What is hard disk partition? How to partition hard disk drive?

This post is lesson 38 of 42 in the subject Computer Hardware

Partitioning the hard disk is a very important step before installing the operating system. Find out what hard disk partition is and the steps to partition a hard disk.

1. What is hard disk partition?

Hard disk partition is the creation of one or more partitions on a hard disk, so that each partition can be managed separately. Separate management of partitions has many advantages such as:

  • Easy to install OS
  • Easy to backup data
  • We can install multiple operating systems in the same hard disk (each Operating System is installed in a separate partition)
what is hard disk partition?

What is disk partition? It is a collection of data storage areas on cylinders close to each other with a capacity set by the user. There are two types of partitions: Primary Partition and Extended Partition.

Primary partition and extended partition

Primary Partitons is the area commonly used to install the Operating System. Each Primary partition can install an operating system. This allows the operating system to be isolated from other data.

When partitioning, a disk has a maximum of 4 primary partitions. It can also be divided into 3 primary partitions and 1 extented partition. There must be at least one primary partition on the hard disk drive.

Extended partition to extend hard disk usage. Only one extended partition can be created, but the extended partition can be divided into multiple logical partitions.

On a partitioned disk, pay attention to the following concepts: Boot Sector, Master Boot Record (MBR) and Volume Boot Record (VBR).

master boot record

Boot Sector is a sector on the disk that stores information to load the computer’s operating system.

MBR is a special Boot Sector, which is the first sector of the drive. The MBR stores the partition information of the entire drive.

VBR is also a Boot Sector, but it is the first sector of each partition.

Boot Record is a program that contains information that specifies how to load system files during startup. The sector contains Boot Record is called Boot Sector.

2. What is file system?

File System formatted when partitioning the drive. File System is a way of organizing file data on partitions. The file system also controls how data is stored and retrieved. On Windows OS, there are 2 popular File System: FAT and NTFS.

FAT (File Allocation Table)

FAT was first introduced in 1977 with the FAT12 version. Then, there are the FAT16 and FAT32 versions. FAT (File Allocation Table) contains the number of clusters used to store files.

FAT (File Allocation Table)
File Allocation Table

NTFS (New Technology File System)

NTFS is a file system introduced by Microsoft in July 1993 with the Windows NT version 3.1 operating system. Later Windows NT operating systems such as Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 also support NTFS.

NTFS uses MFT (Master File Table) file management table instead of the FAT (File Allocation Table) table to enhance storage capacity, security for files and folders, and the ability to encrypt data to each file.

3. How to partition a hard disk drive?

There are many tools to partition a hard disk drive:

– Use Hiren’s Boot tool to partition the drive. See details in the article Partition hard disk drive using Hiren’s BootCD. Select Start BootCD, then select Disk Partition Tools…

hiren's boot for disk partition

– Use Disk Management on Windows:

Disk management on Windows
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Posted by Vinh Le

Composer at ITLearningCorner.

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