How to Enable a Fixed Disk in DiskPart


DiskPart is a command-line disk partitioning utility included with all Microsoft Windows operating systems built on the New Technology, or NT, kernel. This utility allows you to perform a variety of tasks, including creating, deleting, resizing, enabling and disabling partitions and volumes. After you create a new partition on a disk, Windows will not recognize it as enabled unless it's online and assigned a drive letter. You can do both in DiskPart. For each command listed, do not include the quotation marks or commas.

Bring the Disk Online

  • Log into Windows using an account with administrator rights.

  • Click "Start," and position your mouse cursor in the "Search" box.

  • Type "cmd," and press "Enter."

  • Type "diskpart," and press "Enter."

  • Type "list disk," and press "Enter." Use the list that displays to determine the physical disk number containing the partition you wish to make into an enabled disk. As a guide, Disk 0 is your master drive and contains your system partition -- it's always online.

  • Type "select disk=x" (substitute "x" for the physical disk number you want), and press "Enter."

  • Type "online disk" and press "Enter." The utility will bring the disk online and issue a confirmation message.

Create Volume and Enable

  • Type "create partition primary size=xxxx" (substitute "xxxx" for the size you want in megabytes) in DiskPart and press "Enter." If you want the partition to take up all the remaining space on the physical disk, leave out the "size=xxxx."

  • Type "format fs=ntfs" and press "Enter." DiskPart will format the new volume (disk), and output a "success" message when finished.

  • Type "list volume" and press "Enter." If your new volume has a drive letter assigned to it, you've successfully enabled your disk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not confuse DiskPart with Diskpart (note the lack of capitalization). Diskpart is a "light" version of DiskPart included with Microsoft XP's Recovery Console and Windows Vista and 7's Windows Recovery Environment. You can only create and delete partitions with this "light" version. Additionally, do not confuse the meaning of the DiskPart command "active." This command will not "activate" your disk; it will set the selected partition as "active." An active partition is where your computer boots from, and only one may be active at a time. If you set a non-bootable partition as "active" your computer will not boot.

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