Partitioning a Drive in Windows 7

Partitioning a drive in Windows is relatively simple if you have unallocated space. It is just a matter of opening up the disk manager and adding a new partition.

If you have already allocated the available space to existing partitions and wish to change this, you will need to shrink an existing volume in order to create space for your new partition. Read on to learn how.

How to shrink a volume in Windows 7

First we need to access the disk management tool. To do this, type "diskmgmt.msc" into the quick search box and you will see the following window.

disk management in windows 7

In this example you can see the primary volume C: and the partitioned drives of D: and E: consuming the remaining space. In order to create our new partition, we need to shrink one of the volumes, in this case we will shrink D: as it consumes less space.

Right-click on the volume to shrink and select "Shrink Volume".

shrink volume

After selecting "Shrink Volume", you will see a dialog that shows existing space on the volume and the maximum amount that you can shrink the volume.

There is a total of 132GB of shrink space. However, we only want 30GB for our new partition, so we enter this amount. The amount must be entered as MB, so put in a value of 30000. The existing drive D: will be approximately 115GB after the shrink is performed. We now click "Shrink".

The shrink function may take up to a few minutes to complete. After it is done, you will see the free space in the disk manager, it is represented by the light green bar.

shrink volume in disk manager

Now we want to create the new partition in this free space. Simply right-click anywhere in the new free space section and select "New Simple Volume".

disk management

After selecting "New Simple Volume", a simple volume wizard dialog will appear. Just click "Next" to begin the wizard. On the following screen, select the size you want to allocate for the new volume. In this example we are using all available space.

disk management

Click "Next" and select which drive you wish to use for the new volume.

disk manager

Click "Next" and on the following dialog, you need to choose if you want to format the volume and the volume label. We recommend that you use the default values of "NTFS". We have given the volume a label of "Music" as this is where we will be storing all of our music files.

partition a drive

After you have filled out these details, click "Next" and the click "Finish". The formatting may take a few minutes depending on volume size etc. In our example, the formatting completed in under 10 seconds. As you can see below, the new partition is now created and ready to use.

disk manager

The new drive can also be seen from Windows Explorer:

disk manager

Disk partitioning is now quite easy in Windows 7 and in most cases you won't need any third party tools.

Want to learn how to remove a partition, read this article.