Windows 7 Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to create, format, resize and remove partitions in Windows 7 including how to change drive letter step by step with example.

For this tutorial I assume that you have either unallocated space or free space in extended partition. If there is no unallocated free space, you can delete a partition for practice. If you have to delete a partition for practice, follow this approach: -

  • Pick the extended partition which has minimum or no user data in it.
  • Create a folder in another partition and copy all user data from this partition to that folder.
  • Note down the size and drive letter of this partition.
  • After practice make a partition of same size with same drive letter.
  • Copy back all data back in this partition from the folder where we placed data in second step.

For disk management, Windows 7 has an inbuilt tool. We can launch this tool in following ways.

Login from administrator account and click Start button and type diskmgmt.msc in search box and hit the enter key. Select diskmgmt program and do right click. In opened right click menu click Run as administrator.

start-diskmgmt-msc

Alternatively click Start button and select Computer and do right click. In right click menu click Manage.

start-computer-manage

In opened window, expend Storage option from right pane and click Disk Management.

disk-management

As above output shows this system already have 3.91GB unallocated disk space, so there is no need to remove any existing partition for practice. Let’s start learning disk management step by step.

How to create partitions in Windows 7 after installation

To create a new partition select unallocated space and do right click. In right click menu click New Simple Volume.

new-simple-volume-option

This will launch a new wizard to create simple partition in separate window. Click Next to start the Wizard.

welcome-simple-volume-wizard

In next screen, all available space will be displayed. If you want to create only one partition form all available space, specify the all size displayed in Maximum disk space option otherwise specify the size of partition and click Next.

volume-size-wizard

Since we will also practice resize operation, do not use all available space here.

In next screen we need to tell the wizard that how we want to access this partition. There are two ways to access this partition; as an individual partition or as a folder in existing partition.

An individual partition requires a drive letter as mount point. If we select this option, wizard will scan the existing partition table and provides a drop down list of all available drive letters. We can select a drive letter here or can skip it for later selection.

If we select folder option, we have to specify the location of folder right here.

Select first option and first available drive letter from drop down and click Next.

assign-drive-latter

Next screen provides format option. A partition can not be used for user data storage until it is formated with a file system. So if we want to use this partition just after it is created, we should select Format this volume with following settings option.

If you want to manually format this patition, choose first option otherwise select second option and provide the necessary information and click Next.

format-partition-wizard

Last screen of wizard provides summary of our selections. Use back button if you need any change otherwise click Finish button to start the process of creating new partition with selected settings.

finish-simple-partiton

In few seconds, wizard will create the new partition. Once it is created, it will be displayed in right pane.

new-parition-in-list

We can also verify it in My Computer.

new-partition-my-computer

How to resize a partition in Windows 7

An extended partition can be resized as per requirement. To extend the size, select the partition and do right click. In right click menu, click Extend Volume.

extended-volume

This will launch an Extend Volume Wizard in new window. Click Next at welcome screen.

welcome-extend-wizard

Now specify the size which we want to add in this partition from available space and click Next.

extended-space

Click Finish to start the process.

extended-finish

In few seconds, wizard will add the specified sized in partition. You can confirm it from My computer.

extended-incresed-size-verify

Following same process, we can also shrink the unused space from partition. To shrink a partition select it and do right click. In Right click menu, click the Shrink Volume option.

shrink-volume

In opened window enter the size of space which you want to shrink from partition and click Shrink.

shrink-volume-size

In few seconds, entered sized will be reduced from partition. We can confirm the operation from My computer again.

shrink-volume-verfied

How to format a partition in Windows 7

While creating a new partition, we noticed that wizard allows us to skip the format option. If we skipped formatting there, we must have to format it before partition can be used for data storage. If we try to use the partition without formatting, it will throw the following error.

You need to format the disk in drive before you can use it. Do you want to format it?

Well… we can format the partition directly from My Computer, but in this tutorial we are performing all operation from disk management console, so let’s perform this operation also from here.

Select the partition and do right click. In Right click menu click Format option.

format-option

In opened popup box following options are available: -

Volume Label: - Name of partition, default is New Volume.

File system: - Type of file system. Default is NTFS. If partition is less than 2GB then FAT is the only available option.

Allocation unit size: - This is the basic unit in which file system will allocate the disk space. The default allocation size is calculated based on partition size. Usually we never need to change this value.

Perform a Quick Format: - If selected, error checking will be skipped while formatting to save the time.

Enable File and Folder Compression: - If selected, will enable the inbuilt file compression. Available only if NTFS file system is selected.

Configure the format options as per requirement and click Ok.

format-option-box

In format operation all data from partition will be erased. Click OK.

format-message

In few seconds, wizard will complete the format operation. Once formatting is done, it can be confirmed in status tab.

format-status

How to change the drive letter in Windows 7

All partitions are mounted at respective mount point in file system. Windows uses alphabets to represent the mount points. Windows uses next available alphabet when a new partition is created. This behavior can create zigzag sequence in drive letters if partitions are created and deleted without proper planning. Disk management tool allows us to update the drive letter as per our requirement.

To change drive letter, select the drive and do right click. In right click menu click Change Drive Letter and Paths option.

change-drive-latter

Opened window has three options: -

  • Add: - Used to add a drive letter
  • Change: - Used to change a drive letter
  • Remove: - Used to remove a drive letter

Unless it is not avoidable, you should not change the drive letter. Some applications use drive letter as references. They will not work once drive letter is changed.

To change drive letter, click Change.

drive-letter-change

By default next available letter will be selected. But you can select any other available letter from drop down.

drive-letter-option

Select the desired letter and click ok.

drive-letter-selected

As mentioned earlier, some programs rely on drive letters. Windows will warn you about this. To ignore the warning click Yes.

drive-letter-change-message

Once yes is clicked, drive letter will be changed immediately.

drive-letter-verfiy

How to delete a partition in Windows 7

To delete a partition, select it and do right click. In Right click menu click Delete Volume.

delete-option

Click Yes to confirm the action.

delete-confirm

If primary partition is deleted, resulting empty space is called unallocated disk space.

If logical volume is deleted, resulting empty space is called free space.

deleted

That’s all for this article. In next article we will learn another Windows 7 topic in details.