Configure More than Four Partitions on a BIOS/MBR-Based Hard Disk

Updated: October 20, 2013

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

This topic describes how to configure more than four disk partitions when you deploy Windows® on BIOS and master boot record (MBR)-based computers.

In this topic:

  • On BIOS-based systems, you can designate one of the four standard partitions as an extended partition.

    An extended partition is a special partition that can be divided into additional partitions that are called logical partitions. An extended partition cannot store files. An extended partition does not receive a partition ID.

  • You can include as many logical partitions as your disk can hold.

    Logical partitions can store files. You can use a logical partition as the Windows partition.

For additional disk partition rules for BIOS-based systems, see Configure BIOS/MBR-Based Hard Drive Partitions.

  • Add system and utility partitions before you add the Windows partition. If a full system recovery is required, this partition order helps prevent the recovery tools from overwriting the system and utility partitions.

  • Add a partition that has a separate recovery image after you add the Windows partition. When you use this partition order, end users who want to reclaim this space for their primary partition can remove this partition and then extend the Windows partition to fill the reclaimed space.

By default, system and utility partitions do not appear in File Explorer. To confirm that these partitions exist on the destination computer, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, right-click Computer, and then click Manage. This opens the Computer Management window.

  2. Click Disk Management. The list of available disks and partitions appears.

  3. In the list of partitions, confirm that the system and utility partitions are present and do not have a drive letter.

The following sample file topics contain XML examples that demonstrate how to set up more than four partitions on a BIOS and MBR-based computer:

 

Sample: Configure More than Four Partitions on a BIOS/MBR-Based Hard Disk by using Windows Setup

Demonstrates how to add answer file settings to automatically configure disk partitions during Windows installation.

Sample: Configure More than Four Partitions on a BIOS/MBR-Based Hard Disk by using Windows PE and DiskPart

Demonstrates how to configure partitions by using a DiskPart script to prepare to deploy a Windows image to a new computer.

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