In Windows 7 (and Vista) simple volumes are created on basic disks with or without partitions and on dynamic disks when no other disks are available to form a stripe set or spanned volume. Therefore, it is the default volume type that has the basic features such as, extend and shrink volumes! It is recommended to use basic disks with simple volumes if you do not require the advanced features of dynamic disks.
To create a simple volume, follow these steps with administrator privileges:
- Open the Disk Management console by typing disk management in the Start search text box and click Create and format hard disk partitions or from the Computer Management console found in Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools
- Right click an unallocated space on the new disk and select New Simple Volume – the New Simple Volume Wizard starts
- Specify the volume size in MB – the default is the maximum available space
- The next screen shows the default assigned drive letter, you can set any available letter from the drop-down list, while, you can also create a volume without a drive letter or mount it in an empty folder
- In the next format partition screen, it is recommended to leave the default file system and allocation unit size settings while type in a meaningful name in the volume label text field. If you suspect that the drive may contain bad blocks I suggest you perform a long format (uncheck the Perform a quick format), otherwise do a quick format as the process may take very long especially with large capacity drives. Also, you can enable file and folder compression for this volume
- The final screen is a summary of all set parameters, if no changes are required click Finish
When using the DiskPart command-line tool make sure that you create a partition on a basic disk while a simple volume on a dynamic disk, otherwise the tool fails. The Disk Management snap-in is more intelligent and adjusts itself according to the disk type.
As most standard Windows installations format the entire disk with one partition or volume (excluding the hidden 100MB system partition), creating additional partitions without installing a new hard disk requires you to resize or better to shrink your existing volume. In certain computer setups, one would be better off with two or more partitions rather than having one large volume (sometimes referred to as the boot drive or the c: local disk). A typical case might be when creating a partition that hosts backups. Usually, backups are large files that take plenty of hard disk space and may halt your system because after so many jobs no free space may be left available for the system to operate. Also, it is by far more simpler to resize an existing volume rather than backing up all data, deleting and re-creating two or more partitions when your system is already installed.
To shrink a volume using Disk Management, perform the following procedure:
- Open the Disk Management console by typing disk management in the Search text box from the start menu, and click the Create and format hard disk partitions link
- From the Disk Management console, right-click the volume you want to shrink and click Shrink volume – the system checks and discovers the maximum available shrink size.
- From the Shrink dialog box specify the amount which you want to shrink the volume or leave the displayed value to shrink to the maximum amount
- The shrink process proceeds without further prompting and at the end you should be able to see a new unallocated space. Then, prepare this newly created space as a new volume.
- To revert back before you prepare the new volume you can right-click the shrinked volume and click Extend Volume and follow the Welcome to the Extend Volume Wizard