Join David Rivers for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a virtual drive, part of Windows 8 Tips and Tricks.
Here in Windows 8, if you have the space on your physical hard drive, you can create what's called a virtual hard drive. It looks and acts like a separate disc drive and it's great opportunity to stay organized by keeping certain types of files separate. You could use it as a back up drive. Install programs there if you wanted to, were going to show you now using the built in utility how to create that virtual hard drive. We need to be in the old desktop environment here, where we left off from the previous movie, and then go down to the bottom left corner. When you see that Start tile just right-click to bring up the Quick Access menu and select Disk Management.
It's from here where we're going to see a current listing of our discs that are already installed, our hard drives if you have a CD Or a DVD drive for example. I'm going to go down the bottom right corner and stretch this out and down so I can see more. Notice at the top, for me, I do have one hard drive. It's labelled C. Down below, you can see it's disk zero. I also have a repair disk sitting in my DVD drive. So, with C selected for me, you can choose any physical volume you want to create your virtual hard drive.
Go up to action. And choose create VHD. Next we'll choose a location. You could browse to the location by clicking the Browse button. And from here I'm going to go to my C drive. I don't want to create it on my DVD drive of course. So right here in the root of my C drive. Down below I can give it a name like VHD1, virtual hard drive one. It will have the extention VHD as well. And I'm going to click Save.
That enters it into the location. I could have typed that there if I wanted to. Next, I get to chose the size of my new hard drive. It could be in megabytes, gigabytes, or even terabyes. Mine isn't that large I'm going to leave it at megabytes. Create a small drive just for this example. I'm going to use 100 MB. And down below I choose the format. For such a small drive definitely i'm going to choose VHD. Notice there's also one called VHDS for supporting larger drives, more than 2,000 GB in size.
So when we get into terabytes, that's a better format. Down below, the virtual hard disk type, I'm going to choose a fixed size. Now, my hard disk size is going to be 100 and the virtual drive size is going to be fixed within that 100. It could be the entire 100, or a portion there of. Dynamically expanding is another option where the size of the drive will expand as you add files. And it will shrink as you remove files, but a fixed size allows us to treat it exactly like a physical hard drive.
So we'll click OK. Alright so it just takes a moment now to create this virtual hard drive, notice it's disk one. it's' unknown, really it hasn't been initialized yet, we don't see a letter up here, all we've done is created this space. Now we need to initialize it. So, if we want to, we can go to it by clicking, right over here in the 100 MB unallocated section. And from here, with that selected, we're going to go to the left hand side here where disk 1 appears, right click and initialize the disk.
So, it has to be initialized before we can start working with it.It's disk 1. Down below, the partition style, we're going to use is a master boot record, it's safest option. Notice, there's another option here, GPT. The GPT partitions style is not recognized by all previous versions of Windows. So were safest with a Master boot record. And we'll click OK. So it'll take a moment now for this to be initialized. We'll know it's initialized in a moment when we see it over here as online.
Although it's online, we still haven't allocated the space. So we need to create something here by right clicking this section now, and creating a new simple volume. This is where we get to give it a drive letter et cetera and choose how big it's going to be. So choose New Simple Volume and a wizard pops up, we'll click Next to go the first step. Notice the maximum disk space in megabytes is 97. The minimum 8. And by default, the volume size is going to use that max. But you could choose whatever you like.
There's no problem in using all of that space, and clicking next. Now we get to assign the drive letter. By default, it's going to take the next available one, which is E. But you can choose any one you like. I'll leave it at E. And we'll click Next. Of course, it needs to be formatted before we can start using it. The NTFS, or NT File System is the default. Notice we also have other file systems to choose from. But we're going to keep it NTFS for Windows. The allocation unit size is set to default.
If you wanted to you could change that value and give this volume label a name. By default it is simply New Volume. I am going to type in virtual drive. Now, we need to format it. It could be a quick format and we can enable file and folder compression if we wanted to at this point too. Which is going to save us some space. But I am going to leave it unselected and click Next. Now we get a summary, a rundown of all of our selections from the wizard, and we're ready to click Finish, which will format our new drive.
And it will appear as an option at the top as a volume, as well as in File explorer. So there's our virtual drive, notice it appears. We also see a message up here because we are in Windows 8. We can tap or click here to choose what happens with this drive when it's selected. Configure it for back up, for file history, we'll talk about that momentarily. Open folder to view files when we click it or take no action. I like File explorer there, give it a click. And now in File explorer, you can see we have this new drive, there's our original local disk, mine's drive C.
My DVD drive and there's my virtual drive. That's the name I gave it, drive E. There's nothing in there now but it acts like a separate hard drive where I can start copying files here. I can be installing programs here as well if I wanted to. I'm going to close up File explorer though. And close up Disc Management. Now at any time you can remove this. All you need to do is right click and from here, you'll want to delete the volume. You'll also want to detach the virtual hard drive.
And from File Explorer, you can go in and delete it from the Windows folder or from the folder where you created it. For me, it was right on a root of my C drive. So if I open up File explorer and I go to C, I'm going to see that virtual hard drive. Deleting it from here will remove it permanently. You do need to have administrator privileges to do that, though. For now, though, I have my virtual drive. It's only 100 MB, but it's there if I need it. I might use it to back up certain types of files and keep things separate.
It's a nice little utility built in to Windows 8.
- Protecting yourself from unrecognized applications
- Activating the Quick Access menu
- Booting directly to the desktop
- Shutting down with one click
- Navigating and running apps from the keyboard
- Customizing menus and screens
- Displaying all applications in one place
- Capturing screenshots to your Pictures folder
- Fine-tuning your power settings
- Optimizing your hard drive
- Preventing users from uninstalling applications
- Creating a virtual drive