PARTITION  (SPLIT)  A  HARD  DRIVE

In this section I am going to show you how to create a new Logical Drive on your existing hard drive. The physical hard drive inside your computer is normally split up into two logical drives, named SYSTEM and DATA for example, that are usually assigned the letters C and D respectively. Therefore giving you the SYSTEM (C:) logical drive and the DATA (D:) logical drive. You can have a physical hard drive inside your computer that consists purely of one SYSTEM (C:) logical drive but most manufacturers these days prefer to split the physical drive into two logical drives before selling the computer.

The advantage of this means they can install Windows 7 on the SYSTEM (C:) logical drive, alongside Third-Party Softwares, and then put the Restore and/or Backup folders/files onto the DATA (D:) logical drive. This in turn means your security software does not necessarily need to scan the DATA (D:) logical drive for viruses and so on, therefore lightening its scanning process.


Just to clarify what I am talking about here. If you have a physical hard drive inside your computer of size 160 Gigabytes, for example, it will normally of been split into two 80 Gigabytes logical drives instead of one 160 Gigabytes logical drive. In this section I am going to show you how to split a logical drive into two logical drives - The DATA (D:) logical drive into two logical drives. DATA (D:) and STORAGE (F:). So the DATA (D:) logical drive will be shrunk in order to create storage space for the new STORAGE (F:) logical drive, which can then be used to store person folders/files or whatever.

Begin the partition (splitting) process by first opening the Control Panel window and then click on the ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS icon (control panel/program) to open the Administrative Tools window (Fig 1.1). This reveals the low-level tools (important, but advanced sub control panels) associated with using the Administrator account. Do not let this scare you! I am merely pointing out that with these control panels you have to know what you are doing. If you do not feel confident enough to continue with this lesson STOP NOW!



Fig 1.0  Click on the ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS icon to continue




Fig 1.1  Double click on the COMPUTER MANAGEMENT icon to continue

With the Administrative Tools window open, revealing the advanced sub control panels, continue by double clicking on the COMPUTER MANAGEMENT icon (Fig 1.1 above). It might bring up a UAC (User Account Control) Security Requester similar to the following, but this depends on the setup of your security settings and so on. If it does appear simply click on its CONTINUE button to continue.



Fig 1.2  Click on the CONTINUE button to continue

User Account Control (UAC) is a feature of Windows 7 that helps to prevent unauthorized changes to the computer, such as deleting a system file or creating a hard drive partition. When attempting to create a hard drive partition the UAC security requester above automatically blocks you off, because it wants to know if you are the one attempting to create a hard drive partition and not a piece of malicious software for example. In the above case simply click on the CONTINUE button to continue. After clicking on the CONTINUE button the Computer Management window will appear.



Fig 1.3  Click on an existing logical drive (i.e. the C drive or D drive) that you want to split (partition into two storage areas)

When the Computer Management window appears (above) its mid-section (middle window pane) will not look like the mid-section shown above. This is because you need to go to the left-hand-side window pane first and click on its DISK MANAGEMENT button, under the STORAGE category. Once you have done that the mid-section (middle window pane) will look like the mid-section shown above. From there. Locate the existing logical drives, under the Volumes heading in the mid-section, and then select the logical drive you want to split (partition) into two logical drives (two storage areas).

In this example I have two logical drives to choose from. The C logical drive (called SYSTEM) and the D logical drive (called DATA). SYSTEM contains Windows Vista and Third-Party Softwares and DATA contains Windows 7. In some computers, as said above, the D (DATA) logical drive can also contain Windows backup files and/or Windows Restore folders/files. The D (DATA) logical drive might even be called something like RESTORE instead. So be extra careful when splitting up a logical drive that contains these important folders and files.



Fig 1.4  Click on the SHRINK VOLUME sub-menu menu-item to continue

After selecting a logical drive to split (partition) into two logical drives (two separate storage areas) click on the ACTIONS menu and scroll down the menu-items until you reach the ALL TASKS sub-menu. From there, click on the SHRINK VOLUME sub-menu menu-item to bring up the Shrink window (below). Volume is just a word, used like Album, to describe a Logical Drive, a CD Player or Flash Drive for example.

The SHRINK VOLUME process allows you to shrink the size of an existing logical drive (volume) so that its remaining space can be used to create a new logical drive. So in this example I have selected the D logical drive (called DATA) that is 70.94 Gigabytes (72,642 Megabytes) in size with only 52.6 Gigabytes (56,556 Megabytes) of available space simply because I already have data (Windows 7 and Third Party software) stored on it. Therefore. I can either uninstall some of the third party software to give me more available space or I can use the 52.6 Gigabytes already available. If I had the 70.94 Gigabytes available I could shrink the D logical drive down to 35.47 Gigabytes for example and then create a new logical drive with the remaining 35.47 Gigabytes. However. In this example I have opted to leave my existing data (Windows 7 and Third Party software) on the D logical drive and just use the 52.6 Gigabytes available.

