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Partition External HD

How do I partition external HD?  What are the benefits? When should it be done?  I have about 5 Gig of data as of now (expected to increase) on my main HD and 80 on my external HD.  Thanks!
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2 Solutions
Depending on whether or not you already have data on the external HD, you can use either a program such as Partition Magic, from Symantecs, or the built in XP tool called Disk Management.  (Or you could even boot to a Win9x boot disk and use the Fdisk tool.)  Microsoft's tools (Disk Management or Fdisk) would only be used if you do not need to save any data on the HD; otherwise a commercial product like PM is  necessary.  Here is part of a write up from the XP online help documentation on creating a partition using Disk Management:

To create a partition or logical drive
Using the Windows interface

Open Computer Management (Local).
In the console tree, click Disk Management.

Computer Management (Local)
Disk Management
Right-click an unallocated region of a basic disk, and then click New Partition, or right-click free space in an extended partition, and then click New Logical Drive.
In the New Partition Wizard, click Next, click Primary partition, Extended partition, or Logical drive, and then follow the instructions on your screen.

To open Computer Management, click Start, and then click Control Panel. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Computer Management.
You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.
You can create primary partitions, extended partitions, and logical drives only on basic disks. You should create basic volumes instead of dynamic volumes if this computer also runs MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, or Windows XP Home Edition.
On a master boot record (MBR) disk, you can create up to four primary partitions, or three primary partitions and one extended partition.
On a GUID partition table (GPT) disk, you can create up to 128 primary partitions.

The Fdisk tool used in Win9x can also be used if the disk if formatted with FAT32, rather than NTFS.  More info on this from Microsoft:;en-us;313348
HOW TO: Partition and Format a Hard Disk in Windows XP

If you want/need to use commercial software, try looking for Partition Magic at  There are also other tools  available, including some free ones:

Partition Manager

Partition Manager from Paragon provides easy and safe partitioning functions to even non-professional users.

With Partition Manager you can reclaim wasted disk space, organize your data, add new operating systems, speed up file system performance.

In the past, partition modification was risky and time-consuming task. Users had to backup all files, create new partitions, format them, may be reinstall operating system, and restore data. With Partition Manager you just select what partition modification should be done. All will be done automatically without  data loss.

System Commander

System Commander 7 provides the ultimate OS management and full partitioning in one integrated package!

 Supports every PC-compatible OS!
 Automatic preparation for adding OSes
 New - user selectable graphics
 New - installs from any Windows, including Windows XP NTFS.
 Free! Partition Commander 6 - Safe resize, create, move & copy for Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP, Linux and DOS partitions.
 Undo partitioning with exclusive BackStep technology.

Partition Commander

Partition Commander lets you reclaim hard disk space, organize your files, add new operating systems (OSes), and in many cases speed up hard drive access speeds. Best of all, you don't have to be an expert. Partition Commander automates the process - guiding you through step-by-step. Where you have a choice, helpful suggestions are made available - the rest is handled automatically!

BootIT Next Generation

BootIt NG is a partition and multi boot manager with a powerful and simple to use set of tools for partitioning, imaging, and multi-booting your computer.  It combines the features of several standalone products costing hundreds of dollars more.

Here's a list of some of the features you'll find in BootIt NG:

Windows XP Compatible!
support for large hard drives (2 TB) and partitions (1-2 TB).
non-destructive resizing and conversion for FAT/FAT32.
non-destructive resizing for NTFS.
creation and deletion of partitions/volumes.
undelete partitions/volumes.
FAT/FAT32 formatting
copying and moving of partitions/volumes.
support for Linux Ext2/Ext3 and ReiserFS file systems.
Imaging (including directly to CD-R/RW or DVD+R+RW-R-RW)
booting any partition on any hard drive  
booting from the CD ROM drive
booting multiple operating systems from a single partition.
create over 200 primary partitions (if desired).
user id and password protection.
free upgrades (1.00-1.99) (registration-key versions only)  
and lots more....

zBoot Manager

zBoot Manager is an effective boot manager and partition manager, which allows you to easily install and use multiple operating systems on a single hard drive.

Acronis PartitionExpert

Resize, copy, and move partitions without losing data*
Create and delete partitions of any type
Format partitions*
Automatically optimize hard disk space usage
Convert FAT16 <=> FAT32, Linux Ext2 <=> Ext3 partitions without losing data
Change cluster size, automatically or manually**
Browse through the detailed information about all hard disks, partitions and file systems
Hide or make visible partitions of any type
Previewing changes made in partition layout before applying them to disk
Supports large disks over 180 Gb


Ranish Partition Manager
Partition Manager is a freeware program that partitions hard disks. It will help you to install and dualboot Linux and multiple copies of Windows. For example, it will let you to run Win ME, Win 2k, and Linux on a single box. Also, using Partition Manager you can copy, move, and resize disk partitions.

Partition Resizer
The popular freeware partitioning program is back! The first free program to resize and move partitions without data loss, is now more complete, with support for disks up to 2TB of size.

New features include:

 Int13 extensions support allows handling of disks up to 2TB (2048GB) of size.
 New Resizing/Moving engine with simpler inerface. Move and resize your partitions in one step.
 Transparent extended partition resizing (no more confusion with extended partitions).
 Command line parameters for accessing advanced options (read-only operation etc.).
LucynkaAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the info!!!

Just one question: why couldn't I use Microsoft disk management if I needed the HD to store data?
If you don't care about wiping out the data (for example, you have it backed up) then you can use disk management, but since -- unlike Partition Magic and  others -- it doesn't partition a hard drive while saving the data, you will need to use a non Microsoft product if you haven't and/or cannot back it up.  Also, the disk management tool cannot be used to create a new partition out of anything but "unallocated space", and since it cannot resize a partition, you would have to delete the existing partition(s) in order to create new one(s).  (When you delete a partition with disk management the space becomes unallocated.)
Lucynka, is your question answered?  If so, then please close the question.  See the following section of the E-E help pages:

Help on Closing Questions
LucynkaAuthor Commented:
My question was answered, but because of what I was doing with my computer - clean install, install of all the software and restoring the back ups, I had not chance yet to look at any of the software you suggested or to test it.  In fact, I was off line for a couple of days.  I thought I had a little more time to do that.  And I thought one should accept an answer that worked.    
But I will be happy to close this question.  I'm sure I have plenty to go on once I can start working on it.
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