below). The instructions reviewed and described all of these methods, their advantages and disadvantages are indicated.
- In Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and 7 - without the use of additional programs, by standard means.
- During the installation of the OS (including, it will be considered how to do this when installing XP).
- With the free software Minitool Partition Wizard, AOMEI Partition Assistant, and Acronis Disk Director.
How to split a disk in Windows 10, 8.1 and Windows 7 without programs
You can split the hard drive or SSD in all the latest versions of Windows on an already installed system. The only condition is that there is no less free disk space than you want to allocate for the second logical disk.
To do this, follow these steps (in this example, the system drive C will be partitioned):
- Press the Win + R keys on your keyboard and enter diskmgmt.msc in the Run window (the Win key is the one with the Windows logo).
- After loading the disk management utility, right-click on the partition corresponding to your C drive (or another one that needs to be divided) and select the "Compress volume" menu item.
- In the volume compression window, specify in the "Compressible space size" field the size that you want to allocate for the new disk (logical partition on the disk). Click the Compress button.
- After that, the space to the right of your disk appears, which is “Not allocated”. Right-click on it and select Create Simple Volume.
- By default, the size of the new unallocated space is specified for the new simple volume. But you can specify less if you want to create multiple logical drives.
- In the next step, specify the letter of the disk to be created.
- Set the file system for the new partition (it is better to leave it as it is) and click "Next".
After these steps, your disk will be divided into two, and the newly created will receive its own letter and will be formatted in the selected file system. You can close the "Disk Management" Windows.
Note: you may find that later you might want to increase the size of the system partition. However, to do this in exactly the same way will not work due to some limitations of the considered system utility. The article How to increase C drive will help you.
How to partition a disk on the command line
You can split a hard drive or SSD into several partitions not only in "Disk Management", but also using the command line of Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7.
Be careful: the example shown below will work without problems only if you have a single system partition (and, possibly, a couple of hidden ones) that need to be divided into two sections - for the system and data. In some other situations (there is already an MBR disk and 4 partitions, when you decrease the disk “after which” there is another disk), this may work unexpectedly if you are a novice user.
The following steps show how to split the C drive into two parts on the command line.
- Run the command line as administrator ( how to do this ). Then, in order, enter the following commands
- list volume (as a result of this command, pay attention to the volume number corresponding to drive C)
- select volume N (where N is the number from the previous paragraph)
- shrink desired = size (where size is the number specified in megabytes by which we will reduce drive C to split it into two drives).
- list disk (here pay attention to the number of the physical HDD or SSD on which partition C is located).
- select disk M (where M is the disk number from the previous paragraph).
- create partition primary
- format fs = ntfs quick
- assign letter = desired drive letter
Done, now you can close the command line: in Windows Explorer, you will see the newly created disk, or rather, the disk partition with the letter you specify.
How to Partition a Disk in Minitool Partition Wizard Free
Minitool Partition Wizard Free is an excellent free program that allows you to manage partitions on disks, including dividing one partition into two or more. One of the advantages of the program is that a bootable ISO image with it is available on the official website, which can be used to create a bootable USB flash drive (developers recommend doing this using Rufus) or to burn a disc.
This makes it easy to perform disk partitioning in cases where this is not possible in the running system.
After loading into the Partition Wizard, you just need to click on the disk that you want to split, right-click and select "Split" (split).
The next steps are simple: adjust the size of the partitions, click OK, and then click the “Apply” button at the top left to apply the changes.
You can download the ISO Minitool Partition Wizard Free boot image for free from the official website https://www.partitionwizard.com/partition-wizard-bootable-cd.html
He also recorded a video on how to split a disk in Windows. It shows the process of creating partitions using the standard tools of the system, as described above and using a simple, free and convenient program for these tasks.
How to split a disk during installation of Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7
The advantages of this method include its simplicity and convenience. Partitioning will also take relatively little time, and the process itself is very visual. The main drawback is that you can only use the method when installing or reinstalling the operating system, which is not very convenient in itself, and there is no way to edit partitions and their sizes without formatting the HDD (for example, in the case when the system partition has run out of space, and the user wants to add some space from another partition of the hard drive). For more information on creating partitions on a disk when installing Windows 10, see Installing Windows 10 from a USB flash drive .
If these shortcomings are not critical, consider the process of partitioning a disk during OS installation. These instructions are fully applicable when installing Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7.
- After starting the installer, the loader will prompt you to select the partition on which the OS will be installed. It is in this menu that you can create, edit and delete hard disk partitions. If the hard drive has not crashed before, one partition will be offered. If it crashed, you must delete those sections whose volume you want to redistribute. In order to configure partitions on your hard drive, click on the appropriate link at the bottom of their list - “Disk Setup”.
- In order to delete partitions on the hard disk, use the corresponding button (link)
Attention! When deleting disk partitions, all data that is on them will be deleted.
