By AOMEI / Last Updated May 18, 2016

Introduction before partitioning a hard drive in Windows 7

This article will guide you to partition a hard drive in Windows 7 without reinstalling operating system and applications. And the step-by-step guide also applies to both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Vista, XP and Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2). For PC users, please choose free AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard or AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro. For server administrators, please choose AOMEI Partition Assistant Server. For enterprise users who have multiple computers, please choose AOMEI Partition Assistant Unlimited.

Why need to partition hard drive for Windows 7?

If we compare hard drive to a book, a partition (also known as drive or volume) is one of the pages in a book and data only can be saved on the partition. Sometimes the hard drives of your pre-install Windows 7 computer have been divided into one or more partitions by manufacturers. However, the partition layout is not the one you want it to be. Maybe there is only a single system partition using all the disk space, while you need other partitions for data storage and backup; Maybe the disk space allocated to C: drive is not enough; Maybe a certain partition is useless and you want to delete it; Maybe...; There are too many reasons for partitioning a hard drive in Windows 7. Usually, partitioning a hard drive in Windows 7 includes resize partition, create partition, delete partition, format partition and more.

How to partition hard drive in Windows 7?

Usually, there are two methods for users to partition a hard drive in Windows 7. One is to use Windows 7 Disk Management tool and the other is to use third-party free partition magic software like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. You can choose the one that is best suitable for you.

Before you do:

  • Backup is always recommended before performing any operations on hard disk partitions. To backup important data, we recommend free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard.
  • For the partitions that you are going to make changes, please check if they have any file system errors and bad sectors.
  • If the computer is a laptop, please make sure it is in enough charged.

Method 1: Partition hard drive in Windows 7 with AOMEI Partition Assistant (Recommended)

As a free, safe and easy-to-use partition software and disk manager, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard enables you to optimize disk space usage, change disk partition type and perform other tasks based on disk partitions. Some key features include resizing, moving, merging, splitting partitions without data loss, migrating OS to SSD, convert MBR to GPT disk, creating Windows PE bootable media, etc.

To get started, launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, and then all hard disk partitions information will be shown out in the main fresh interface.

Aomei Partition Assistant Main Interface

Scenarios 1: Resize partition in Windows 7

In this example, we will shrink D: partition and extend C: drive. Right click on D: partition and select "Resize Partition", in the pop-up window, drag the left slider bar rightwards.

Shrink F Partition

After clicking "OK", you will find D: partition was shrunk and an unallocated space is also released behind C: drive.

Unallocated Space

Right click on C: drive and select "Resize Partition".

Move Unallocated Space

In the pop-up window, drag the right slider bar rightwards to add the unallocated space.

To save changes, click "Apply" on the toolbar.

Successfully Resize Partition in Windows

Scenarios 2: Create partition in Windows 7

AOMEI Partition Assistant provides two ways to create a new partition in Windows 7. One is to create a partition with unallocated space, and the other is to create a partition from an existing partition. In this example, we introduce the first way. Right click on an unallocated space and choose "Create Partition" in the drop-down menu.

Create Partition

In the pop-up window, you can label partition, change drive letter and adjust partition size by dragging slider bar.

Create Partition Settings
  • Partition Label: Choose your own special name to partition so that you can get better understanding on this partition.
  • Drive Letter: Select the provided drive letters in the drop-down menu. (You also can choose "None", which means this newly created partition will be hidden)
  • Create As:
    • Two choices - Primary partition and Logical partition.
    • Primary partition is used for setting active; Windows operating systems or other systems start from primary partition.
    • Logical partition, to some extent, it is extended partition.
  • File System:
    • NTFS, FAT32 and FAT.
    • NTFS supersedes the FAT file system as the preferred file system for Microsoft’s Windows operating systems nowadays.
    • FAT32 and FAT are old file systems; they are simple and readable to work on a large number of operating systems. They can not support the file which is larger than 4GB.

After all the settings are completed, click "OK" and then click "Apply" to save changes.

Scenarios 3: Delete and format partition

Right click on the partition which you want to delete or format, and then choose "Delete Partition" or "Format Partition" option.

Delete Partition: you could choose which choice you prefer: only delete partition or delete partition and wipe all data on the partition, then click "OK":

Delete partition

Format partition: you could set partition label and file system as you like, about the cluster size, we suggest you do not change it, click "OK":

Format partition

Click "Apply" on the toolbar to commit the changes.

Method 2: Partition hard drive with Windows 7 Disk Management tool

Disk Management is a tool built in Windows 7 which can be used to manage partitions and perform disk-related tasks. To open Windows 7 Disk Management, press "Windows+R" hotkey and type "diskmgmt.msc" in the Run window. And then click "OK" or hit "Enter".

Open Windows 7 Disk Management

If there is no unallocated space, you can shrink a volume. Select the disk you want to partition and right click on the partiton (here is C: drive). In the drop-down menu, select "Shrink Volume".

Windows 7 Disk Management-shrink-volume

In the pop-up window, enter the amount of space to shrink. After that, click "OK" to continue.

Shrink C Drive

Then you will see an unallocated space behind C: drive. To create a new partition, right click on it and select "New Simple Volume". Follow the wizard to finish setting.

New Simple Volume

To delete a partition, just right click on it and select "Delete Volume".

Delete Volume

To format a partition, just right click on it and select "Format..."

Format Volume

AOMEI Partition Assistant Vs Windows 7 Disk Management

Compared with AOMEI Partition Assistant, there are lots of restrictions in Windows 7 Disk Management.

Extend Volume: you cannot extend a volume even though there is unallocated space on the disk. Disk Management only allows you to extend a volume to contiguous unallocated space behind it. If not, the "Extend Volume" will be greyed out. However, AOMEI Partition Assistant enables you to add non-contiguous unallocated space to a partition.

Disk Management Extend Volume Greyed Out

Create Partition: if disk style is MBR, you may receive two errors as below when creating partitions with Disk Management. Howerver, in such case AOMEI Partition Assistant also can create partitions.

  • If the MBR hard disk drive already contains four Primary partitions, you may receive "The operation you selected will convert the selected basic disk(s) to dynamic disk(s)".
  • Error 1

  • If the MBR hard disk drive already contains three Primary partitions and one Extended partition, you may receive "You cannot create a new volume in this unallocated space because the disk already contains maximum number of partitions".
  • Error 2

Apart from the restrictions metioned above, AOMEI Partition Assistant also brings some features that Windows 7 Disk Management doesn't have. To view all the features, please click here.