How to Manage Partitions with the Disk Management Tool, in Windows

Both Windows 8 and Windows 7 come with a handy disk management utility that allows you to create, resize and delete hard disk partitions on the fly, without having to boot into a special disk utility or purchase additional software. In this tutorial, I'll demonstrate how to use the Disk Management utility in order to manage your partitions. As you will be able to see from this tutorial, the tool is quite easy to use and you don't really need third party software.

How to Access Disk Management in Windows 7 & Windows 8

To access the Disk Management utility you will first have to open the Computer Management. To do so, follow the steps from How to Find Computer Management section found in this tutorial: Reasons Why Computer Management Is My Favorite Administrative Tool.

Once you've opened Disk Management, look on the left-hand side and select Disk Management in the Storage section.

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

In the Disk Management section, you'll see the right-hand side of the window populate with your disk information, showing you the name, size, and type of each partition for the disks on your system.

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

Please keep in mind that the Disk Management utility can only manage file systems compatible with Windows operating systems, such as FAT16/FAT32 and NTFS. While it can see other types of partitions, such as ones created and formatted by Linux or other operating systems, it can only delete them. For more information on partition types, please see: Wikipedia's page on File Systems.

How to Delete a Disk Partition with Disk Management

In some cases you'll want to remove a partition from your hard drive, either to make space to extend an existing partition, or redo the partition, but with a different size or file system.

To remove a partition, right-click or tap and hold the partition you're trying to remove and then click or tap "Delete Volume".

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

You'll be prompted to confirm your choice, to make you aware that if you remove the partition all data on it will be erased. Therefore, please make sure you've backed up any critical data on that partition prior to clicking or tapping Yes.

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

You'll now see the deleted partition showing as "Free space" or Unallocated in the Disk Management utility.

How to Create a Disk Partition with Disk Management

If you do have "free" space on your hard drives, you can use it to create new partitions. The actual logic behind using Primary, Extended, and Logical partitions is outside the scope of this tutorial. However, we recommend this very informative article, called What is a Partition.

You'll see unpartitioned space highlighted and labeled as Unallocated or "Free space".

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

To create a partition here, right-click or tap and hold the free space and select "New Simple Volume" to bring up the "New Simple Volume Wizard.". Click or tap Next.

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

The wizard will ask you for the size of the partition, which you can specify as you wish, using all or just part of the total available space.

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

Now you can choose to assign a drive letter, mount in an empty NTFS folder or even not assigning any drive letter or path for your new partition. Select the option of your choosing and click or tap Next.

Disk Management, partitions, Windows 7, Windows 8

You'll be asked for information on how the partition should be formatted. Keep in mind that if you wish to use this partition, it needs to be formatted. In most cases, you'll want to use NTFS. This is the default and preferred file system since Windows NT, providing increased performance, security and fault tolerance when compared to FAT16/FAT32. For more information, read this article: Why you should use NTFS.


About the Author: Ciprian Adrian Rusen
I love technology and I work in IT for more than a decade. I am the co-founder of Digital Citizen and its chief editor. Alongside my work as an editor, I am also an author. I have written and published 7 books, most of them about Microsoft products and technologies. They are translated into more than 12 languages. In 2014, I have been recognized by Microsoft for my technical expertise and involvement in the community with the title of Microsoft MVP - Windows Consumer Expert.