Why Partition Your External Hard Drive?

Partitioning an external drive means splitting the drive into specific segmented parts. Since external drives come with a single partition, it is essential to divide it, and why this helps you are mentioned below.

In this guide, you learn how to partition an external hard drive and the reasons to consider it.

How to Partition an External Drive?

You can partition an external drive and use it with any operating system. But you must be wary of the format. For instance, if you partition external hard drive Mac, the best format for the external drive will be APFS. If you wish to use the drive with other operating systems, the format to choose is exFAT.

To partition an external drive, follow these steps:

  • Attach the external drive to your computer

Plug the external drive into your computer using a USB plug. Mac users must go to the Utilities menu and choose Disk Utility to find the external drive. Windows users must access the Disk Management tool by clicking the Start menu and typing diskmgmt.msc.

  • Create a volume

A new volume must be created to designate the space needed for the partition. Also, you must name the volume.

Mac users must select Partition Layout to view the current partitions and accordingly set the capacity for the new one. Windows users must right-click on Free Space or Unallocated on the external drive, choose a volume and enter the volume size.

  • Confirm the partition

Mac users must click Apply, and Windows users must click Finish to finalize the partitioning process. To verify if the partition is set up correctly, you must review your external drive. If required, you can repeat the process and modify, add, or remove the partition.

When you are partitioning your external drive, it will be better if you are thorough. Also, you can use a digital file shredder to eliminate outdated files from your computer. This can play an essential role in partitioning your external hard drive.

Reasons to Partition External Drives

  • Enhanced security

Partitioning your external drive will keep your essential data safe from malware attacks. This is because your data is split into two or several parts. Even if one of the partitions is under attack, the other parts will be safe. Also, it is easier to remove malware by formatting the infected partition and reinstalling it.

Of course, this is dependent on the type of malware attack. If the attack is sophisticated, the disk partition might not save you.

  • Ease of backing up files

Partitioning your external hard drive makes it easy to back up your files. Although putting files and folders on a separate partition is not an actual backup, it can make it easier for you to back up files.

For instance, you can clone the entire macOS installation on one partition and have an extra copy of this data. This will help you to point your backup application to safeguard the entire drive.

  • Simplified OS reinstallation

It is best to keep the system files separate from your personal files so you do not accidentally delete those files.

For instance, it is relatively easier to reinstall macOS when it is on a separate partition. All you need to do is format the specific partition and reinstall the operating system. The installed files and programs will be where you left them.

  • Install and use multiple operating systems

The only use for partitioning an external hard drive is not to separate the system files. But you can use separate partitions to install multiple operating systems. For instance, one of the partitions can have Windows system files, and the other can have Mac system files. This will allow you to run both operating systems side by side if your computer cannot handle a virtual machine.

Alternatively, you can also install an older version of the operating system for backward compatibility purposes.

  • Improved file organization

If you love to keep everything in a certain place, partitioning the external drive will provide you with more dividers. This will help you to divide the different data types and keep them organized.

For instance, you can create one partition for apps and games and another for documents., music, etc.

  • Use multiple file systems

Another use of partitioning your external hard drive is being able to work with multiple file systems. You do not need to tinker with your internal drive and make the external drive more useful, especially if you use it with multiple operating systems.

For instance, you can split a 2TB external hard drive into partitions. You can make one partition exFAT or FAT32, which will work with almost all platforms. You can also keep a partition with the AFPS format, which is a Mac-friendly file system. This will let you make the most use of the external drive.


These are some reasons to partition your external hard drive and make the most use of it.


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