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Using Unpartitioned Free Space
When discussing issues such as disk partitioning, it is important to have a understanding of the underlying hardware; however, since the theory is very complicated and expansive, only the basic concepts will be explained here. This appendix uses a set of simplified diagrams of a disk drive to help explain what is the process and theory behind partitions.
Whether the partition is "active"
While the diagrams in this chapter show the partition table as being separate from the actual disk drive, this is not entirely accurate. In reality, the partition table is stored at the very start of the disk, before any file system or user data. But for clarity, they are separate in our diagrams.
While the process of non-destructive repartitioning is rather straightforward, there are three steps involved:
With non-destructive repartitioning you execute a program that makes a big partition smaller without losing any of the files stored in that partition. This method is usually reliable, but can be very time-consuming on large drives.
Writing a file system to disk is only the first step. The goal of this process is to actually *store* and *retrieve* data. The figure below shows a drive disk after some data have been written to it:
xref:figu-partitions-resize-existing[Disk Drive with Partition Resized] shows the actual resizing process. While the actual result of the resizing operation varies depending on the software used, in most cases the newly freed space is used to create an unformatted partition of the same type as the original partition.
xref:figu-partitions-unused-drive[An Unused Disk Drive], shows a brand-new, unused disk drive.