Partitioning the Hard Drive/9.2

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PC-BSD® does not come with a built-in partition manager. The installer assumes that the drive is already prepared for an installation. If you are not planning to install PC-BSD® onto the entire hard drive, you will need to use a third-party application in order to prepare a primary partition to use as the destination for your PC-BSD® install.

NOTE: PC-BSD® will not install into a secondary or logical partition, it must be a primary partition.

Before creating or editing your hard drive's partitions, make sure that you first back up your valuable data to an external media such as a removable USB drive!

This section demonstrates how to create free space within Windows 7 and how to use Parted Magic to create a primary partition from the free space.

Shrinking a Drive in Windows 7

If you are currently running Windows 7, it is using the entire hard drive. This means that you will need to first shrink the drive in order to make room to create a new partition. Shrinking is an operation that retains the current data on the partition, while reducing the size of the partition.

To shrink the drive, go to Start menu ➜ right-click ComputerManageStorageDisk Management. Figure 2.3a shows an example of a system running Windows 7. In this example, Windows has created three partitions: a 16GB recovery partition, a 100MB system partition, and a 450GB data partition.

Figure 2.3a: Viewing Disk Layout in Disk Management


NOTE: if you plan to dual-boot with Windows, it is important that you do not choose to install PC-BSD® into any of these three partitions when you get to the Disk Selection Screen of the installer. It is a good idea to write down the sizes of the partitions so that you will recognize them when the PC-BSD® installer displays your current partitions.

Since the three Windows partitions are using the entire disk, the data partition needs to be shrunk in order to create space to install PC-BSD® into. To shrink the data partition, right-click the partition, in this example it is called Acer (C:), and select "Shrink Volume". Wait a moment as it queries the volume for available shrink space; the results will be displayed as seen in the example in Figure 2.3b.

Figure 2.3b: Available Shrink Space


In this example, 321089MB of space is available. To divide the partition between Windows and PC-BSD®, change that number to 230000 and click the "Shrink" button. When finished, the newly created free space will be displayed, as seen in Figure 2.3c.

Figure 2.3c: Disk Now Has Free Space


You can now format the newly created free space using a utility such as Parted Magic, as described in the next section.

NOTE: while the Disk Management utility in Windows 7 indicates that it will let you format a primary partition, in reality it will only create an extended partition which will not allow you to install PC-BSD®. This means that you still need another utility such as Parted Magic.

Using Parted Magic to Create a Primary Partition

Parted Magic[1] is a graphical, easy-to-use partition editor that is packaged on a live CD. It can be used to shrink an existing partition and to create a primary partition from existing free space.

To use Parted Magic, download the latest file, unzip it, and burn it to CD. Boot the system with the CD and let it boot into "Default settings (Runs from RAM)". Wait for it to boot into the graphical screen, then select the "Partition Editor" desktop icon.

Figure 2.3d shows the same Windows 7 system in Partition Editor. The 225.05GB partition is the Windows data partition (which was displayed as drive C within Windows 7) and the 224.61GB of unallocated space was created using the Windows Disk Management utility. The "Create new Partition" screen was opened by right-clicking on the unallocated space and selecting "New" from the menu.

Figure 2.3d: Formatting the Unallocated Space into a Primary Partition


When creating your partition from unallocated space, make sure that "Primary Partition" is selected. The file system type does not matter as the PC-BSD® installer will reformat it. It is a good idea to write down the size and file system type so that you will recognize the partition that you will be installing PC-BSD® into. Once you have made your selections, click the "Add" button. Note that the partition will not actually be created until you click the "Apply" button to apply your changes. A popup menu will prompt you to make sure that you have selected the correct partition, as formatting a partition destroys all data on that portion of the disk. Once the operation is complete you can reboot and start the PC-BSD® installation.