View Full Version : More than 4 partitions on a HDD

Ethan Morlox
04-02-2004, 12:16 AM

Is it possible to allocate more than 4 partitions on a HDD using WinXP?


04-02-2004, 02:03 AM
To have more than four partitions on any drive requires at least one extended partition, allowing you to create logical partitions inside the extended partition.

How you do it would depend on the current partitioning setup as well as whether or not Windows is currently installed.

Paul Komski
04-02-2004, 02:52 PM
To recap (and leaving aside dynamic disks) you can have up to four primary partitions on one physical hard drive - one of which may be an extended partition. Only one primary partition on a HDD may be marked as active (the system partition) and windows does not generally like to have two visible primary partitions at the same time. Changing the active partition nearly always hides all the other primary partitions. An extended partition is always invisible and is in essence only a container; the logical partitions inside it can however be visible or not.

The extended partition (constrained only by the minimum size of the partitions inside it) can contain any number of logical partitions. However, drive letters can only be assigned to a maximum of 26 volumes; one for each letter of the alphabet. Any other ones, with no drive letter, can be there but will not be "seen" by windows.

WinXP's Disk Management can do most things you will require in the partitioning game except for merging and resizing partitions; for that one needs a utility like Partition Magic.

How you set up the partitions at the start is therefore crucial if you are going to rely on WinXP to manage your partitions.

When this comes to the extended partition, first create one large logical partition - with dimensions that you intend to keep and then delete it. This will leave you with an empty extended partition into which you can then add any number of logical partitions. If you start off with just one small logical partition you will not be able to use WinXP's disk management to add additional ones into any available unallocated space on the drive that is not within an already-created extended partition.

That's the only problem with using WinXP's disk management - it is inflexible later on if you dont get the setup you want right at the start. Partition Magic is much more versatile and highly recommended if you are going to be messing with partitions (particularly ones containing data) to any extent at all.

Ethan Morlox
04-05-2004, 08:47 AM
Thanks a lot :)