Data Savers continues to provide full data recovery services during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here for details.

Partition a Hard Drive

Have you ever been interested in dividing your hard drive into distinct components? Do you want to encrypt sensitive files, but aren’t interested in encrypting everything? Creating a partition on your hard drive could be the solution!

What Does it Mean to Partition a Hard Drive?

data-savers-data-recovery-partition-graphic

A partition is simply a logically distinct segment of an electronic storage device. On a Windows machine, your file system primarily exists on the C partition of your hard drive, however many distributions of Windows have a built-in “recovery partition” that can be used to easily repair the system from minor data loss.

If you are not utilizing all of the storage space offered by the C partition of your hard drive, you have the option to use a portion of the remainder as your first foray into partitioning.

It’s never advisable to partition too much of your remaining free space. Your original filesystem will utilize additional storage capacity as you continue using the computer for various activities.

You could encounter a serious problem if you run out of space on your original partition. So, before you move any further, consider the following question:

Why Do You Want to Partition Your Hard Drive?

Instead of Partitioning, Consider Encrypting a VMDK

data-savers-data-recovery-internal-hdd

If you simply want to encrypt your files, you can use a number of operating-system-agnostic programs to create a VMDK. On the surface, virtualization may seem like a simple concept. However, thoroughly understanding the intricacies of implementing virtual machines and VMDKs is wildly complex.

Virtualization is a process where a host computer uses special software (and occasionally specialized hardware) to emulate an operating system / general computer system. Virtual machines rely on storage known as virtual machine disks or VMDKs.

If your interest in partitioning stems from a desire to encrypt specific files in a distinct logical segment of storage, virtualization could be the solution. Without too much difficulty, you could spin up a virtual machine locally, transfer the files you want to protect to the virtual machine, encrypt the files, and save the encrypted files to your VMDK.

Encrypting a Partition with BitLocker

data-savers-data-recovery-padlock-close-up

On the other-hand if you do move forward with partitioning your hard drive, you can avoid involving third party programs and utilize windows built-in BitLocker to encrypt an entire volume. Windows BitLocker is a full volume encryption utility Microsoft has provided with each Windows operating system since the release of Windows Vista in 2006.

BitLocker relies on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm to securely store data. AES is a variant of symmetric key cryptography, and is the United States Federal Government’s standard for securing information classified as “Top Secret”.


BitLocker presents a user-friendly, powerful, and built-in solution for encrypting storage volumes running Windows.

Steps to Partition a Hard Drive

Consider the following steps with an eye for precision. One mistake could destroy every file on your drive.

1. Back Up Before Moving Forward With this Process

The first step in this process is backing up the contents of your hard drive. If you encounter any unforeseen hick-ups along the way, you definitely still want to have a copy of your original data. After backing up your system, check Windows file explorer to verify that you have sufficient free space on the drive you wish to partition. As previously mentioned, if your drive is almost full, you should not create a partition. In this scenario you will need to either delete unnecessary files to free up space or purchase a new hard drive. If you see that there is sufficient space on your hard drive, you are ready to move on to the next step in the process.

2. Shrink The Existing Volume

You will start out by opening disk management. Identify the volume that you are interested in partitioning. In most cases this would be the OS (C:) volume. Open the Action Menu, select “More Actions” then “All Tasks” and then select “Shrink Volume”. Alternatively, you can select the target volume, left click on the item, and choose “Shrink Volume” from a pop up menu.

Shrinking the volume reduces it’s capacity and transforms that storage space into what’s known as unallocated space. Select this space and click “New Simplified Volume”. A setup wizard will walk you through the next steps.

3. Format the New Partition

Voila, you have now successfully created a new partition. However, if you want this new partition to serve a useful purpose you will also need to format it. In Windows you should choose NTFS, or the New Technology File System. On a Mac, you would want to choose APFS, or the Apple File System. It is essential that you are very careful when you format a partition. This process overwrites unallocated storage space, and in the event that you had deleted important files, your capacity for data recovery depends on this unallocated space remaining undisturbed.


Having Issues with a Partition?

Maybe you neglected to follow particular details from this guide, damaged storage for the entire system, and caused a data loss scenario. Maybe you read this article after attempting to “wing-it” with partitioning a hard drive. If you aren’t protected from data loss by a thorough backup system, you are in a difficult predicament right now. Fortunately for you, the data recovery professionals at Data Savers, LLC have nearly two decades of experience restoring data from failed partitions.

Request a Data Recovery Estimate from Data Savers Today!

data-savers-data-recovery-logo
I was very thankful that they provided a fair price up front! No hidden fees! These guys know what they're doing. Super thankful for them!

~ Marin G. on Google

After working with two other companies who could not recover the wedding videos, we took the drive to Data Savers. Our wedding videos were recovered. They are true professionals and worth every penny!

~ Elizabeth H. on Yelp

The team at Data Savers were level headed and provided reasonable flat rate options. They quickly diagnosed the problem, recovered the data, and had me back to normal in short order.

~ Mark J. on Google

Data Savers' No Risk Steps

Send In Your Drive

Ship* us your drive, our technicians will examine it for FREE and provide you with a flate rate (no hidden costs) estimate. (*FREE UPS Ground shipping in continental U.S. too!)

You can start by clicking Submit Drive.

We can also email you a quick estimate with our Request Pricing option.

We Go To Work

After your receive your estimate, with your approval our experts will get to work on recovering your data. Our drive repair and recovery techniques have been developed over many years to get the highest success rate possible.

With our No Data - No Charge policy we will not charge you if no data can be retrieved.

Get Your Data Back!

We will transfer your recovered data to a new external drive, ship* it back to you and let you get back in business! (*Free UPS Ground return in continental U.S.)

We do keep a copy or image of your data for ten days to ensure that you receive it successfully. After that your data is securely erased.