A multiboot setup requires multiple hard drives or a hard drive that has multiple partitions. To create a new partition, access the Disk Management Utility, as shown in Figure 1. You can also use the Disk Management utility to complete the following tasks:
- View drive status
- Extend partitions
- Split partitions
- Assign drive letters
- Add drives
- Add arrays
To access the Disk Management utility in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, use the following path:
Start > right-click Computer > Manage > select Disk Management
To access the Disk Management utility in Windows XP, use the following path:
Start > right-click My Computer > Manage > select Disk Management
The Disk Management utility displays the status of each disk, as shown in Figure 2. The drives in the computer display one of the following conditions:
- Foreign - A dynamic disk that has been moved to a computer from another computer running Windows XP
- Healthy - A volume that is functioning properly
- Initializing - A basic disk that is being converted into a dynamic disk
- Missing - A dynamic disk that is corrupted, turned off, or disconnected
- Not Initialized - A disk that does not contain a valid signature
- Online - A basic or dynamic disk that is accessible and shows no problems
- Online (Errors) - I/O errors detected on a dynamic disk
- Offline - A dynamic disk that is corrupted or unavailable
- Unreadable - A basic or dynamic disk that has experienced hardware failure, corruption, or I/O errors
Other drive status indicators might be displayed when using drives other than hard drives, such as an audio CD that is in the optical drive or a removable drive that is empty.
In Disk Manager, you can extend primary partitions and logical drives if there is unallocated space on the hard disk. To extend a basic disk, it must be formatted with the NTFS file format. Extending a hard disk increases the amount of space available on a primary partition or logical drive. Logical drives and system volumes must be extended into contiguous space, and the disk type must be converted to dynamic. Other partitions can be extended into noncontiguous space, and the disk type must be converted to dynamic
To extend a partition in the Disk Manager, follow these steps:
Step 1. Right-click the desired partition.
Step 2. Click Extend Volume.
Step 3. Follow the instructions on the screen.
If a hard drive is partitioned automatically in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, there is only one partition. If you want to split the partition, you can use the Shrink Volume feature. This feature reduces the size of the original partition, which creates unallocated disk space that is used to create a new partition. You must format the unallocated space and assign it a drive letter.
To shrink a partition in Windows 7 and Windows Vista from the Disk Management utility, right-click the drive and select Shrink Volume.
Assigning Drive Letters
You can change, add, and remove drive letters and paths. By default, Windows assigns a letter to a partition or drive after it is created or added. You can change the drive designation to any letter as long as that letter is not already in use.
To change a drive letter in Windows 7 from the Disk Management utility, right-click the drive and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
To increase the amount of storage space available on a computer, or implement a RAID setup, you can add drives to the computer. If the additional hard drive has been installed correctly, the BIOS should automatically recognize it. After the drive is installed, you can check if it is recognized using the Disk Management utility. If the disk is available, it probably requires formatting before it can be used. If it does not appear, troubleshoot the problem.
To set up a RAID, two or more drives must be installed in a computer. You can add an array with the Disk Management utility. You have the following options:
- New Spanned Volume - Creates a disk partition that consists of disk space from more than one physical disk. The data on a spanned volume is not fault tolerant.
- New Striped Volume - A dynamic partition that stores data in stripes on more than one physical disk. The data on a striped volume is not fault tolerant.
- New Mirrored Volume - Duplicates data from one disk to one or more additional physical disks. The data on a mirrored volume is fault tolerant.
- New RAID-5 Volume - A dynamic partition that stores data in stripes on more than one physical disk, while also providing parity for each stripe. The data on a RAID-5 volume is fault tolerant.
NOTE: The options available for adding an array are based on system limitations. Not all options may be available.
To add an array in the Disk Management utility, right-click the desired disk and select an option.