In this video, learn how to work with storage media at a low level, viewing partitions, exploring options for managing logical drives.
- [Instructor] When you need to get down to the nitty-grittys of managing your PC's storage, you summon the Computer Management console. Within the console, you'll find the Disk Management tool, which lets you access your PC's storage device at both a physical and logical level. To access the Computer Management console, tap the Windows key and type computer management. Choose the Computer Management desktop app. The Computer Management console hosts many tools that help you assess the system's current status, such as the Task Scheduler and Event Viewer.
In the Storage area, choose Disk Management. Here you see a list of storage devices attached to the computer. This is a similar list to the one that shows up when you elect to choose a boot device when the PC first starts. Below the list, you see the chart of each physical storage device. This chart includes physical hard drives, internal and external, as well as any media cards or thumb drives available to the computer. A physical drive is partitioned into logical drives or volumes.
In many cases, the physical drive is the same as a logical drive, and that partition fills the entire drive space. That's true for drive G here. For the PC's boot drive and perhaps other hard drives, you may find multiple partitions. If the partitions are available in Windows, they're assigned drive letters and the letters show up in the Disk Management console. For the Windows boot drive, the physical disk, you typically see multiple partitions, though each partition isn't assigned a drive letter in Windows.
On this screen, you see three partitions on the PC's primary storage device. The EFI drive is where the BIOS program, the UEFI, is stored. Using this startup partition is covered in another movie. Another partition found on the primary hard drive is the Windows Recovery partition. This volume contains Windows original configuration information, which is how you can reset Windows, or reinstall the operating system. On some PCs, this partition might instead contain the manufacturer's recovery program or diagnostic tools.
Neither the UEFI or recovery partitions are assigned drive letters, but they show up here because they are formatted storage on the primary storage device. They are logical drives. Under certain circumstances, it's possible to expand a logical partition on a physical hard drive. The net effect is that you get a larger logical drive, but only when room is available on the hard drive. You can perform this task in a number of ways. First, if you see an unused portion of any physical drive, you can expand an existing partition to fill that space.
That's not true for any of the drives on this system. Second, if you're not using a partition, you can remove it, and then expand another partition into the unused space. For example, on this drive, you could remove one of these partitions if you weren't using it, and then expand, like remove this one, and then expand this one to fill the space. Third, you can shrink one partition to allow room for another partition to expand. To shrink a partition, you select it, right-click, and then choose Shrink Volume.
Here you see the current volume size, and how much you can reduce that size. The figure is calculated based on how much of the storage is actually in use. If I were to proceed with shrinking this partition, you would see available space here. At that point, I could create a new volume, say another partition was available, I could expand it into that. You can shuffle the things around. That's the way it's done, but it's very rare and it doesn't happen that often. If you do plan on shrinking and expanding partitions to, say, increase the size of a volume somewhere, please ensure that the data on that drive is backed up and fresh.
You want to keep that safety copy handy just in case anything goes awry in this process.
- Diagnosing the causes of PC issues
- Troubleshooting hardware and software
- Performing startup and system restore steps
- Accessing the Task Manager
- Using the Registry Editor
- Fixing Windows
- Maintaining storage drives
- Restoring network connectivity