We have had several articles mention partitioning in order to upgrade your OS. In looking back at our articles, I discovered we apparently have not made a step by step article in how to create partitions for more current operating systems. For partitioning in XP and earlier systems, this article will help.
Note: Although partitioning does not typically make significant changes to data on a hard drive, it is not a bad idea to run a backup before you begin, just in case something does get changed.
To start, we need to navigate to the control panel, which is typically found in your start menu (Windows 8.1 users can right click on the Windows icon in the task bar). In the control panel, click on System and Security, then look under Admin Tools. You will see something that says Create and Format Hard Drive Partitions.
This will open up your Disk Management window. You will see all of your hard drives and any partitions you already have. To partition a drive, you first have to shrink the volume. This will combine all used up parts of your hard drive and show you how much unused space you have available to use for a new partition. To shrink the volume, simply right click the hard drive you wish to partition, and click shrink volume.
This may take a few minutes while it calculates how much space is available to use. Once it is complete, you will get a window that shows how much space is available.
Notice the amounts are listed as MB. Most hard drives are now formatted as GB. There are roughly 1000 MB in 1 GB. So if you want to a partition to be 20 GB, you would need about 20,000 MB. You would enter that number in the box that says “Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB:”, and click Shrink.
Once the shrink is done, you will see a new volume listed as unallocated space in your disk management window.
Right click on the unallocated space, and select New Simple Volume. A wizard will start up guiding you through the process. On the first screen, leave the size the same as the default value. Click next.
Choose a letter for your new partition. It can be any letter you would like. Then click next.
In almost every case, use NTFS formatting on the next screen. Leave the box that says Enable file and folder compression unchecked. This is generally only needed if you are using the partition for archiving. If needed, you can always change that setting later.
That’s it! Now you have a nice clean partition to use for whatever you would like. It could be to install an OS, or you could simply use it to organize all your files. You could create multiple partitions on a single hard drive for each type of file: One partition for pictures and videos, one for your documents, one for work related files, etc. You would of course need to organize the files by moving them from one partition to the other, but after that little bit of work, you can save each file to the correct partition when you create it.