A recent reader letter lamented the accidental deletion of a critical PC partition. The event rendered the machine unbootable.
It’s easy to get confused about Windows partition types. Here’s a refresher.
A summary of basic partition types and terms
Partitions are, of course, the basic building block of personal computer storage devices. Adding a new drive to a system might require defining whether it’s one big partition or several smaller partitions. Typically, you then set the partitions as simple volumes and format them. (Only the boot partition/volume is set to “active.”)
These basic steps can be managed with Windows built-in Disk Management app (diskmgmt.msc), but I prefer to use a more-powerful third-party tool such as EaseUS Partition Master (free, paid; site).
Figure 1 shows the drive layout for my test Windows 10 system. It has five partitions spread over three physical drives — it’s what you might see on a heavily use desktop PC. (Note: This system was upgraded from Windows 7 to Win8.1 to Win10.)
Right clicking a drive name and selecting Properties/Volumes, shows the drive type, partition style, and other important information about a physical drive, as shown in Figure 2.
Here’s a simple breakdown of that information.