How to Partition C Drive without Formatting in Windows 10/8/7?

February 13, 2019

Learn how to partition your C drive using Windows snap-in Disk Management and AOMEI Partition Assistant without formatting C drive and losing data in Windows 10/8/7/XP.

Why partition C drive?

First of all, you need to understand the conception of partition on the disk before you learn how to partition C drive. Partitions are the regions that separate one physical hard drive into multiple volumes. Furthermore, disk partitioning is the creation of one or more regions on a hard disk or other secondary storage, so that operating system can manage information in each region separately. Normally, partitioning is the first step of preparing a newly manufactured disk, before any files and directories have been created. There are many benefits of multiple partitions on your hard drive:

  • Separation of the operating system (OS) and program files from user files. In this case, you can image, backup or clone only operating system and installed programs instead of the entire disk, which will save you lots of time.
  • Partition hard drive for dual boot. This allows you to have more than one operating system on a single computer. For instance, you can install Windows 7 and XP in different partitions of the same HDD, and you can choose to boot whichever operating system you want to at power-up.
  • Protecting or isolating files. This allows you to recover a corrupted file system or operating system installation easily because one partition is corrupted, other file systems may not be affected.

Also, there are many other advantages that cannot be listed one by one. You can partition C drive using Disk Management or other third party software.

How to partition C drive in Windows 10/8/7/XP?

Typically, you may encounter two different situations when considering partition C drive.

The first situation: Most PCs come from the factory with one single partition on their hard drive, which means it shows up as one drive (C drive, mostly) in the computer window. Under such circumstance, you can shrink C drive and create a new partition with that redundant space by using Disk Management. Backup data in the first place. Although this partition operation won’t cause data loss, you cannot stake for that anyway.

The second situation: The new PC was well-partitioned by the seller when you bought it. But you find the system partition (C drive) is far away large enough for you to run the system since you have received “Low Space” warning from the computer now and then. Worse still, you cannot fix this out using Disk Management, because it works only if there is unallocated space right behind C drive, otherwise, you will see “Extend Volume” is grayed out like the first screenshot above.

How to partition your C drive using Disk Management?

In the first situation, go Disk Management with “Start”-> “Control Panel”-> “Administrative Tools”-> “Computer Management”-> “Disk Management”. Then you will see the first window below. Right click C drive and select “Shrink Volume”, you can type in the amount of space you want to shrink the disk by (the second window). By the way, Windows 7 requires more than 16 GB of available space, if you want to install dual OS. After you shrank successfully, you will see one unallocated space after C drive, and then right click that unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume” to edit the details of the partition following the wizard.

Disk Management

Snap3 Disk Management

However, if you need more complicated hard drive configurations, RAID arrays, or more powerful partition software than Microsoft’s Disk Manage tool, you can turn to the professional software--AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. You can use this program to split a partition in a simpler way. It also can help you resize partition, create partition, move partition etc. Now, step-by-step guidance will be offered as follow. Download AOMEI Partition Assistant to have a try.

How to partition C drive without formatting and losing data?

Step1, install and launch it. Right click C drive and select “Split Partition” or pitch on C drive and click “Split Partition” in the left panel.

C Drive Split

Step2, type in the amount of new partition or just drag the circle in the middle to decide the size.

Resize New Partition

Step3, be sure to click “Apply” after your confirmation.

Apply Split C Drive

Yes, you have got one new partition now. You can create more partitions by repeat above steps, but pay attention that one MBR disk can only contain up to four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extend partition which may include unlimited logical partitions.

Partition C drive in the second situation

In the second situation, you need to extend partition C because the C: drive is running out of space, which may slow down your prgrams running speed.

* If you have unallcoated space on the hared drive, you can do it directly. If you do not have unallocated space here, you can resize partition (D:, E: F:, etc) to get an unallocated space. Here you can learn how to extend C: drive with the unallocated space on the hard drive.

Step1, open AOMEI Partition Assistant. To extend C: drive, here you can merge C: drive with unallcoated space. Right-click C drive, choose Merge Partitions.

Merge Partitions

Step2, here you can choose to merge C: drive with the unallocated space.

Check Unallocated Space

Step3, the size of partition C is 175.26 GB now, click “Apply” to execute these operations.

Apply Merge Partitions

See, just three simple steps, you can extend your C drive without re-boot. It couldn’t be easier to answer when your friends or families ask help for how to partition C drive. In addition, this software supports Windows XP/Vista as well as Windows 7/10/8/8.1. Actually, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional can complete this kind of task in one click because there is a feature named “Allocate free space” in it. More advanced operations, such as migrate OS from GPT disk to a GPT/MBR SSD or disk, convert system disk between MBR & GPT partition styles, change the serial number, change partition type ID, etc.