Making the most of Disk Management on Windows 10

Disk Management is a handy utility in Windows 10 that enables users to look at their computer's hard drive and carry out any fixes to it.

The tool is built into Windows 10 can be used to create, delete, format, extend and contract partitions. It can also be used to initialise a new hard drive with a Master Boot Record (MBR) and GUID Partition Table (GPT) partitioning structure.

Advantages of Disk Management

Other maintenance tools for disk drives can carry out easy tasks such as disk space, defragmenting hard drives and pooling drives together to form a larger single volume, but Disk Management has a more advanced feature set.

You can use Disk Management to retrieve the status of free hard drive space, for example, you can find out how much storage capacity a system has in total, as well as how much unused disk space remains.

Opening Disk Management

To open up the utility on your desktop, simply right-click on the Start Menu (or pressing Windows+X hotkey) and select"Disk Management".

You can also use the Windows+R hotkey to open the Run window and type "Diskmgmt.msc" before clicking OK, or pressing the enter key.

You can also access Disk Management through the Computer Management utility via the Control Panel (normally a shortcut from the Start Menu). You'd need to access the Systems and Security link, as it's known on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7, or System and Maintenance, as it's known on Windows Vista, and Performance and Maintenance on XP.

In the System and Security window, click on Administrative Tools found in the bottom of the window. In this new window, double-click on the Computer Management icon. Another window opens and then click on Disk Management.

Using Disk Management

With Disk Management open you can carry out a number of tasks. 

Extend a partition - To do this right click the partition you would like to expand and then choose Extend Volume. Sometimes a user will find the Extend Volume option is greyed out - this is because the Extend Volume in Windows 10 is only available when there is adjoining unallocated space behind the partition.

Create a virtual hard drive - You can create and attach a VHD file by using Disk Management. Choose Create VHD from the Action menu. You can specify settings in dialogue box such as the location of the VHD, its size, and format (dynamically expanding or fixed). Click OK to create the VHD. After this, the VHD is attached and is shown as an uninitialised disk.

Convert from MBR to GPT- A hard drive can be converted from an MBR disk to a GPT disk using Disk Management. To do this. Right-click on the disk in Disk Management and select Convert to GPT disk. (Make sure any volumes on the disk are removed first). The disk will be changed and should show as Online.