How do I set up a hard drive and partition in Windows?
Unlike earlier versions of Windows, such as Windows 98, the fdisk command is no longer used to set up partitions. If you've installed a new hard drive on a computer that is running Windows or want to change its partitions, use the Windows Disk Management tool. However, if you still prefer a command line interface to set up drives, you can use the diskpart command.
Users may also set up partitions during the Windows installation process. For further assistance with installing Windows, see: How to install the Microsoft Windows operating system.
To set up a new hard drive or partitions in Windows, you must have administrative rights.
How to open Disk Management
Windows 10, 8, and 7
Windows XP and 2000
How to set up a new drive
- The Windows Disk Management tool should look similar to the image above. Any disks not yet set up will be shown as Not Initialized and Unallocated.
- Right-click on the disk you want to set up select Initialize Disk. If you are dealing with a disk that has already been set up, skip to the next section.
If you're running a more recent version of Windows that supports GPT, you'll be prompted to select a Partition Style. For most users, leaving as MBR will be sufficient. If you're setting up a drive or partition larger than 2 TB or want to use the latest partitioning style, select GPT.
- Click the button.
How to create a partition
If you are unfamiliar with any of the terminologies in the following steps, the next section should be helpful to you.
- Once the drive is initialized, right-click on it.
- Select New Partition or New Simple Volume from the drop-down menu that appears.
- A New Simple Volume Wizard opens. Click the button.
- Specify the size of the partition you'd like to create. Click the button.
- Select a drive letter for your new partition. Click the button.
- Ensure the drive format is NTFS, change the volume's name (optional), and then click the button.
- Click the button and your new partition appears.
Further information on partitions
Partition or Volume Size - By default, the size will be the maximum capacity in MB of the drive. If you want the drive to have multiple partitions, change the size to that which you desire. The remainder of the drive can be allocated later and, if you specify the maximum size, you can also shrink this size at a later time.
Drive letter or Path - Each drive or partition in Windows can be assigned an available drive letter. Most Windows users prefer this setting. However, versions of Windows which support NTFS can also mount a drive to a folder on an existing drive. If you plan on using the drive to store only a specific type of file, such as pictures, music, or programs, this can be especially useful.
Format - The format of the drive specifies the type of file system you want to use on the computer. For most users, we highly recommend leaving it at the default NTFS file system. Other options may include FAT32 or exFAT depending on your version of Windows.