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Lesson 4Determine disk partition options
ObjectiveDefine how and when disk partitioning should be used with Windows.

What is disk partitioning?

Define how and when disk partitioning should be used with Windows.
Disk partitioning is a way of dividing your physical disk so that each section functions as a separate unit.
When you create partitions on a disk, you divide the disk into one or more areas that can be formatted for use by a file system, such as File Allocated Table (FAT) or the NTFS file system.

How to partition a disk

Windows provides two built-in methods for partitioning disks:
  1. Windows Setup: The Setup program will give you the option of creating a new partition.
    Use this method only when creating and sizing the partition on which you will install Windows.
Create Partition Wizard Overview

Partitioning a disk during setup

During system setup, you will be presented with different partition options, depending on what the Setup program detects about the system on which you are installing Windows.
In some cases, you will be installing onto a brand new system with no existing partitions, or a system that has had all data removed.
However, in many cases you will be installing onto a system that has already been in use, and you will need to make configuration choices based on those partitions.
Disk partitioning options are only available during setup if you are installing from a CD.

If a partition already exists

If a partition already exists, proceed according to the bullet point below that matches your situation:
  1. If there's enough unpartitioned disk space to hold Windows, you can install a second partition.
  2. If the existing partition is large enough to hold Windows, you can install Windows on that partition (without creating a new one). Be aware that if you install an operating system on an existing partition, the new operating system will overwrite the old one.
  3. If there is not enough unpartitioned disk space to hold Windows, nor enough space within the existing partition, you can delete the existing partition, then create a new one.

Deleting existing partition

Deleting an existing partition will render any data on that partition unavailable.

If there is no existing partition

If there is no existing partition, you can create and size a new one for Windows.
The following SlideShow illustrates some of the installation partition scenarios you might encounter using Setup to install Windows.

In the next lesson you will learn how to select a file system.