The best reason to partition your hard drive is to keep your software applications and operating system on your PC separate from your data files (i.e. music, pictures and other valuable documents you store on your computer).
A separate partition (separate parts of your hard disk) for all your precious files can give you a measure of protection from a corrupted operating system needing a fresh install on the C drive. Despite the wiping down of the C drive and the reinstallation of the operating system your files on the separate partition will be perfectly safe.
However, if your hard drive fails totally, and is inaccessible, a separate partition will not save your files that is why we always recommend that you back up all your documents to another secure location. If you have two separate hard drives in your PC you can backup everything to the second drive. The chances of both drives crashing at the same time are remote. You can also backup everything to an external hard drive, and with the prices of these drives falling now is a great time to buy.
Each separate partition is treated as a separate hard disk by your operating system and will be displayed with its own drive letter under My Computer.
If your hard drive is large enough additional partitions can be created and used to run multiple operating systems on your PC.
If you are running Windows Vista or Windows 7 these have their own Disk Management Tools which can be used to partition your hard drive.
If you are running Windows XP we suggest that you use a third party tool to partition your hard drive such as Symantec's Norton Partition Magic or Paragon Partition Manager.
To use Symantec's Norton Partition Magic (which is our preferred tool) download the software from the Softonic website.
Once Partition Magic is downloaded run the program. Tick the box to install it for All Users and then click on the dark green strip labeled Free next to the C Drive. Chose Create from the options at the top.
Accept the default Primary Partition setting and then select the Format Partition option and give it a suitable name, selecting NTFS as the format type. Adjust the partition size as you wish, then hit Apply.
Reboot your PC when prompted to do so. Once you are back in Windows you should see your new partition listed as a separate drive under My Computer.
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