How to Create Partition on External Hard Drive without Losing Data?

March 20, 2018

This post shows how to create partition on external hard drive without losing data, i.e. formatting or deleting existing partition in Windows 7/8/10 in simple steps.

The Scenario

I am an office assistant. Every day I have so many data and files to keep, but I find the volumes in my computer cannot meet my needs because it takes much time to find a specific file or folder. In this case, I want to create several new volumes to help me. Unfortunately, I am a green hand in computer and I don't know how to rebuild the new one. Having asked help from others and operated by myself, I find two efficient ways to create partition on hard drive. Let me show them one by one.

Note: Before all the operations, please ensure there is unallocated space and it must be separately displayed on the hard drive. If not, please try to generate the unallocated space by free partition manager

Something you should know about hard drive partition

To begin with, please try to understand following conceptions since you may need them during the operations

The Partition Type

Primary partition: It is usually used to save the files and programs of operating systems. Meanwhile, it is the guidance for system booting. System files can only be stored on primary partition. 

Extended partition: It is a member of MBR and made up of many logical drives.

Logical partition: It is the portion of extended drive. Once an extended drive has been created, you can set up it as many as possible.

The Partition Size

The minimum and maximum size that you can use to create a partition will be given to you after query in Disk Management. You can decide the size of the created partition.

The Drive Letter

Unused letter is available for you to choose. Generally speaking, the system will default it for new drive. Yet, if you choose "Do Not Assign a Drive Letter or Drive Path" option, it's up to you to assign the new drive's letter afterwards.

Partition Format

You need to format a new drive before you are able to store files there. Windows provides detailed format information during formatting process. FAT32, NTFS, exFAT are three common types of file system that can be recognized by Windows. Therein, you can convert exFAT to NTFS using CMD flexibly. Compared with each other, FAT32 has higher compatibility to other operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux. NTFS has better security features, better recovery capabilities and file-level compression built-in.

Create New Simple Volume in Disk Management

After a brief acknowledgement of above terms, let’s learn how to create new partition using Disk Management

Step 1: Right click "My Computer" and choose "Manage". Then, you will enter the computer management interface. Please choose the "Disk Management" on the left options to make sure if the unallocated space is existed in the disk.

Step 2: Right click the unallocated space and select "New Simple Volume". Following, select "Next". There are three options: Primary, Extended or Logical Partition. Actually, the system will default the type of new volume. If the unallocated space is located in the primary drive's area, the new one will be primary one, while in extended drive area, it will be logical one.

Step 3: Please following the wizard, finish the size, file system, drive letter step by step. After that, choose "Finish".

How to create partition on hard drive in Diskpart?

Step 1: open Run box by pressing Windows key and R key simultaneously. Type diskpart and press Enter.

Step 2: at the Diskpart prompt, input the commands below to create a primary partition on hard drive.

  • list disk

  • select disk n (where n is the number of disk that you want to create partition on)

  • create partition primary size=102400 (MB, meaning you’ll create a 100GB primary partition)

  • assign drive letter=H

Diskpart Create Partition on Hard Drive

Tips: to create other types of partition, you can type “create partition extended size=102400” or “create partition logical size=102400” without quotes.

Create partition on external hard drive without losing data in Windows 7/8/10

Mentioned two methods are simple yet both of them are based on the existing unallocated space on the hard drive. When there is no unallocated space on the disk, you may want to try this free software to create partition on hard drive.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard allows you to create partition from existing partition directly without deleting the partition. No need to generate unallocated space in advance. You can create primary/extended/logical partition with NTFS/FAT32/exFAT file system as you wish. It supports moving partition as well. Free download to have a try. 

Step 1: connect the external hard drive to your PC and make sure it can be detected. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Step 2: right click the partition that has redundant space and select Create Partition from the list. In the popping up window, you can specify partition size, drive letter, and partition label, partition type and file system of new partition after clicking on Advanced. Click OK on completion.

Create Partition

Step 3: preview the result. Click Apply to execute the pending operation.

Tips:

  • You can create partition with FAT32 file system only when the partition is equal or smaller than 32GB in size in Disk Management and Diskpart. However, AOMEI Partition Assistant does not have that kind of restriction. You can even format 500GB hard drive to FAT32 using the software if the need ever arises.

  • You can create partition on USB flash drive, portable hard drive, removable drive, SD card, etc. by repeating these steps. However, Windows only recognize the first primary partition on removable flash drives like USB stick and SD card.

Conclusion

When it comes to create partition on hard drive like external hard drive, portable drive or other types of storage, you have three methods in total, Disk Management, Diskpart and powerful AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Moreover, you can use this software to create Windows to go USB drive if you’re running Windows 8 or Windows 10 (No need to being Enterprise edition). Thus, installing Windows 10 on external hard drive is also possible. In fact, the advanced version, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, supports create partition and resize partition in CMD. You may want to upgrade to learn more.