You’ll Need this
a thumb drive
To hold your documents while
you reformat your drive
We’ve alWay sadvocated keeping your docs, files, and other data on a drive that’s separate from
Windows and your applications. That way if something goes wrong with Windows, your data is
more likely to remain safe. It’s not always viable to purchase a second internal hard drive for
your PC though, which is where partitioning comes in handy.
Partitioning allows you to divide a large hard drive into two or more smaller drives, which
Windows will treat as if they were separate physical drives. Of course, a physical defect with
the hard drive will affect both partitions, but it will be much more difficult for software-related
problems to wipe out your Windows files and your personal documents at the same time.
In this tutorial we’ll show you how to divide a single drive into two partitions, then move your
data to the new partition so Windows knows where to find it.
Shrink Your ExiSting hard drivE Click the File Explorer/
Windows Explorer icon in the Taskbar and select Computer
from the left-hand menu. Check the free space available for the
C drive—remember, this drive needs to be large enough to hold
all your data. To get an idea of how much data you have, browse to
C:Users, right-click your username,and choose Properties—
you’ll now see the amount of space needed to proceed (image F).
» If your user folder is larger than the available free space on
the C drive, you’ll need to move some of its contents to an external hard drive. Open the relevant folder—typically Documents,
Pictures, Music,or Video—and move its contents into a folder of
the same name on your external drive. Repeat until the size of your
user folder is smaller than the drive’s free space.
» Windows 8 users should press Windows + X and select Disk Management from the Quick Access menu. For Windows 7 and Vista users,
you’ll need to click Start, select Run,and type diskmgmt.mscinto the
dialog box, before clicking OK. When the Disk Management window
opens, right-click drive C and choose the Shrink Volume… option.
» After a short pause, Windows will display the maximum
amount the C drive can be shrunk by (image g). If this isn’t enough
for your purposes, there are a few things you can do to clear up
> run disk cleanup
Some temporary files are considered unmovable—running Disk
Cleanup may help to shift them and free more available space
> disable system restore
You’ll lose your Restore points, but temporarily disabling System Restore is usually the key to shrinking your C partition further
> use event viewer
Still no luck? Open Event Viewer and select Windows > Applications log. Choose Filter Current Log and type 259into the All Event
IDs box to reveal more unmovable files.
Once you’ve tried one or more of the above tips, reboot your PC
and open Disk Management again to see if you can free up more
space for your new data partition.
If the figure is acceptable, click Shrink—if it’s too large, enter a
different figure in MB.
Create a New Partition Now, wait while Windows resizes the drive. When it’s complete, you’ll see
that a new unallocated section will appear next to the
drive in the Disk Management window. This will become your
new data partition. To set it up, right-click the empty space
and choose New Simple Volume…. Now,click Next on the
New Simple Volume Wizard.
» When asked to specify the volume size, leave the default
figure alone and click Next. If you want to assign
drive letter D to the new partition, simply select “Do not assign a drive letter or drive path” for now,and click Next. Give
the volume a suitable label (such as Data), leave the other
options as they appear, and click Next, followed by Finish.
» Locate the drive that’s been allocated the D drive letter, then right-click it and choose the “Change Drive Letter and Paths…”
option. Now,click Change to pick a new drive letter (such as Z) and
click OK, followed by Yes. Now,right-click your new data
partition and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths…” when you’re
done. Finally, click Add, select drive D, and click OK.
Transfer Your files Open a folder window and browse to
C:Usersyourusername. Right-click the Documents folder
and choose Properties. Switch to the Location tab and click
Move. Open your new drive and create a new folder with your username. Create another folder inside it called Documents. With this
folder selected, click Select Folder, then choose OK, followed by Yes.
» Once the files have been moved to your data partition, repeat the
same process for all the other user folders you need: typically Desktop, Downloads, Pictures, Music, and Videos, but you might also consider using Contacts, Favorites, and Saved Games, too. Once done,
transfer any files you moved to your external drive into the relevant
folders on your data partition.
» Congratulations, you’ve set up a data partition on your drive to
keep your documents and other files separate from Windows. You can
now take a drive image of your Windows partition using the incredibly
useful Windows Backup tool (or by using a third-party program, such
as Acronis True Image or Macrium Reflect Free) and restore this image in the future without ever having to touch your files.