How to Create a Partition in DOS

by Andrew Macauley
Jupiterimages/ Images

Partitioning your hard drive can have numerous benefits. From allowing you to better manage your data by quarantining music and movie files from system files--which in turn will help keep you from losing all your media if you ever need to reformat--to allowing you to install a second operating system on the same drive, there are few reasons to not partition your hard drive. And if you have been having trouble with getting the process to work through Windows itself, using the DOS command prompt is a great way to get the job done.

Partitioning Your Hard Drive in the DOS Command Prompt

Step 1

Download DiskPart from, and follow the instructions to install if you are using Windows XP.

Step 2

Windows Vista and Windows 7 have DiskPart installed by default.

Step 3

Log in to your computer as an administrator and click the “Start” button.

Step 4

Click “All Programs” in Windows Vista or Windows 7. Click “Run…” in Windows XP.

Step 5

Click “Accessories,” right-click on “Command Prompt” and click “Run as Administrator” in Vista or Windows 7. Type “cmd” in Windows XP and press “Enter.”

Step 6

Type “diskpart”.

Step 7

Type “list volume”. Note the volume number of the drive you would like to partition, as well as the amount of space available.

Step 8

Type “select volume” and then the number of the drive you would like to partition and press "Enter." For example, if the drive you want to partition is labeled “Volume 2,” you would type “select volume 2” in the prompt.

Type “shrink desired=” followed by the size you would like in megabytes, and “shrink minimum=” followed by the minimum size you want the drive to be if your desired size is too large. For example, if you would like your new partition to be 11 gigabytes (GB), but need it to be a minimum of 7 GB, you would type “shrink desired=11000 minimum=7000” since 1 gigabyte is equal to 1000 megabytes.


  • Keep in mind that even though your newly partitioned drives appear separate in your operating system, they are physically located on the same disk, and you should not use one to back up data from the other. Use external media, such as a portable hard drive or DVD-RWs.


  • Certain system files, such as shadow copies and recovery points in Vista and Windows 7, may keep you from being able shrink your disk to the desired size. If your computer has been running well, you may want to consider deleting all but the most recent restore point by clicking “Start,” typing “Disk Cleanup” into the search bar, right clicking on “Disk Cleanup,” selecting “Run as administrator,” clicking on the “More Options“ tab, and clicking “Clean up…” under the “System Restore and Shadow Copies” section.


Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Andrew Macauley has been writing professionally since early 2009 as a serial novelist. He is the author of the blog Fallout 101 and has four years of professional experience in the field of computer repairs.

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