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  • Hard Disk Partitions

    A hard disk partition is a defined storage space on a hard drive. Most operating systems allow users to divide a hard disk into multiple partitions, in effect making one physical hard disk into several smaller logical hard disks.

    Reasons to Use Hard Disk Partitions

    A user may decide to split a hard disk into multiple partitions in order to organize his/her data more effectively. On Microsoft Windows machines, it is common to store the OS and applications on one hard disk partition and user data on another. When a problem occurs with Microsoft Windows, the OS partition can be completely formatted and reinstalled without affecting the data partition.

    A user may decide to split a hard disk into multiple partitions because smaller partitions often have smaller cluster sizes. A cluster size is the smallest chunk of data that a partition can store. A large partition might have a cluster size of 16KB. This means that a file with one character in it will occupy 16KB of space on the disk. In a smaller partition, that file might only require 4KB to store. This is a useful strategy when storing a large number of small files.Hard Disk Partition

    A user may have to split a large hard disk into multiple partitions if the hard disk is larger than the partition size that the operating system supports.

    Creating Hard Disk Partitions

    Most operating systems use the `fdisk` command to create hard disk partitions. Many operating systems also have graphical tools that accomplish the same task.

    Hard Disk Partitions and File Systems

    Data is not actually stored in hard disk partitions.

    Hard disk partitions store file systems, then these file systems store data.

    Some operating systems blur the lines between partitions and file systems.

    The Partition Table

    Partition information is stored in the partition table, a reserved area at the beginning of a hard disk.

    Extended Partitions

    A standard partition table is only able to store information about four partitions. At one time this meant that a hard disk could have a maximum of four partitions.

    To work around this limitation, extended partitions were created.

    An extended partition stores information about other partitions. By using an extended partition, many more than four partitions can be created on a hard disk.

    The four standard partitions are often called the primary partitions.

    Partitions configured into an extended partition are often referred to as logical partitions.

    Partition Types

    When a partition is created, a special byte of data is written to record what type of partition it is.

    Because multiple operating systems may share one hard disk, operating systems tend to agree on the meaning of these values.

    The table below lists some of the partition types in use.

    Partition Number Partition Type
    00 Empty
    01 DOS 12-bit FAT
    02 XENIX root
    03 XENIX usr
    04 DOS 16-bit FAT <=32M
    05 DOS Extended Partition
    06 DOS 16-bit FAT >=32
    07 OS/2 HPFS, WinNT NTFS
    08 AIX
    09 AIX bootable
    0a OS/2 Boot Manager
    0b Win95 FAT32
    0c Win95 FAT32 (LBA)
    0e Win95 FAT16 (LBA)
    0f Win95 Extended (LBA)
    35 OS/2 JFS
    39 Plan 9
    40 Venix 80286
    51 Novell
    52 Microport
    63 Unix System V, Mach, GNU HURD
    64 Novell Netware 286
    65 Novell Netware 386
    75 PIC/IX
    80 MINIX until 1.4a
    81 MINUX, Linux
    82 Solaris X86, Linux swap
    83 Linux native
    85 Linux extended
    93 Amoeba
    94 Amoeba BBT
    a5 FreeBSD, NetBSD, BSD/386, 386BSD
    a6 OpenBSD
    b7 BSDI BSD/386 filesystem
    b8 BSDI BSD/386 swap
    be Solaris 8 bootable
    bf Solaris x86
    c7 Syrinx
    db CP/M
    e1 DOS access
    e3 DOS R/O
    eb BeOS BFS
    fb VMWare filesystem
    fc VMWare swap
    f2 DOS secondary
    ff Xenix Bad Block Table

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    1. Paul Nigel Abalos Ü

      19 August, 2013 at 8:14 am

      got 250GB of HDD seagate after i format it 5x in 1 year but i partition my computer in 2, make it 1 then i dual boot i create 3 and the last of all i make it 2 again beacause i want to sell it so the lastime i’m gonna format it because is not functioning well my hard disk cannot find my computer

    2. Aileen

      4 November, 2011 at 7:31 am

      y i cant see the other half of my partition? i used to partition my hard drive… but it seems that the other half doesnt exist? how can i see it.. my hard drive has 80G and the only capacity i see in my computer is 40G. what will i do? 

      • Bill Croxson

        14 May, 2012 at 11:24 pm

        This could be because the other half of your hard drive is damaged, so the computer has basically ‘wiped’ it off your screen. I would suggest running disk defragmenter and disk scanner.

    3. Alec

      13 September, 2011 at 8:17 am

      I tried repartitioning my samsung 500gb HDD through Disk Management in Win XP. I could see that the partitions were created successfully and they appear in My Computer. The problem is, when I restart my computer, the hard drive reverts to the original single partition before the repartitioning. Could this be a hardware problem? Thanks!

    4. Madhu Akula

      11 September, 2011 at 8:17 am

      How many Maximum Partitions on a SATA Harddisk drive…?

      • R.Sri.Thushanthan

        21 April, 2012 at 6:27 am


    5. Arjun

      13 July, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      hi guys , i have sony laptop with  window 7 and have only 1 drive (i.e C drive ) , i want to divide it into multiple drives  to share my data , So if anyone knows how to do this partition  reply me as soon as possible .. Waiting for the reply!!!!

      • Marlon Franco

        13 July, 2011 at 9:33 pm

        you might want to use Magic Partition.

      • Eric Scott

        18 January, 2012 at 8:52 am

        or you can use gparted, which is a free gnu partition editor. The live edition allows you to edit (ie, move, shrink, grow, split, and delete) partitions from a boot cd. It was surprisingly easy to use and I highly recommend it! All you have to do is burn the iso image onto a cd and boot from cd and you’ve got yourself a great partition editor! 

      • R.Sri.Thushanthan

        21 April, 2012 at 6:48 am

        Hi i give some tips.
        (1). Now on you’r pc go to start>run and now you can see dialog box. and type cmd and press the enter key. an you can see dialng box .and patition(divid),foramt. you can do
        NOTE:- Requred win 7,win XP . Iam TAMIL PLESE ASK ME FOR TAIL.

    6. Devarshi Sil

      25 March, 2011 at 5:30 am

      How do i perform disk partition for Windows 7 OS???

      • Will.Spencer

        25 March, 2011 at 9:08 am

        Open Computer Management by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, clicking Administrative Tools, and then double-clicking Computer Management. Administrator permission is required. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

        In the Navigation pane, under Storage, click Disk Management.

        Right-click an unallocated region on your hard drive, and then click New Simple Volume.

        In the New Simple Volume Wizard, click Next.

        Type the size of the volume you intend to create in megabytes or accept the maximum default size, and then click Next.

        Accept the default drive letter or choose a different drive letter to identify the partition, and then click Next.

        In the Format Partition dialog box, choose one of the following:

        If you don’t want to format the volume right now, click Do not format this volume, and then click Next.
        To format the volume with the default settings, click Next.

        Click Finish!

    7. fakhrul

      28 February, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      can we partition a cd rom and floppy disk?

      • memenode

        1 March, 2011 at 12:12 pm

        No. Floppy doesn’t have space for a partition table, and is meant to be a single-partition, and CD-ROM is non-writable. It is apparently possible to partition a CD according to this old article, but searching for “partitioning a CD” only brings me a bunch of boot and partition CDs, not the actual process of partitioning a CD. 

        I’m guessing most people never have a need for that. Why do you ask?

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