How To Partition a Laptop Hard Drive

Partitioning a laptop hard drive is becoming an increasingly important task as viruses become more common and malware can be hiding in simple downloads and seemingly harmless files. Partitioning a hard drive can keep your files separate so that when an attack requires you to reformat your drive, your important files aren’t easily lost and easily retrievable. Likewise, it gives you the freedom to have more than one type of operating system in your machine in case your programs have OS incompatibilities. If you want to know how to partition a laptop hard drive, here are the things you need to do.

  • Save the files from an existing hard drive. If you’re using a laptop with an old hard drive, you need to reformat it before you can partition it. Doing a reformatting involves deleting your old files, so make sure that you either back up your files in CDs or DVDs, or save them to an external hard drive. Make a list of the programs you have previously installed and make sure that you have the installers for them as well. It’s a hassle if you don’t have the programs you normally need just because you don’t have the necessary means to install them.
  • Install the OS or reformat the drive. If you’re using a brand new laptop or reformatting an existing drive, partition the hard drive while you’re installing the operating system. Insert the operating system CD and boot from it. Let the contents run for a few minutes and accept the Terms of Agreement. You’ll eventually see a screen that shows the allowable size of your hard drive and the option to create a partition. You can create a number of partitions based on your requirements. If using an old drive, you’ll need to delete the existing partition first before you can make new ones. Most people stick to only two partitions, one for their installed programs, and the other one for their files. Don’t make the main partition’s size too small as the efficiency of your machine may be affected as the usage maximizes.
  • Make the partition for the new drive. Select Create Partition. Identify the size of the drive you want to create for your main partition. Afterwards, continue formatting this drive or installing the operating system on it.
  • Complete the OS installation. Finish the OS installation. This means setting up your time zone, accounts, and other preferences. Once you are able to log in successfully to your account, you can then start formatting your other partition to make it usable.
  • Format the rest of the partition. Most operating systems already have a built-in feature to partition drives like Windows XP. If that’s what you have, right click on your My Computer and click Manage. Click Disk Management under Storage. There you’ll see the available drives and partitions on your system. Just right click on the empty partition you set aside earlier and click partition. You can use this same step if you’re planning to add additional partitions in the future, as long as the additional space you want for the partition isn’t from your main partition.

Partitioning your laptop hard drive is easy. Just make sure that you have available space to spare and the installers ready in case you need to reformat your drive.


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