How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)

What do you do after you install the hard drive?

Partition the hard drive?

Yup!

But, why would one want to partition a hard drive?

To give the data:

  • A Better Organization
  • Improved Security
  • Convenience for backup and restore

And, above all:

Boost up the disk performance and partition the hard drive for dual-booting (run two OS’s).

So why to wait? Skim through this comprehensive guide to completely partition your hard drive.

Method 1- Partition hard drive using “Disk management” – A conventional method to partition a hard drive

Note: Follow the easy steps below to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, Windows 8, 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP – either on your PC or Laptop.

  • Head all over to Start Menu. Type “Computer Management” in the search bar of the Start menu and press enter.
  • When Computer Management opens, click on “Disk Management“.
  • By doing so, you will see all of the disks and their partitions (if any) on your computer.

In Windows XP, you will see an “Initialize and Convert Disk” Wizard Screen. Make sure to not select the “convert” the disk option, unless you are sure to

Now, choose the partition style for the selected disk.

  • If the hard drive installed is 2 Terabyte or 3 TB or 4 Tb or maybe even larger, choose GPT.
  • If it’s smaller, say 1 TB or (something) choose MBR.

Click ‘OK’.

Note: Note: If you don’t see the drive you want to partition, make sure to properly install the hard drive. For an external or portable hard drive, make sure to connect it with the computer. The following steps are then the same.

  • Now, select the drive – you want to reduce. Head over to that particular volume and right-click it.
  • Select “Shrink Volume”.

In my case, it’s the “C” drive. You may select your own – No worries.

How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)
  • Enter the size (in MB) you wish to shrink your drive to. Then click the “Shrink” button.

Remember: 1000 MB = 1 GB

Note: You can not exceed the volume limit provided in Size of available shrink space in MB section.

  • Now, select “create new simple volume” on the unallocated space.

In Windows XP, you see this option as “New Partition”.

  • A window – (New Simple Volume Wizard) will not pop-up. Choose “Next”.

In Windows XP, a “Select Partition Type” screen appears.

  • Choose Primary Partition.
  • Extended partition is helpful only if you’re creating five or more partitions on a single physical hard drive.

Select “Next” to continue.

  • Now, choose “Next” on the “Specify Volume Size” window to confirm the new partition.
  • Give your new volume a drive letter or a path step. Click “Next”.
    • Drive letter is likely used to identify and navigate to your new partition.

In my case, it’s set to default.

Now, before you can use this new partition to store data, you first have to format it.

Here’s how you can format your hard drive without formatting or without losing data

  • Click on the small little dot that says – “Format this volume with the following settings”.

For the file system choose:

  • NTFS – (New Technology File System). This is used for storing and retrieving files on a hard disk.

For Allocation unit size choose:

  • Default

Allocation unit size is also often called “cluster size”. This is because it is the smallest possible chunk of data or the block size on your hard drive.

Now, for instance, you have large or small files on your computer, each will be the size of your allocation unit. This means that even if one file grows, the file will at least increase the allocation unit size you set.

Let me put it the other way round.

If for example, you have many chunks of small files, keeping the allocation size small is a good idea. This is ultimately not waste hard drive space. Or maybe you have lots of large files, keeping the allocation size higher will increase the system performance by having fewer blocks to seek.

Therefore, using the system “default” is the best choice. But, the opinion’s yours. In this case, if you have a larger number of smaller files, a larger allocation unit size will take up your drive space slightly faster. For everyday calculations, this is not suitable.

So, it’s best to stick with the “Default” option.

For volume label:

  • Enter the name you wish to assign your new drive.

Click on “Perform a Quick Format”. Quick format means that Windows just deletes the data and changes the file system.

  • Hit “Next”.
  • Look over the settings and click “Finish” to confirm the partitioning process.

Now go back to “File Explorer” and check your new volume/partition.

You have successfully partitioned the hard drive

Method 2- Partition hard drive using cmd – A powerful method to partition a hard drive

You can partition your hard drive through dos command also. Here’s how:

  • Run “command prompt” as administrator.
  • Type “Diskpart” in there.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)
  • Type “list disk”. This will show hard disk size and free space. In disk 0, you would have some free space allocated.
  • Further, type “select disk 0”. This would mark the disk that you want to use.
  • Now, type “list volume”. This would make you show existing partitions.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)
  • Next type “create partition primary” to start with partitioning process.

