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INTRODUCTION

This step-by-step article describes how to use the Windows XP Disk Management snap-in to configure a basic disk and prepare it for use. This article also describes how to create and delete partitions, and how to format volumes with the FAT, FAT32, or NTFS file systems.



More information

Basic disks and volumes

Basic disk storage supports partition-oriented disks. A basic disk is a physical disk that contains primary partitions, extended partitions, or logical drives. Partitions and logical drives on basic disks are also known as basic volumes. You can create up to four primary partitions, or three primary partitions and one extended partition, that contain logical drives.

If you are running Windows XP Professional and one or more of the following operating systems on the same computer, you must use basic volumes, because these operating systems cannot access data that is stored on dynamic volumes:
  • Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 or earlier
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me)
  • Microsoft Windows 98
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • MS-DOS

How to use Disk Management

To start Disk Management:
  1. Log on as administrator or as a member of the Administrators group.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type compmgmt.msc, and then click OK.
  3. In the console tree, click Disk Management. The Disk Management window appears. Your disks and volumes appear in a graphical view and list view. To customize how you view your disks and volumes in the upper and lower panes of the window, point to Top or Bottom on the View menu, and then click the view that you want to use.
NOTE: Microsoft recommends that you create a full back up of your disk contents before you make any changes to your disks or volumes.

How to create a new partition or a new logical drive

To create a new partition or logical drive on a basic disk:
  1. In the Disk Management window, complete one of the following procedures, and then continue to step 2:
    • To create a new partition, right-click unallocated space on the basic disk where you want to create the partition, and then click New Partition.
    • To create a new logical drive in an extended partition, right-click free space on an extended partition where you want to create the logical drive, and then click New Logical Drive.
  2. In the New Partition Wizard, click Next.
  3. Click the type of partition that you want to create (either Primary partition, Extended partition, or Logical drive), and then click Next.
  4. Specify the size of the partition in the Partition size in MB box, and then click Next.
  5. Decide whether to manually assign a drive letter, let the system automatically enumerate the drive, or do not assign a drive letter to the new partition or logical drive, and then click Next.
  6. Specify the formatting options you want to use by using one of the following procedures:
    • If you do not want to format the partition, click Do not format this partition, and then click Next.
    • If you want to format the partition, click Format this partition with the following settings, and then complete the following procedure in the Format dialog box:
      1. Type a name for the volume in the Volume label box. This is an optional step.
      2. Click the file system that you want to use in the File system box.

        You can change the disk allocation unit size, and then specify whether to perform a quick format, or enable file and folder compression on NTFS volumes.
      Click Next.

  7. Confirm that the options that selected are correct, and then click Finish.
The new partition or logical drive is created and appears in the appropriate basic disk in the Disk Management window. If you chose to format the volume in step 6, the format process now starts.

How to format a basic volume

To format a partition, logical drive or basic volume:
  1. In the Disk Management window, right-click the partition or logical drive that you want to format (or reformat), and then click Format.
  2. In the Format dialog box, type a name for the volume in the Volume label box. This is an optional step.
  3. Click the file system that you want to use in the File system box. If you want, you can also change the disk allocation unit size, specify whether you want to perform a quick format, or enable file and folder compression on NTFS volumes.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Click OK when you are prompted to format the volume. The format process starts.

How to view the properties of a basic volume

To view the properties of a partition or logical drive:
  1. In the Disk Management window, right-click the partition or logical drive that you want, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the appropriate tab to view the appropriate property.

How to delete a partition or a logical drive

To delete a partition or logical drive:
  1. In the Disk Management window, right-click the partition or logical drive that you want to delete, and then click Delete Partition or Delete Logical Drive.
  2. Click Yes when you are prompted to delete the partition or logical drive. The partition or logical drive is deleted.
Important
  • When you delete a partition or a logical drive, all the data on that partition or logical drive, and the partition or the logical drive, are deleted.
  • You cannot delete the system partition, boot partition, or a partition that contains the active paging (swap) file.
  • You cannot delete an extended partition unless the extended partition is empty. All logical drives in the extended partition must be deleted before you can delete the extended partition.

Troubleshooting

Disk Management displays status descriptions in graphical view and under the Status column of list view to inform you of the current status of the disk or volume. Use these status descriptions to help you detect and troubleshoot disk and volume failures. The following is a partial list of disk and volume status descriptions:
  • Online
    This is the normal disk status when the disk is accessible and functioning correctly.
  • Healthy
    This is the normal volume status when the volume is accessible and functioning correctly.
  • Unreadable
    The disk is inaccessible because of possible hardware failure, corruption, or I/O errors.

    To troubleshoot this issue, restart the computer or rescan the disk to try and return the disk to Online status. To rescan the disk, open Computer Management, and then click Disk Management. On the Action menu, click Rescan Disks.
For a complete list of disk and volume status descriptions and troubleshooting procedures, see Disk Management Help. In the Disk Management snap-in or Computer Management window, click Help on the Action menu.



References

For additional information about how to use Disk Management to assign, to remove, or to change drive letters, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307844 How to change drive letter assignments in Windows XP
For additional information about how to configure dynamic disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
308424 How to use Disk Management to configure dynamic disks in Windows XP
For additional information about working basic disks and dynamic disks, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
175761 Dynamic vs. basic storage in Windows 2000
222189 Description of disk groups in Windows Disk Management
254105 Dynamic disk hardware limitations
For additional information about how to use the Diskpart command-line utility to manage your disks, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
300415 A description of the Diskpart command-line utility

Properties

Article ID: 309000 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster kbhowto kbenv KB309000

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