Create Partitions in Windows 10

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A partition is a way for you to slice up your local drive into multiple pieces. It can be for a variety of reasons; dual booting different operating systems, storing files or applications, or creating a space to store your backups. Each operating system platform has its own way of partitioning a drive.

Windows 10 can use as little as four primary partitions (the MBR partition scheme), or as many as 128 (the newer GPT partition scheme). The GPT partition is technically unlimited, but Windows 10 will impose a limit of 128; each is primary. Within a primary partition, you can have an extended primary partition and create additional logical partitions. Extended partitions work around the limits of MBR, but there are limitations associated with it too since they cannot be used to keep a bootable copy of Windows. This is where the advantage of the newer UEFI GPT standard comes in.

MBR, GPT, EFI – What's the Difference?

 

These acronyms refer to the partitioning and boot scheme used by your operating system to handle disks in Windows.

MBR – known as the master boot record, has been around for decades and accompanies the older BIOS (Basic Input Output System) used to boot older computers. When your computer starts, it checks the BIOS for a bootloader (in Windows 10 known as winload.exe), which loads the operating system into main memory.

EFI – known as the extensible firmware interface, came into the mainstream more than a decade ago with systems such as the first Intel Macs and computers pre-loaded with Windows Vista. UEFI offers more advanced options than BIOS, with support for features such as a graphical user interface and mouse support, making it easier to configure boot and hardware settings.

GPT – GUID or Global Unique Identifier Partition Table, is the successor to MBR and is an integral part of modern UEFI systems for booting Windows. If you are using a drive that’s larger than 2 TBs, GPT is recommended.

Create Partitions in Windows 10

 

There are a few ways to create a partition in Windows 10; you can use the operating system's built in Disk Management utility, Disk Part from the command line, or a third party program.

It is recommended that you suspend BitLocker Drive Encryption before making changes to your partition.

Press Windows key + X and click Disk Management. Select the drive, right click it then click Shrink Volume to create a new logical partition.

Your ability to shrink the partition will depend on certain factors. According to Windows:

You cannot shrink a volume beyond the point where any unmovable files are located.

There is more than 2 GB of free space available to shrink, so what's blocking that? This can be attributed to a number of factors. Files on the drive such as your hibernation file, page file, or shadow copy files used by System Restore and Previous versions might be in locations on the drive that cannot be moved. You can temporarily disable all three in order to shrink the drive to the desired size.

To disable hibernation, click Start, type: CMD, right click CMD then click Run as administrator. At the command prompt type the following:

powercfg -h off

Then hit Enter, exit the command prompt and restart your computer.

To disable System Protection, click Start, type: CMD, right click CMD then click Run as administrator. At the command prompt type the following:

Disable-ComputerRestore -Drive C:

Then hit Enter, exit the command prompt and restart your computer.

To disable Pagefile, click Start, type: CMD, right click CMD then click Run as administrator. At the command prompt type each of the following commands then hit Enter:

wmic computersystem set AutomaticManagedPagefile=False

wmic pagefileset where name=”C:\\pagefile.sys” delete

Exit the command prompt and restart your computer.

Open Disk Management again, right-click the partition, then click Shrink. Choose the amount of space you would like to allocate for the partition, then click Shrink.

This will create a new unallocated partition within Disk Management; it is not usable until you initialize it. Right-click the partition then click New Simple Volume...

Click Next.

You have the option to shrink the partition even further to create additional partitions. Click Next.

You can assign an available drive letter so that the partition will be mounted in File Explorer. Click Next.

You can give the volume a label so it can be easily recognized. You also have the option of choosing another file system such as FAT or FAT32. Click Next.

Click Finish to apply changes.

Your new partition will show up in Disk Management and File Explorer as a local drive. You can store files there or even redirect your personal folders there.

If you disabled your hibernation, page file, or system protection make sure you re-enable them all in an administrator command prompt:

  • Enable hibernation: powercfg -h on
  • Enable system protection: Enable-ComputerRestore -Drive C:
  • Enable pagefile: wmic computersystem set AutomaticManagedPagefile=True

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