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Volume vs. Partition in Windows: What’s the Difference

Volume vs. Partition in Windows: What’s the Difference

What’s a Volume and Partition in Windows

Volume and partition are two common terms but many users don’t know their differences exactly. Both volume and partition are units of data storage, but they are not the same. In general, a volume is basically, a storage area with a particular file system. A partition is a logical portion of a hard drive. 

Keep reading to find out more information about volume vs. partition in detail. 

Volume vs. Partition

In this part, I’ll show the differences between volume and partition in 5 aspects: types, max size, max numbers on a disk, creation and reliability.

1. Types

Volume Types

Simple Volume – it is a single region on a single physical disk. 

Mirrored Volume – it duplicates data on two physical disks. It is fault-tolerant. If one disk fails, data can be accessed from the other disk.

Spanned Volume – a spanned volume is created by free space that is linked together from multiple disks. It is not fault-tolerant and can’t be mirrored. 

Striped Volume – also known as RAID-0, it is a volume, on which data is interleaved across two or more disks. It can’t be extended or fault-tolerant. If one disk containing a striped volume fails, the entire volume will fail.

RAID-5 Volume – RAID-5 is a fault-tolerant volume whose data is striped across three or more disks. If a disk fails, you are allowed to recreate the data on the failed disk from the remaining data and parity.

Volume vs. Partition in Windows

Partition Types

Primary Partition – it is a hard disk partition where both Windows system and common data can be stored. A hard drive can be divided into up to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions plus 1 extended partition. 

Logical Partition – a logical partition is a logical segment and a contiguous area on a hard disk.  and it consists of one or more logical partitions. The number of logical partitions on a MBR disk is limitless. 

Extended Partition – within an extended partition, you can create any number of logical partitions. There’s no need to assign a drive letter to it. 

2. Max Size

Partition: you can create one or more partitions on a disk. So, the max size of a partition is the size of the hard disk. 

Volume: compared with partition, the max size of a volume can be larger, except simple volume, as the other 4 types of volume can be created more than one disk.  

3. Max Number on Disk

Partition

The number of partitions on a basic disk depends on the type of partitions. 

If basic disk adopts MBR partition style, you can create 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition. If GPT partition style is used, you can create max 128 primary partitions. 

Volume

You can create up to 2000 volumes on a dynamic disk whether it is MBR or GPT partition style. 

4. Creation

This may be the biggest difference between a volume and partition. A volume is usually created on dynamic disk while a partition is created on basic disk, which is most common disk type in Windows. 

5. Reliability and Security

As volume data can be saved and accessed on more than one dynamic disks, it enjoys higher reliability security than partition. 

How to Create a Volume or Partition

Option 1. With Disk Management

Whether it is a dynamic disk or basic disk, you can create new volume or partition using Disk Management. Here is a tutorial of new partition creation of a basic disk.

Step 1: Enter Disk Management window, right click the target disk.

Step 2: Choose New Simple Volume.

Step 3: Accept default size and drive letter. Choose NTFS or FAT as its file system. 

If you want to create volume on a basic disk, you need to convert it to dynamic disk first, and then, create new volume on it. 

Option 2- with a 3rd-pary Partition Manager

Except for Disk Management, you can also resort to other professional tools to create or delete partition/volume in Windows. 

This is an example of how to create a volume with MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Step 1: Open this app to get its main interface. 

Step 2: Find the dynamic disk from disk map. Right click on the unallocated space and choose Create Volume from menu.

Step 3: Select a volume type and choose volume create location. 

Step 4: Customize the file system, drive letter and size of the volume. 

Step 5: Click Apply on the main interface to make the changes effective.

To create a partition on a basic disk with Partition Wizard, you may just use the Create Partition feature, and then follow the same steps to finish the work.

Basic Disk and Dynamic Disk Conversion

How to Convert Basic Disk to Dynamic

As we mentioned above, you can convert basic disk to dynamic disk easily with Disk Management and CMD without data loss. After that, all partitions on original disk will become volumes. 

How to Convert Dynamic Disk to Basic

You can also use Disk Management or CMD to convert a dynamic disk to basic. However, all volumes and data on the disk will be removed by using these two tools. You need to find another way to realize dynamic disk to basic disk conversion with another approach. MiniTool Partition Wizard is still helpful.

Step 1: Reach the main interface of Partition Wizard.

Step 2: Choose the dynamic disk and click Convert Dynamic Disk to Basic feature on the left panel.

Step 3: Click Apply to confirm.

Conclusion

These are some typical differences about volume vs. partition in Windows. Distinguishing them can help you choose partition style and disk type better on basis of your needs. If you have doubts or other questions, feel free to contact us by leaving a comment in section below. Thanks!