About Disk Partition

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Types of hard drive partitions

Partition Manager

Primary Partition is a partition that is needed to store and boot an operating system, though applications and user data can reside there as well, and what’s more, you can have a primary partition without any operating system on it. There can be up to a maximum of four primary partitions on a single hard disk, with only one of them set as active (see “Active partition”).

Active (boot) partition is a primary partition that has an operating system installed on it. It is used for booting your machine. If you have a single primary partition, it is regarded as active. If you have more than one primary partition, only one of them is marked active (in a given PC session).

Extended partition can be sub-divided into logical drives and is viewed as a container for logical drives, where data proper is located. An extended partition is not formatted or assigned a drive letter. The extended partition is used only for creating a desired number of logical partitions.

Logical drive is created within an extended partition. A logical partition is a way to extend the initial limitation of four partitions. An extended partition can contain up to 24 logical partitions (you’re limited by the number of drive letters and the amount of hard drive space available for creating drives; of course, it’s senseless to use 24 partitions on a system in most cases, because it will be a data organization nightmare). Logical partitions are used for storing data mainly, they can be formatted and assigned drive letters; their details are listed in the extended partition’s table - EMBR (Extended Master Boot Record).

See the following example to make all this clear: hard disk partition example