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What is Disk Partitioning

Disk partitioning is the process of dividing a hard disk into multiple volumes, each one acting as a separate hard drive. There are various advantages of this. For example, many computer manufacturers partition hard disks on new computers. Usually, there is a hidden partition containing backup and restore data so that you can easily restore your computer back to factory settings in the event of something going wrong with your computer. Others partition their hard disks as a way to keep their data better organized.

In older versions of Windows, it was a lot more complicated to partition a hard disk than it is now. It was something that could only be done when installing Windows, although it was possible with certain third-party partition managers to partition a disk without formatting it and installing Windows again. More recent versions of Windows include the Disk Management control panel applet which allows you to easily create, delete and resize partitions without the risk of losing any important data.

You can have many partitions on a single hard disk, although two to three is optimal. In addition to the primary partition which contains your Windows installation and programs, you may, for example, want to have a partition entirely dedicated to the storage of your movie, music and picture collections. You can also have a partition containing any data that you want to back up.

It's important not to rely too much of a backup partition, since everything is still going to be stored on the same physical disk. This means that, if anything goes wrong with that disk, all partitions will usually be affected. Because of this, you should always have the most important data backed up on a separate physical hard drive or, preferably, on other media such as a flash drive or DVD.

In Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can access Disk Management by typing "disk management" into the start menu search box and pressing Enter. Here you'll see a list of physical hard disks and the volumes that they are comprised of. You may need to run Disk Defragmenter first to make sure that all of the data contained on the disk is stored contiguously. This will give you more flexibility with regards to resizing partitions so that you can create new ones with the available space.


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