- After that, create a system partition by clicking Create. In the window that appears, enter the volume of the partition (in megabytes) and click "Apply."
- The system will offer to allocate a little space for the backup area, confirm the request.
- In the same way, create the desired number of partitions.
- Next, select the section that will be used for Windows 10, 8 or Windows 7 and click "Next." After that, continue to install the system as usual.
We crash the hard drive when installing Windows XP
During the development of Windows XP, an intuitive graphical interface was not created. But even though management takes place through the console, partitioning the hard drive when installing Windows XP is as simple as installing any other operating system.
Step 1. Delete existing partitions.
You can redistribute the disk during the definition of the system partition. It is required to divide the section into two. Unfortunately, Windows XP does not allow this operation without formatting the hard drive. Therefore, the sequence of actions is as follows:
- Select a section;
- Press "D" and confirm the deletion of the partition by pressing the "L" button. When deleting a system partition, you will also be asked to confirm this action using the Enter button;
- The section is deleted and you get an unallocated area.
Step 2. Create new sections.
Now you need to create the necessary sections of the hard disk from the unallocated area. This is done quite simply:
- Press the button "C";
- In the window that appears, enter the required partition size (in megabytes) and press Enter;
- After that, a new partition will be created, and you will return to the system drive definition menu. In the same way, create the required number of partitions.
Step 3. Determine the file system format.
After the partitions are created, select the partition that should be the system one and press Enter. You will be prompted to select a file system format. FAT format is more obsolete. With it, you will not have compatibility problems, for example, Windows 9.x, but due to the fact that systems older than XP are rare today, this advantage does not play a special role. If you also take into account that NTFS is faster and more reliable, it allows you to work with files of any size (FAT - up to 4GB), the choice is obvious. Select the desired format and press Enter.
Further installation will go in standard mode - after formatting the partition on it, the installation of the system will begin. You will only need to enter user parameters at the end of the installation (computer name, date and time, time zone, etc.). As a rule, this is done in a convenient graphical mode, so it is not difficult.
Free AOMEI Partition Assistant
AOMEI Partition Assistant is one of the best free programs for changing the structure of partitions on a disk, transferring a system from HDD to SSD, and, including, using it, you can split a disk into two or more. At the same time, the program interface in Russian, unlike another good similar product - MiniTool Partition Wizard.
Note: despite the fact that the program supports Windows 10, I didn’t do it on my system for some reason, but it didn’t fail (I think it should be fixed by July 29, 2015). On Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 it works without problems.
After starting AOMEI Partition Assistant, in the main program window you will see the connected hard drives and SSDs, as well as sections on them.
To split a disk, right-click on it (in my case, C), and select the "Partition Partition" menu item.
At the next step, you will need to specify the size of the partition to be created - this can be done by entering a number, or by moving the separator between two disks.
After you click OK, the program will display that the disk is already divided. In fact, this is not the case - to apply all the changes made, you must click the "Apply" button. After that, you may be warned that the computer will restart to complete the operation.
And after the reboot in your explorer you will be able to observe the result of the separation of disks.
Other Hard Disk Partitioning Programs
To partition a hard disk, there are a huge number of different software. These are both commercial products, for example, from Acronis or Paragon, and distributed under a free license - Partition Magic, MiniTool Partition Wizard. Consider dividing a hard disk using one of them - Acronis Disk Director.
- Download and install the program. At the first start, you will be prompted to select an operating mode. Choose "Manual" - it is more customizable and works more flexibly than "Automatic"
- In the window that opens, select the partition that you want to split, right-click on it and select "Split Volume"
- Set the size of the new partition. It will be subtracted from the volume that is being broken. After setting the volume, click "OK"
- However, that is not all. We only modeled the disk partitioning scheme, in order to make the plan a reality, it is necessary to confirm the operation. To do this, click "Apply pending operations." The creation of a new section will begin.
- A message appears stating that you need to restart the computer. Click “OK”, after that the computer will reboot and a new partition will be created.
How to break a hard drive in MacOS X regular means
You can split the hard disk without reinstalling the operating system and without installing additional software on your computer. In Windows Vista and above, the disk utility is built into the system; things are also on Linux systems and MacOS.
To partition a drive on Mac OS, do the following:
- Launch Disk Utility (for this, select "Programs" - "Utilities" - "Disk Utility") or find it using Spotlight search
- On the left, select the drive (not the partition, namely the drive) that you want to partition, click the Partition button at the top.
- Under the list of volumes, click the + button and specify the name, file system, and volume of the new partition. After that, confirm the operation by clicking on the “Apply” button.
After that, after a short (at least for SSD) process of creating a partition, it will be created and available in Finder.
I hope the information will be useful, and if something does not work as expected or if you have questions, you will leave a comment.