It will work out the same though because the size of the data already stored on the D logical drive (18.2 Gigabytes or 19,605 Megabytes) is automatically added to the shrunken logical drive. For example. With 52.6 Gigabytes (56,556 Megabytes) of available space I can allocate 29.45 Gigabytes (30,164 Megabytes) of that available space to the new logical drive, leaving 23.15 Gigabytes (23,705 Megabytes) of available space to the D logical drive. Therefore. The D logical drive will be made up of 23.15 Gigabytes (23,705 Megabytes) of available space plus its existing usage of 18.2 Gigabytes (19,605 Megabytes) equalling 41.35 Gigabytes (42,342 Megabytes) in total. So 41.35 Gigabytes (the D logical drive) + 29.45 Gigabytes (the new logical drive) = 70.80 Gigabytes (the size of the D logical drive before its split). The other 0.14 was taken for system/partition use, which then equals 70.94 GigaBytes and makes the D logical drive actually 41.48 GigaBytes (42.479 MegaBytes). Hopefully you understood all that! Anyway. The only thing you really need to concentrate on is how much available space to give the new logical drive.



Fig 1.5  New logical drive will be 30,164 MB (29.45 GB) - Current D logical drive will be shrunk to 42,479 MB (41.48 GB).

In Fig 1.5 above I have followed the just mentioned sizes. One thing to note here is that the numbers are slightly different because of the way the system using some space for its own, indexing, needs. So I actually have 29.45 Gigabytes (30,164 Megabytes) of available space. Either way, I am still allocating that whole amount of 30,164 Megabytes to the new logical drive. This will shrink the current D logical drive down to 42,479 Megabytes in total, which includes its existing usage space, with all existing data (Windows 7 and Third Party software) left intact (not deleted). When you have entered a size for the new logical drive (i.e. 30164) inside the AMOUNT OF SPACE TO SHRINK edit box click on the SHRINK button to continue. Doing so will shrink the current D logical drive and then allocate the space you requested to the new logical drive.


At this point your requested space has only been allocated for the new logical drive, but that space is not actually a logical drive yet. To turn it into a logical drive it needs to be formatted and given a letter. This is done for you by the New Simple Volume Wizard (Fig 1.7 below). To start the wizard you need to right click on the logical drive, know at this point as an Unallocated Space, and then select the NEW SIMPLE VOLUME menu-item from the menu that appears. From there. Follow the wizard (Figures 1.7 to 1.10) leaving all of its settings/options alone. Just click on the NEXT, NEXT, NEXT and FINISH buttons respectively.



Fig 1.6  Right click on the Unallocated Space and then select the NEW SIMPLE VOLUME menu-item to continue




Fig 1.7  Click on the NEXT button to continue




Fig 1.8  Leave the settings alone - Just click on the NEXT button to continue




Fig 1.9  Use the LETTER drop-down menu to change the new logical drive's letter, (currently F), if need be.




Fig 1.10  Change the VOLUME LABEL (new logical drive's name), if need be - I changed it to Storage in this example.




Fig 1.11  Click on the FINISH button to continue

After clicking on the FINISH button (above) the newly created logical drive (F logical drive in this example) will be formatted ready for use and work just the same as the C logical drive for example. You can store data on it, install software on it and install a new operating system on it. In my case I have Windows Vista on the C logical drive and Windows 7 on the D logical drive. I could therefore put the Linux operating system on the new F logical drive if I wanted to or just leave it for storage purposes. This is the beauty of partitioning a hard drive.

If you do not like the letter assigned to the logical drive, for whatever reason(s), you can use the LETTER drop-down menu to change it (Fig 1.9 above). The same applies to the name of the logical drive. You can change it by entering a new name into VOLUME LABEL edit box (Fig 1.10 above). In this example I left the logical drive's letter alone, as F, but changed its name from New Volume to Storage.



Fig 1.12  Formatting (erasing any existing data from) the newly created F logical drive




Fig 1.13  The newly created F logical drive, with its name Storage, is ready for use.

So that is how you split (partition), or sub-partition if you like, an existing logical drive. To delete the logical drive you would right click over it, from within the Computer Management window, and then select the DELETE VOLUME menu-item; and basically undo what you have just done. Remember. If you are not confident with partitions DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS LESSON. Use a Partition Manager software instead.