Now comes the formatting part:

For that:

  • type format fs=ntfs label=(assign any label to it) quick
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)

Now, wait a while until diskpart successfully formats the volume.

  • Type “list volume” to show the new partition.

But, because the volume (2) is without a drive letter. To assign a letter to it.

  • Type “assign letter=d” or any letter that you like.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)

Now the new volume is available. You can type “list volume” to check it.

To exit diskpart, simply key in the following command:

  • “exit’

Super Simple!

Method 3- How to Use GParted to Partition Your Hard Drive

Use GParted to partition a hard drive that already has data on it.

  • Launch GParted.
  • Type in the authentication password to run GParted Partition Editor.
  • You would see different partition as the interface opens up.
  • Now, on the desired volume, right-click and select “Resize/Move”.
  • Next, specify a partition size to your new volume. Here’s how.
  • You can either drag the scroller or simply key in the size.
  • Then click “Resize/Move”.
  • Now, on the unallocated space, right-click it and select “New”.
  • To make this space useful, you have to format it first.
  • Now the final step is to click “Apply” to apply the changes. This is shown as the green tick.
  • A confirmation message appears. Click “Apply”.
  • Now to see the new partition, you can close the software program and head over to “File Explorer”. On the left pane you can see your new partition.

Easy!

Best hard disk partition software’s for Windows

After installing windows you can either use disk management or disk partition manager software’s to partition the hard disk and these third-party tools are helpful. In-fact, these are the 3 best hard disk partition managers” for windows that are super easy to use!

Use “AOMEI” to partition a hard drive – A powerful disk management software

  • Launch AOMEI. Right-click the drive you want to reduce and select “Create Partition”.
  • On the appearing window, navigate to and select “Advanced”.
  • Assign information to your new drive.
  • Here’s how you can do it:
  1. For the file system, choose preferably – (NTFS).
  2. For partition type, choose (logical) or (primary).
  3. Specify the size to the volume by “dragging the edge circle rightwards or leftwards”.
  4. Assign a drive letter to it and click “OK”.

You can click “Apply” to preview the new created partition/volume.

Use MiniTool Partition Wizard to partition a hard drive – Best free partition software

  • Launch Minitool partition wizard.
  • Select the unallocated space and click “Create Partition” from the left menu.
  • Right-click the unallocated space and choose “create” from the list menu.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)

Now comes the formatting part:

  • Assign your new drive a partition label.
  • Give it a partition type.
  • Assign a drive letter, file system, cluster size and partition volume.
  • Allot the drive a partition location and partition alignment method.

Now, here are few things to take account of:

  • Newer Microsoft OS versions and Linux use the “MB” alignment by default. Therefore, let it be “default”. On the flip side, Windows XP and Windows Vista potentially align the partition to “cylinder”.
  • For a logical partition aligning to cylinder:
  1. There will be 8MB unallocated space.
  • For a primary partition which is a bootable partition:
  1. There won’t be 8MB unallocated space.

Now, with no changes, continue by keeping all the parameters as “default”.

  • Hit “OK”.
  • You can now preview the new partition and click “Apply” button to confirm the process.

Use “EaseUS partition manager” to partition a hard drive – Safest partition management software

  • Launch “EaseUS partition manager”. It is also one of the best disk partition software that effortlessly works for windows.
  • Right-click on the unallocated space on your hard disk or external storage device and select “Create”.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)

Now, format the hard drive, before you can use it to store data.

Assign your new drive a file system, label and size etc.

  • Click “OK” to proceed.
  • Confirm your new partition by clicking “Execute Operation” button. Then click “Apply”.

Simple enough!

How to re-partition a hard drive on windows 10

The process of re-partitioning a hard drive is much easier. In-fact it is the same as partitioning the hard drive. All it involves is a two-step process:

  • Shrink the drive
  • Allocate the new partition the volume size, file format, drive letter, etc. 

All that you have just learned so far!

How to partition a hard drive on your macOS without erasing data

Important: As a precaution, back up your data to not erase the information stored.

