Creating and Formatting a Partition

You can only create primary partitions, extended partitions and logical drives on basic disks. You must be a member of the local Administrators group or the Backup Operators group, or have the necessary authority delegated to you (if you are working within an Active Directory environment) to create, modify or delete basic volumes.

You can create up to four primary partitions on a basic disk or up to three primary partitions and one extended partition. You can use the free space in an extended partition to create multiple logical drives. You can extend a basic partition, but it must be formatted as NTFS, it must be adjacent to contiguous unallocated space on the same physical disk, and it can be extended only onto unallocated space that resides on the same physical disk. If these requirements are met, you can perform the extension using the diskpart.exe command-line utility.

You can use the diskpart.exe command-line tool to create or delete a partition or logical drive.

  1. Select Start > Administrative Tools > Computer Management. Expand the Storage folder to see the Disk Management utility.
  1. Right-click an area of free space and choose the New Partition option from the pop-up menu.
  1. The Welcome To The New Partition Wizard dialog box appears. Click Next to continue.
  1. The Select Partition Type dialog box appears. Select the type of partition you want to create: primary, extended, or logical drive (you will only see logical drive as an active choice if you have already created an extended partition). Click the Primary Partition radio button, then click Next.
  1. The Specify Partition Size dialog box appears. Here, you can specify the maximum partition size, up to the amount of free disk space that is recognized. Use whatever free space you have and then click Next.
  1. The AssignDrive Letter Or Path dialog box appears. You can specify a drive letter, mount the partition as an empty folder, or choose not to assign a drive letter or drive path. If you choose to mount the volume as an empty folder, you can have an unlimited number of volumes, avoiding the drive-letter limitation. Accept the default drive letter, then click Next.
  1. The Format Partition dialog box appears, allowing you to choose whether or not you will format the partition. If you choose to format the volume, you can format it as FAT32 or NTFS. You can also select the allocation unit size, enter a volume label, specify a quick format, or choose to enable file and folder compression. Accept the default value to format as NTFS, leaving the other settings as their defaults and click Next.
  1. The Completing The Create Partition Wizard dialog box appears. Verify your selections. If you need to change any of them, click the Back button to reach the appropriate dialog box. Otherwise, click the Finish button.

The process for creating partitions (on basic disks) and creating volumes (on dynamic disks) is very similar. You right-click an area of free space on a dynamic disk and select the Create Volume option, and the Create Volume Wizard starts and displays a series of dialog boxes to guide you through the process of creating a partition:

  • The Select Volume Type dialog box allows you to select the type of volume you want to create. Options include simple volume, spanned volume, striped volume, mirrored volume, or RAID-5 volume.
  • The Select Disks dialog box allows you to select the disks and the size of the volume that is being created.
  • The Assign Drive Letter or Path dialog box allows you to assign a drive letter or a drive path. There is also an option to not assign a drive letter or path, but if you choose this option, users will not be able to access the volume.
  • The Format Volume dialog box lets you specify whether or not you want to format the volume. If you choose to format the volume, you can select the file system, allocation unit size, and volume label. You can also choose to perform a quick format and to enable drive compression (which makes the drive a compressed drive).

Next: Disk Properties