As everyone probably knows, Windows allows a drive to have four primary partitions, one of which may be active. However, I have only three primary partitions. I shrunk one and created a fourth partition so I could install Windows 8 on it, but Disk Management only allows it to be a logical partition.

Why might this be the case? If I cannot convert it to a primary partition, is it advisable to install Windows on a logical partition?


There's no problem whatsoever installing Windows in a logical partition, although obviously the System Reserved boot partition needs to be a primary one. AFAIK Disk Management does not allow the creation of 4 primary partitions. This is because the MBR partitioning scheme allows at most 4 primary partitions, or 3 primary and 1 extended partition. If you created 4 primary partitions, you would be stuck and would not be able to create any more partitions without deleting an existing one. I believe the only way to create the 4th primary partition in Windows is by using DiskPart from an elevated command prompt.

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    I used create partition primary in diskpart, and it worked. Thanks. – ctype.h Dec 18 '12 at 5:30
  • Never heard of a Disk Management limit to 3 primaries. Fact is, Disk Management on my Vista install is showing my Disk0 as having 6 (six!) primary partitions. Guess that's why D.M. has an iffy reputation. – kreemoweet Dec 18 '12 at 5:40
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    @kreemoweet: DM might not be as feature-rich as 3rd party dedicated partitioning utilities, but I've never yet seen it misreport what exists on disk. More than likely your disk is using the modern GPT scheme (successor to MBR), which allows for up to 128 primary partitions since it uses 64 bit disk pointers. – Karan Dec 18 '12 at 5:47

What I experienced says to me that "System Reserved" partition will do nothing and when you remove it your computer will not run into any problems. (This is what I've done to my PC and didn't had any problem)
So what I suggest you is to simply remove the first partition then create a new, then you will have 4 "USABLE" partitions.
I wish I could help others.

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In Windows, there can be four primary partitions, and from these four partitions, one is extended partition, that may contain a number of logical partitions. So your first installation is on first partition. Create a fourth partition, but do the installation on second primary partition and use fourth partition to create logical drives for storing data in it.

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  • The first partition is the System partition, the second contains Windows 7, and the last contains data. The new partition is third on the disk. – ctype.h Dec 18 '12 at 5:04
  • You may make the new partition as data partition and install windows 8 on existing data partition. – Manoj Agarwal Dec 18 '12 at 5:13

I think you have have 3 primary partitions, but there is 1 more hidden primary partition (system reserve ). So total of 4 partitions.

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