Whether you use macbook air or macbook pro, the process involved – is the same.

  • Head over to “Finder”.
  • On the following window that appears, navigate to “Applications”.
  • Now, move your cursor over to “Disk Utility”.
  • On the following window, navigate to and double-click “Disk Utility”.
  • Shift your cursor to the left pane of disk utility and select your hard drive. It might be named “Fusion,” or “Macintosh HD.”
  • Highlight it and click on the “Partition tab”.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)
  • By doing so, a new window will appear which will show all your partition into your mac device.
  • Now, move straight down to click the plus sign (+) to create the partition.

Change the size of the partition you wish to use by simply dragging the resize control.

Now, under partition information:

  • Name your new partition or volume.
  • Specify a file system format. To do so, you’ll preferably choose “APFS” if you’re running macOS 10.13 or higher. In-case, its macOS 10.12 or older, go for “Mac OS Extended”.
  • Click “Apply”.
How to Partition a hard disk drive on (Windows & macOS)
  • A confirmation window will now appear. Just click “Partition”. Disk Utility will check the disk and make changes. This might take some long – Don’t worry.

Now, you can go back to “Finder” to see the new partition. This way you can partition apple hard drive.

Easy right?

How to create a partition on your Time Machine external hard drive

By doing this, you have a dedicated partition for file storage, and a dedicated partition for your Time Machine backups.

  • Head over to Finder.
  • Verify the location of your Backups.backupdb folder. This folder contains the backups of your Time Machine.
  • Now, open Disk Utility and select your external disk.
  • Move over to “partition” tab.
  • Click on the “+” sign to add the partition.
  • Now, use the drag handle in between the partition to resize them. To make it more efficient leave 2-4 times the size of your Mac installation and all of its data.
  • Assign a name to make your storage obvious.
  • Click “Apply” to get done with the partition.

Now, once it done, you’ll now have two disks show up in Finder:

  • Your original disk which contains Time Machine backups folder.
  • Your new file storage that stores data on your external drive.

Hence, you can now enjoy the use of your external drive to the fullest.

How to Partition Seagate External Hard Drive

A Seagate external hard drive is pre-formatted with one NTFS partition, limiting its usefulness for some users. Yet, it can be divided into as many partitions as you wish with either Macintosh or Windows partition schemes and file systems.

Windows Disk Management:

  • Insert the Seagate external hard drive into the spare port on the computer.
  • Head-over to “Start” menu button.
  • Open “control panel”.
  • Open “Administrator Tools” > “Computer Management” > “Disk Management”.
  • Now, right-click the unallocated space on the Seagate external hard drive.
  • Click “New Simple Volume”.
  • After clicking “Next”; assign the new volume a partition size ( in MB ). Click “Next”.
  • Assign also a drive letter to the new partition. Click “Next”
  • Now, comes the formatting part: Its all the same!
  • Go with the “Default” settings. Click “Next” and follow the series of prompts to complete the partition process.

Macintosh Disk Utility

  • Plugin the Seagate external hard drive to you mac computer and launch “Disk Utility” program.
  • Select the hard drive from the list.
  • Click “Partition” and select the number of the partition you want to create on the Seagate drive from the “Volume Scheme” drop-down menu.
  • Now, enter a name for each partition, select a format and assign a partition size to it.
  • Click the “partition” button to begin the partitioning process

You’re good now.

But here a big problem:

Most users shout out that their seagate hard drive is not accessible or not showing.

In this case:

You can perform basic troubleshooting steps:

  • Try connecting the drive to a different port on the computer.
  • If possible, try using a different cable.
  • Try using the drive on a different computer.
  • Verify the drive light is on. Desktop Drives typically require a power adapter. No light could indicate the power adapter is not connected to power.
  • Try a different power outlet. (Desktop Drives)
  • If using a surge protector or power strip, plug the power adapter directly into the wall outlet instead. (Desktop Drives).

For advanced troubleshooting, you can head over to seagate support.

Now, over to you.

What exact method from today’s guide helped you partition the hard drive?

Is it the use of disk management or command prompt? Or did you use a partition management software?

Or maybe, you have a question about a strategy or technique from the guide.

Either way, I’d like to hear what you say.