What is a Partition Complete Guide with Details

what is partitionWhat is a partition ? It’s like a division or a “Part” of something. But in a hard disk drive we mean the partition as logical separation of whole drive into small parts.But it reflects as multiple physical hard drives.

Partitions are also referred as extended, active , logical and primary partitions, or sometimes disk partitions and when you use the word drive with it means a partition of drive with letter assigned.

How Do You Partition a Hard Drive

In Windows you have Disk Management Tool for the basic hard drive partitioning.See out detailed guide on how to partition a hard drive in windows for each version of windows.

Special Partition management software make it possible to do advance partition management like shrinking partitions, expanding, joining partitions etc. which are not possible by windows.Get sticked to learn more about different types of partitions and purpose of creating them.

Have a look at the Best External Hard Drive buyer’s guide.

What is Purpose of a Partition

The purpose of making partitions of a hard drive or dividing it into partitions can be useful in different ways but the basic purpose is to make the drive available for operating system.

Let’s say you are installing a windows operating system on your machine part of process is to define a partition of the hard drive where the windows will designate.This area is used by windows to store all of its files.And this primary partition is typically called as C drive in windows.

Sometimes windows automatically make other partitions of hard drive during its installation while making C drive, and also assign the drive letters to partitions.Like in windows 10 a recovery partition is installed with tools called Advanced Startup Options to help you fix the problems occurring in C.

The other reason is multiple operating systems on the one hard drive,which allows you to select your desired operating system while at the booting time in the start also called dual booting.So you have options to work in Windows 10, Linux, Windows 7 or any other different operating systems.

For running multiple operating systems you need more than one partitions because the OS will view the partitions as separate drive, to avoid issues with each other.You can avoid multiple hard drive just for option of bootimg a desired operating system only due to the partitions.

The partitions on hard drives also help manage files.While the physical hard drive is only one but having multiple partitions allows you the separation of data types like photos, videos, software and downloads can have their own specific partition or they can also be in the same partition but in different folders.

The best feature of partitioning the drive is that if you want to share your computer drive with someone you can only share the desired drive which contains specific data that you want to share only. Thanks to the user management features of Windows.

Another common reason for the creation of partition can be to separate the OS files from your personal Data.While you are having your personal data on a different drive if your window crashes your data on the other drives will remain safe and protected but all the data in the window drive will be gone forever.

This personal data partition triggers that create a mirror image of a working copy of system partition using a best backup software.Which will make you two separate backups, one for your personal data and one for your in-working-order operating system and both can be restored independently.

Primary , Logical and Extended Partitions.

A partition with Operating system installed on it is called primary partition.The partition table is a portion of master boot record allows 4 maximum primary partitions on one hard drive.You might have guessed that 4 primary partitions means 4 different operating systems can be installed on a hard drive and it will become quad-booted on a same hard drive, but only one of the primary partition will be allows to stay active at a time , which will be the OS by default get booted.This is called as active partition.

One of the four primary partitions can be assigned as an extended partition.Which means a computer can have 4 primary partitions or one extended with three primary partitions.Keep in mind that the extended partition cannot store data in it but it’s a primary partition holder or container which(primary partition) do contains data, and are called logical partitions.

Are you still there ?

A disk can contains logical drive of no limit means unlimited logical drives, but they are limited for user data not for OS like with Primary partition.A logical partition is used for storing media, movies, photos and files etc.

Let’s say a hard drive with an active primary partition containing windows, and few logical partitions with data like files, media on them simple.

More About Partitions

Before you start storing data on the partitions it’s compulsory to format the hard drive and setup it’s file system. Partitions appear like separate drives so they have their own identity in form of drive letters. Like C drive having windows on it.Check out the guide of how to change drive letters in windows.

Normally, when in a same partition a file is moved from one folder to another only a reference to the file location is changed.Means the file transfer is very fast or instant. Whereas, moving files from one partition to another is like moving data from one hard drive to another and in this way the actual data is moved not the references, also it takes more than to transfer as compared within the partition.

Also the partitions can be password protected, hidden and encrypted for your safety and data security.

External Hard Drive Tasks that can be helpful for you are

How to change external hard drive letter
How to partition a Hard Drive
How to Wipe a Hard Drive
How to Clone a Hard Drive
How to format a hard drive

Adam Barton. A Tech geek and hardware engineer.Started 17oxen to provide unbiased reviews in the form of Top 10 Lists.

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