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Disk Management tool
In a previous blog post, I described how to use the Microsoft Windows 7 Disk Management tool to shrink an existing hard drive volume: Quick Tip: Shrink a hard drive volume in Windows 7. Once you have shrunk a volume you can then establish a new partition on the newly empty space and create a new logical hard drive for your Windows operating system. Here are the steps to make that happen.
As in the previous post, the first step is to start the Windows 7 Disk Management tool with elevated administrative rights. Click the Start Menu Button and type diskmgmt.msc into the search box and then right-click the diskmgmt.msc entry to get to the Run as administrator item in the context menu as shown.
Fill the empty space
Clicking Run as administrator will load the Disk Management Tool, which will look something like this screenshot. As you can see we have some empty space to work with after shrinking the volume previously.
Assign a drive letter
On the next screen in the wizard you are asked to assign a drive letter or path to the new volume. You have three choices:
- Assign the following drive letter: Windows has suggested the next available drive letter. This is the default and will most often be the preferable choice.
- Mount in the following empty NTFS folder: Instead of a drive letter you can mount the drive to a folder. This essentially makes the drive look like and operate like a folder in Windows.
- Do not assign a drive letter or drive path: You will have to assign a letter or path later in order to make the drive useable for storage.
We’ll just stick with the default and make a new drive E.
Format the new drive
The screen in the wizard deals with formatting our new drive. In general, you should choose to format this drive under the NTFS file system; however, you can also choose to use FAT32. The other default setting should be used unless you know have a specific reason to change the allocation size.
You should give your new drive a label to help you distinguish the new drive from other drives on your system and a quick format will take less time but it will not find and mark bad sectors on your drive which could cause problems later.
NTFS drives have built-in compression systems that are essentially seamless to users and can be a good choice if storage space is a premium.
Finish the process
The last screen in the wizard gives you a summary of your choices and gives you the chance to step back and make changes. When you are satisfied with your choices, click the Finished button.