How to Open Disk Management

Use the Disk Management utility to make changes to drives in Windows

What to Know

  • Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Tools > Computer Management > Disk Management (under Storage).
  • Alternatively, open Command Prompt and execute diskmgmt.msc.
  • Make a shortcut: Right-click desktop, New > Shortcut. Type diskmgmt.msc, select Next. Change name, then Finish.

You'll need to open the Disk Management tool if you want to partition a hard drive, format a hard drive, change a drive letter, or perform other disk-related tasks. You won't find a shortcut to Disk Management in the Windows Start menu or Apps screen because it's not a program in the same sense that most other software on your computer is.

The Disk Management utility in Windows 10

How to Open Disk Management in Windows

The most common, and operating system independent, way to open Disk Management is through the Computer Management utility, described below.

You can open Disk Management in any version of Windows, from Windows XP through Windows 11.

  1. Open Control Panel.

    In most versions of Windows, Control Panel is most easily available from its shortcut on the Start menu or Apps screen.

  2. Select System and Security.

    System and Security button in Control Panel in Windows 10

    System and Security is only found in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. In Vista, the equivalent link is System and Maintenance, and in XP, it's called Performance and Maintenance. See What Version of Windows Do I Have? if you're not sure.

    If you're viewing the Large icons or Small icons view of Control Panel, you won't see this link. If you're on one of those views, select Windows Tools or Administrative Tools and then skip to Step 4.

  3. Select Windows Tools (Windows 11) or Administrative Tools. It's located near the bottom of the window, so you might need to scroll down to see it.

    In Vista and XP, this window is called System and Maintenance or Performance and Maintenance, respectively.

    System and Security panel showing Administrative tools button in Windows 10
  4. In the window that's now open, double-tap or double-click Computer Management.

    Computer management button in Administrative Tools panel in Windows 10
  5. Choose Disk Management on the left side of the window. It's located under Storage.

    If you don't see it listed, you might need to select the plus or arrow icon to the left of the Storage icon.

    Disk Management may take several seconds or more to load, but will eventually appear on the right side of the Computer Management window.

Disk Management tab in Computer Management panel in Windows 10

You can now partition a hard drive, format a hard drive, change a drive's letter, or do whatever else you need to do in Windows' disk manager tool. These hard drive tasks can also be accomplished with most free disk partitioning software tools.

Other Ways to Open Disk Management

You can also type a simple command in any version of Windows to open Disk Management. This method might be a lot faster for you if you're used to running commands in the Run dialog box or Command Prompt.

Just execute diskmgmt.msc from either of those command line interfaces. See How to Open Disk Management From the Command Prompt if you need more detailed instructions.

You can also make your own shortcut to Disk Management right on your desktop that you can open at any time to immediately launch the tool.

Here's how:

  1. Right-click or tap-and-hold any empty space on the desktop.

  2. Go to New > Shortcut.

    New shortcut in Windows 10
  3. Type diskmgmt.msc and then press Next.

  4. Customize the name if you want, and then select Finish.

If you're running Windows 10 or Windows 8, and you have a keyboard or a mouse, Disk Management is one of many quick-access options on the super-useful Power User Menu. Just right-click the Start button or try the Win+X combination on your keyboard.

If Explorer won't even run, meaning that you can't use the desktop to make a shortcut, access the Start button, or open Command Prompt, Task Manager might be your only option.

To open Disk Management with Task Manager, first open Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc is one easy method) and then go to Run new task at the top (Windows 11) or File > Run new task (select More details first if you don't see the File menu). What you'll see looks exactly like the Run dialog box; enter the diskmgmt.msc command there to open the program.

  • How do you open Disk Management as an administrator?

    Make sure you're logged in as an administrator before you open Disk Management. Go to Start > Settings > Accounts. If you're not logged in as an admin, switch to that account or select Change account type to designate a new administrator account.

  • How do you assign a drive letter to an external hard drive using Disk Management?

    Open Disk Management as an administrator and select the drive you want to change. Right-click and select Change Drive Letter and Paths > Change, then pick a new drive letter and choose OK > Yes. Keep in mind that you can't change the drive letter of the partition that contains the Windows operating system, which is usually the C drive.

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