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Primary partition VS logical drive

  • As known to many users, a brand new hard disk can not be used until users divide it into 1 or more chunks which are called hard disk partitions. There are 3 types of hard disk partitions, namely primary partition, extended partition, and logical drive. Users can get detailed information about each partition from Windows built-in Computer/Disk Management:

    From the interface above we can see partition C and partition E are primary partitions and partition F and Partition G are logical drives. Next, let's get to know features of these 2 types of hard disk partitions.

    Primary Partition VS Logical Drive

    Primary partition is the hard disk partition where both Windows OS and user data can reside, and it is the only partition that can be set active. In addition, only one primary partition on one hard disk can be set as active to boot operating system at a time. It is created by using unallocated space rather than free space. On a MBR disk, there can only be 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition at most.

    Logical Drive is the very volume that resides in extended partition. Extended partition can not be used to store data directly unless users partition it to logical drives. A hard disk drive can contain the maximum of 1 extended partition, but the extended partition can be divided into multiple logical drives. Logical partitions can also be used to install Windows, but there must be a primary partition to save boot files.

    Now, users would get a basic understanding of primary partition and logical drive. Different partition type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so users need to convert partition type between primary and logical in specified situations. For example, if users want to create more partitions on a MBR disk when there have been 4 primary partitions, they need to set one of primary partitions as logical (note: boot partition and system partition are not suggested); if users want to install Windows operating system but there is no primary partition available to save boot files, they can set one of logical drives as primary.

    How to Change Partition Type

    Users can turn to Windows built-in Disk Management to complete some basic partition operations, like create partition, delete partition, and format partition. But to change partition type, they had better ask third-party partition manager for help, because this tool does not provide such a function. Here, we suggest using MiniTool Partition Wizard to convert partition type. It is able to set partition as logical or set partition as primary in one step and without data loss. Specific operations are as follows: right click the target partition and choose "Set Partition as Logical" or "Set Partition as Primary" from the submenu of "Modify". At last, click "Apply" button in toolbar to apply changes to computer. After application, the work to change partition type is finished completely.

    Knowing features of primary partition and logical drive is good for computer use, and users can change partition type reasonably to meet actual demands.