What Is Hard Drive Partitioning?

The hard drive is one of the most important components of a computer. Also known as a hard disk drive, it’s a piece of hardware that’s used to store and retrieve data. When you download a video or install a program, the respective data will store the respective data. The next time you access the video or program, your computer will read the data from the hard drive.

It’s not uncommon, however, for business owners and consumers to partition their computer’s hard drive. What is partitioning exactly? And what benefits does it offer?

Hard Drive Partitioning Explained

Partitioning refers to virtually segmenting two or more parts of a hard drive. When you partition a hard drive, you are essentially splitting into multiple segments. Each segment is essentially isolated from the other segments. As a result, it’s treated like an entirely separate hard drive on your computer.

Both traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) as well as solid-state drives (SSDs) support partitioning. It’s typically a feature built into most operating systems, including Windows. In Windows 10, for example, you access the partitioning tool by searching for “Disk Management,” followed by choosing “Create and format hard disk partitions.” The tool will then walk you through the steps of partitioning your computer’s hard drive.

Reasons for Partitioning

Partitioning your computer’s hard drive is useful for several reasons. If you’re installing a new operating system, for example, you should probably install it on a partitioned segment of your hard drive so that it’s isolated from the rest of your computer’s stored data. If you simply install the new operating system on an unpartitioned hard drive — where the rest of your computer’s data is stored — it could be jeopardized if something happens to it.

Another reason to partition your computer’s hard drive is to protect against cyber threats. If you’re using your computer for business purposes, you can create separate partition specifically for sensitive or otherwise critical data. Even if a hacker or some other nefarious individual accesses the main segment of your hard drive, he or she won’t be able to retrieve the sensitive or critical data if it’s stored on the partition.

You can partition your computer’s hard drive to better organize your data. If you store a lot of media files, for example, you can create a partition specifically for video files and other partition specifically for image files. These are just a few reasons to partition your computer’s hard drive.