Learn how to use Disk Management to view the disks installed on a Windows 10 computer. Learn how to create a new partition, format it, and create a volume. Explore types of volumes including simple, mirrored, spanned, and striped.
- [Instructor] A computer's hard disk is where the operating system, program files, personal data, and other information are stored. Most personal and work computers only have a single hard disk installed. The most common place to view your hard disk configuration is in File Explorer. Open File Explorer and click This PC to see how your computer is configured. Here, my computer has a hard drive, and nothing else. You might see a backup drive or a DVD drive. If you see what looks like a physical drive, but you don't think it's a CD, a DVD, or a network or USB drive, it could be a partition.
There aren't any partitions shown here. A partition is an area on a basic disk, like the disks you see in most computers used by consumers and employees that is allocated to hold data, operating system files, virtual machines, and so on, but it's not a physical disk. While File Explorer can show you the computer's basic makeup. To see exactly how your computer is configured, with regard to partitions and physical drives, you'll need to open Disk Management. You can do that by right-clicking the Start button and clicking Disk Management in the results.
On this computer, there are several partitions on a single hard drive. There are two recovery partitions that hold recovery files, a system partition, and a primary partition. All of this is one physical disk called Disk 0. You can shrink a primary partition and create additional partitions if you like, to personalize how your hard drive is configured. Sometimes, I do this to set aside a specific place for the virtual machines I create, and I usually give that partition a drive letter of V.
You can create a partition for data, too, or to create a place to install another operating system. Whatever the use for it, to create a partition, first, right-click the partition you want to shrink. Generally, this is the primary partition. You shouldn't choose a recovery partition or any partition that contains a system image. I'll right-click C, and I'll click Shrink Volume. Notice I use the word volume here, instead of partition, and that's what is offered in the contextual menu.
There's a fine line between partitions and volumes. Briefly, a partition is an unallocated area of the hard drive, and that partition becomes a volume after it's been formatted with a file system. Click Shrink Volume to continue. Here's where you'll enter the amount of space you want to shrink in megabytes, or accept the defaults. Read what's offered here. Notice it says you can't shrink a volume beyond the point where any unremovable files are located.
I'll type 500 just to show how it's done, and click Shrink. Remember that a partition is just an area of the disk that's been set aside for use later. As you can see here, in Disk Management, it says our new space is unallocated. That partition isn't of much use until it's formatted. If you look back at File Explorer, you'll see it isn't even listed there. Let's have a look. I'll click refresh just to be sure. To make this partition useful, you'll need to right-click it and click New Simple Volume.
As you work through this wizard, you'll be prompted to accept the simple volume size, to assign a drive letter, and to format the volume. I'll leave this as NTFS, and I'll leave the volume label, New Volume, just to bring the point home, that at this point, it will be a volume, and I'll click Next. Here are my settings, and I'll click Finish.
And here's our new volume. It has a drive letter, N. It's the drive letter I selected while working through the wizard. Let's take a look at File Explorer now, and see if it's there, and there it is. Remember that a simple volume is formatted with a file system, which means it can hold an operating system, virtual disks, data, and so on, provided it's big enough. This type of partition doesn't offer any fault tolerance, though. If you want to protect what's on the disk, you'll need a backup strategy, such as an external hard disk or a system image disk.
There's another type of volume I'd like to talk about, and that's a dynamic volume. If your computer is configured with dynamic disks, you can create dynamic volumes. It's likely you've never worked with a computer with dynamic disks, though, unless you've worked in an IT department, or with specialty servers. Dynamic volumes can be configured to be fault-tolerant. There are three kinds. Mirrored, spanned, and striped. Mirrored volumes use two disks, and the data on each is an exact copy.
This provides fault-tolerance. If one disk fails, the other is there for backup. These are called RAID 1. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Spanned volumes can use unallocated space from two to 32 disks, and look like a single logical disk to the operating system. You use this when you want to create disk space using multiple disks. These are not fault-tolerant, though. If any of the disks fails, the data will be lost, unless it can be recovered from backup.
Striped volumes improve write performance by writing data to multiple disks in stripes across the disks you configure. It's called RAID 0, and does not protect data from loss if a disk fails. It does offer pretty fast write time, though. If you want to use multiple volumes to stripe data, while at the same time, creating parity to recover from a disk failure in the disk array, you'll need to implement RAID 5. However, if this is the case, consider using storage spaces, which I'll discuss in a later movie.
Let's take one more look at Disk Management before we finish up here. Right-click Disk 0 in the left pane. You could, if you wanted, convert your disk to a dynamic disk, if you're offered the option. Once that's done, and after you install any additional hard disk you'd need, the options that are grayed out here, like creating a mirrored volume, will become available. I'm going to advise against this, though, at least on any machine you use regularly. That's because when you convert a dynamic disk with volumes to a basic disk, you'll lose all your data.
Not only that, it could render the computer unbootable. You should only convert to dynamic disks after you've spent some time learning about how am I to do it, and with what systems they're compatible with. Finally, before we end here, I want to show how to delete a volume and undo what you just created. You simply right-click the new volume, and select Delete Volume. Now, I'll right-click the volume to the left of it, and click Extend Volume to add this area back in.
I'll work through the wizard, and I'll accept all the defaults, and click Finish.
This course maps to the domain of Exam 70-698, Installing and Configuring Windows 10, a required exam for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA).
- Configuring and supporting network settings
- Connecting to a network and configuring network locations
- Using Windows Firewall
- Managing partitions with Disk Management
- Managing storage with PowerShell
- Creating and configuring a VHD
- Creating and configuring homegroups and folder shares
- Configuring desktop apps and startup options
- Creating and deploying provisioning packages
- Using Remote Management tools
- Configuring Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop