MCTS 70-680: Managing disks in Windows 7

Uploaded by itfreetraining on 22.01.2012

Welcome back to anther free Windows 7 video for the 70-680 exam. This video looks at managing
hard disks in Windows 7. Let’s start from the beginning and look at what happens when
you put a brand new hard disk into Windows 7.
Once a new hard disk has been installed in a Windows 7 computer it must first be initialized.
The process of initializing the hard disk creates a boot record and partition table.
This information tells the bios the layout out of the hard disk and where to find software
to boot the operating system. When Windows 7 initializes the hard disk you
will be asked what type of partition table that you want to create. The first type is
MBR. MBR or master boot record dates back to the MS dos days and thus is great for backward
compatibility. Like most technologies back in those days it was based on the hardware
available at the time and thus there are some limitations when it is used with modern hardware.
Firstly there is a limit of 2 Terra bytes useable space on the hard disk. With hard
disks larger than 2 Terra bytes on the market you will not be able to access any of the space
after the 2 terra bytes using MBR. With MBR you can create up to 4 primary partitions.
A partition in simple terms is an area of hard disk that has been divided up. Once a
partition is created it is usually assigned to a volume and assigned a drive letter.
Using primary partitions you could have 4 drive letters per hard disk. To increase this
number of assignable letters a hard disk can have one of these primary partitions
changed to an extended partition. Inside the extended partition you can create logical
partitions taking the total number of partitions an MBR hard disk can have up to 26.
The next type of partition table is GPT. GPT or GUID partition table supports 128 primary
partitions per hard disk. Why you would need that many I don’t know, but if you do it
supports it. The big advantage with GPT partition tables is that it supports hard disks over
2 Terra Bytes. The disadvantage with GPT is that older operating
systems may not support it. The support of GPT varies from operating to operating system.
Windows 7 and Vista 64 bit editions can read and write to GPT as well as boot from them.
Newer 32bit operating system can only use GPT hard disks as a data drive, booting is
not supported. When deciding which partition table to use
I would personally select MBR where possible because with MBR it will work on every operating
system. If you have a hard disk that is close to 2 terra bytes or greater I would select
GPT. Some software such as backup software can have problems with hard disks that are close
to the 2 Terra byte limit and using MBR. Windows 7 allows you to convert MBR to GPT
and vice versa. Having said that in order to do this you need to remove all volumes
and partitions from the hard disk. This means all the data on the hard disk will be lost.
Now that you understand the basics of how hard disks work in Windows 7, I will now change
to my Windows 7 computer to demonstrate how to use disk management.
To access disk management you can open computer management from the control panel or right
click your computer in Windows explorer and select manage. Instead of doing this I am
going to run disk mgmt.msc from the start menu. This will launch the disk management
tool using all the screen real estate for disk management. If I open computer management
to access the disk management tool some of the real estate is lost to other display options.
Once I open disk management, Windows 7 will detect that a new hard disk that has been
installed in this computer. When a new hard disk is installed, Windows will ask you to
initialize the disk. Notice at the bottom I have the option to select Master boot record
or MBR. Under this you have the option to use Guid partition table or GPT.
In this case the hard disk is only 128 Giga Bytes so I will select MBR. If I right click
the hard drive I have the option to convert the hard disk to a GPT hard disk. This option
is available as there are no partitions on the hard disk.
Under this notice I have the option to make the drive off line. You would most like use
this option if you wanted to remove the hard disk from the computer. Now that the hard
disk is initialized, I can right click the unallocated space on the drive and select
the option new simple volume to start the volume wizard.
The first question you will get asked is how much of the free space you want to use in
this partition. In this case I will accept the default and allocate all the space on
the hard disk to the one partition. On the next screen of the wizard you get asked if
you want to assign a drive letter to the partition. If you wish, you can also mount the partition
to an existing folder. For example, if I select browse I can create a new folder on the c
drive and mount this partition under that folder. This will mean that any files or folders
that I put under this folder will put onto this hard disk.
The last option will not assign a drive letter to the hard disk. If you select this option
that hard disk will still appear in disk management and you can always assign a drive letter to
it later or assign it to a folder. On the screen you can decide which format
you want to format the hard disk with. The options will be NTFS and exFat. Fat is
a very old system that gives you the most compatibility. It dates back to Windows 98
days. Now day’s fat is generally only used only on flash drives. Fat does not have security
and does not support additional options such as compressions and encryption.
The next option allows you to assign the block size used for the format. Large blocks sizes
are more efficient but you will lose space if you store a lot of small files. Unless
you have a really good reason I would just leave it on the default setting.
Next you can set the drive label. Notice under this the option perform a quick format is
ticked by default. I would leave this option ticked. If you untick this option Windows
will perform a slow format which will take a very long time to complete. If you think
that the hard disk may have bad sectors then I would not perform a quick format. Performing
the slow format will check all the sectors on the drive and identify any bad sectors.
I can now finish the wizard and the volume will be created and formatted. Once the volume
has finished formatting I can right click it and get additional options. At the top
I can select the option mark partition as active. When a computer boots the bios will
look for an active partition. The active partition contains boot strap code that is used to boot
the computer. Only one partition on the computer needs to be active at one time. When Windows
7 is installed the set up program will automatically make one of the partitions an active partition.
In most cases you should never need to select this option.
The next option allows you to change the drive letter and path. If you have already assigned
a drive letter to a hard disk you can change it by selecting this option. Under this you
have the option to format. Below this you have the option to shrink a
volume. If I select this option I can enter in a new size for the volume. Windows will
only be able to shrink the volume based on how much free space is at the end of the hard
disk. For this example I have reduced the volume by 50 percent.
If you find that you have lots of free space but you can’t shrink the volume as much
as you thought, right click the volume and select properties. In the properties area
select the tab tools. From here select the option defragment now. This will move all
the free space to the end of the hard disk so you can shrink the volume.
If I right click the drive, notice that the option convert to GPT disk is grayed out.
This is because there is a partition on the hard disk. If I delete the partition notice
that if I right click the hard disk, that this time I can select the option convert
to GPT disk. The process does not take long to complete. If you decide that you want to
go back to MBR you can always right click the drive and select convert to MBR disk.
Everything that you can do in the disk management gui tool you can also do from the command
line. This is done with the utility disk part. To run disk part, open a command prompt from
the start menu. Notice that I did not start the command prompt with administrator rights.
When I run disk part notice that window 7 will prompt me to run the software as an administrator
and then will open a new window with disk part running.
The first command that I am going to look at with disk part is the list command. In
this case I will use the disk option to list all the hard disks on this system. I could
also use the option for list partitions, volumes or virtual disk.
Before you can start performing any actions on a hard disk it needs to be selected using
the select command. This set the focus of all the commands to follow. Once again you
have the same options, being able to select a disk, partition, volume or virtual disk.
By using the list disk command I was able to find out that the hard disk that I want
to work with is number 2. To select this hard disk all I need to do is run select disk 2.
Now that I have selected the disk, I can create a partition using the command create partition
primary. If you wanted to create an extended or logical partition you could also do that
here is well. You only need to worry about extended and logical partitions when using
MBR and you require more than 4 partitions on a single hard disk. If you don’t need
more need then 4 partitions on a MBR hard disk then I would always only create primary
partitions. Once I have created the partition I can see
the partition using the list command. Notice the asterisk on the far left hand side. This
indicates that this partition is selected. If you wanted to select this partition or
anther partition, use the command select partition and the number. Notice that partitions start
there numbering from 1 while hard disks start there numbering from zero.
If you want to remove everything from the hard disk you can use the clean command. Be
careful with this command because as you can see, Windows did not give you any warnings
before the command ran. Once complete, all data on the hard disk is lost.
Currently this hard disk is an MBR hard disk and has no partitions on it since I ran the
clean command. If I want to convert it to a GPT hard disk, I can run the command convert
GPT. All the commands from the GUI can be run in
disk part. In most cases you will use the GUI as it is easier. In some cases you may
want to use disk part, for example if you need to script commands.
In the next video I will look at dynamic disks and RAID. If you have enjoyed this video please
feel free to visit are web page or you tube channel for more free videos for Windows 7
and Windows server 2008 R2. Thanks for watching.