How to partition the hard drive in Windows and macOS

Updated: June 09, 2023
6 min read
How to partition the hard drive in Windows and macOS
by Hanna Finley
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Storing OS components in the same place as entertainment content is not a good idea.

Before we start

Save your time and let professionals resolve your issue in minutes!
Want to start solving your problem immediately? Experienced Howly troubleshooters can fix your issue ASAP. They’re already waiting for you in the chat!

The benefits you’ll get while troubleshooting your issue with Howly experts:

    • Qualified help with laptops HDD
    • Quick advice right in your device 24/7/365
    • Expert reply within 60 seconds
    • Clear step-by-step guidance
    • Limitless number of follow-up questions
    • Understanding and empathetic help till your laptop HDD issue is fully resolved
    • All answers you need in one place

The physical drive appears in the system as virtual volumes, also called local drives or partitions. The drive can be a single volume that holds all the disk space and stores all your files. Or it can be divided into several volumes, with all available space and files distributed among them.

The first option is widespread but not the most practical. Keeping OS components in the same place as movies, games, and other entertainment content is not a good idea. You or other computer users might accidentally mess up essential files. And if the system fails and needs to be reinstalled, the rest of the volume's contents will be deleted along with the old OS.

Fortunately, it is always possible to partition a drive into two or more partitions.

In general, the procedure is as follows: you take some space from an existing volume and use it to create a new one.

For example, you can leave the volume with the installed operating system of about 40-50 GB and allocate the rest of the space to a new partition dedicated to programs and entertainment content. In this case, system and personal files will be stored separately. And if you have to reinstall the system, your content will remain on the computer.

Be sure to copy important files to other media before partitioning the drive. Your personal data should not be affected, but it is better to take precautions.

The listed separation methods are suitable for both drives: traditional (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD).

1. How to partition a disk in Windows

With internal tools

  1. For partitioning and other drive operations, Windows has a standard Disk Management utility. To open it, right-click on the This Computer shortcut and select ManageDisk Management. You can launch the utility even faster using a special command: press Windows + R, type diskmgmt.msc in the field, and click OK.
  2. In the Disk Management window, you will see a list of local volumes (partitions) into which your drive is partitioned. Among them may be hidden system partitions that do not appear in Explorer. This is normal, don't pay any attention to them.
  3. Right-click the volume you want to split in the bottom half of the window and select the Compress volume option.
  4. Then specify the amount of data you want to allocate to the new volume and confirm the compression.
  5. As a result, the screen will display a specified amount of free space available for the new partition next to the selected volume. Right-click on this area and select Create Simple Volume.
  6. If you have Windows XP, the compression option will probably not be available. Then simply right-click on the one you want to partition and select New Partition. The following steps will be about the same for all OS versions.
  7. When the New Volume Wizard appears on the screen, follow its prompts.
  8. In the process, you will need to select a partition letter and label (name). When the wizard prompts you to format the disk, select the NTFS system and confirm your choice. After formatting, the created volume will appear in Explorer. If it does not, reboot your computer.

In the same way, you can partition the disk in the future by adding new volumes.

In a third-party program

banner 3

If you cannot partition the disk using the standard Windows means, try to do it with one of the third-party programs. For example, MiniTool Partition Wizard. It is free, compatible with all versions of Windows from XP to 10, and quite simple.

  1. To partition the disk in MiniTool Partition Wizard, select the appropriate volume and click Move/Resize Partition in the left panel. In the Unallocated Space After field in the window that appears, specify the amount of free space that will be taken from the current volume in favor of the new one. Click OK.
  2. A new unnamed partition labeled Unallocated will appear in the program's main menu. Right-click on it and select Create. In the next window, fill in the Drive Letter and Partition Label fields, choose NTFS as the file system, and click OK.
  3. Back in the MiniTool Partition Wizard main menu, click Apply on the top panel to apply the changes. The computer will restart, and white text will be displayed on a black screen. Wait, and do not turn off the device. When Windows boots, the created volume will appear in Explorer.

2. How to partition a hard drive in macOS

partition a hard drive in macOS
  1. If you have a Mac, you need the preinstalled Disk Utility program to partition the drive. It can be found under Finder → Programs → Utilities.
  2. Launch Disk Utility, select the disk you want to partition in the left pane, and click the Partition button.
  3. A window with further instructions will appear on the screen where you can select the number, size, and other parameters of the new partitions.

When you have made all the necessary settings, click Apply and wait for the changes to take effect.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Mac OS problem

No comments yet...

What about starting a discussion? Be the first to share your thoughts!

Write a comment

Trusted & Secured

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, and analyze site traffic.
More info