Managing disk partitions
This article explains how to shrink the C: drive (partition) and create another partition for storing user files. To understand the basic concepts behind this and why it is advisable, firstly read the article Disk drive and data management.
We will assume that the user (or shop) has performed a typical install and created one single partition for storing both windows and data. In this section the C: drive will be reduced in size to make space for a D: drive for storing user data..
Here is a graphical representation in Windows Disk Manager. Note the 100MB 'System Reserved' partition which is hidden at the beginning of the hard disk, with no drive letter. This must be left untouched for Windows to boot properly. We are going to shrink the C: partition or volume.
To access the Computer Management screen above, click on the button formerly-known-as the Start button, right click on the 'Computer' icon and select 'Manage' from the right-cick menu (screenshot). Once in Computer Management, select 'Disk Management' on the left hand side.
Firstly the volume needs to be made smaller to make space for the new partition. This is possible in Vista and Windows7 by right-clicking on the C: drive and selecting 'Shrink Volume' from the menu (screenshot). Although this is usually a safe procedure, backup any existing data which may already be on the C: drive before proceeding.
Having heeded the warnings, enter the new size in MB of the C: drive into the dialogue box (~1000MB = 1GB) and click on the 'Shrink' button (screenshot). Note that Windows7 will need some space to run itself; a basic install of Windows7 will already be using more than 7GB. Programs and (particularly) games will take up a lot more space. It's hard to advise here, as it depends on the size of the hard disk being used, but it's better to err on leaving plenty of space on the C: drive for things to grow.
As an example, to reduce the C: partition by 30GB, enter 30 000 MB into the 'Enter the amount of space to shrink' field. Note that this is NOT the size of the new D: drive; that comes a bit later. This stage is merely shrinking the C: drive by the specified amount and creating free space (a part of the hard disk which does not yet contain any other partitions) which shows up as 'Unallocated', as will seen in the next screenshot.
Once the C: drive has shrunk, some free space should be visible at the end of the drive. Right-click on this Unallocated space and select "New Simple Volume" (screenshot).
Click Next to start the aptly-named New Simple Volume Wizard (screenshot) and in the next box enter the size of the new volume (screenshot) then click Next. Note here that several volumes can be created in the new unallocated free space if required, to create several extra data partitions. However most users will create one new volume which completely fills the free space.
Next allocate a drive letter to the new volume (screenshot). Note that the optical drive is probably usurping the D: drive letter so go for E: or whatever. These drive letters can be changed later by going back into the Disk Management console.
On the next screen, give the new volume a name, such as Data. Leave the File System as NTFS and leave the 'Perform a quick format' option ticked, for speed (screenshot).
Finished! After formatting, the drive letters can be changed by right clicking on the DVD and new volume(s). In Windows Explorer the data partition shows up just like another drive (screenshot) and is ready to have files copied to it..
Now you have a shiny new data drive you may wish to move some data onto it, starting with the My Documents folder. See Move the My Documents folder for the inside information.