How to Open Disk Management

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

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 various other disk related tasks.

You won't find a shortcut to Disk Management in your Windows Start Menu or Apps screen because it's not a program in the same sense that most other software on your computer is.

Screenshot of the Disk Management utility in Windows 10
Disk Management (Windows 10).

Follow the easy steps below to access Disk Management in Windows:

You can open Disk Management as outlined below in any version of Windows, including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

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.

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See Other Ways to Open Disk Management after this tutorial for some other options, a few of which may be a bit faster for some of you.

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

  2. Tap or click System and Security.

    System and Security button in Control Panel in Windows 10

    System and Security is only found in Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. In Windows Vista, the equivalent link is System and Maintenance, and in Windows 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, touch or click Administrative Tools and then skip to Step 4.

  3. Tap or click Administrative Tools in the System and Security window. It's located near the bottom of the window, so you might need to scroll down to see it.

    System and Security panel showing Administrative tools button in Windows 10

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

  4. In the Administrative Tools window that's now open, double-tap or double-click Computer Management.

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

    Disk Management tab in Computer Management panel in Windows 10

    If you don't see Disk Management listed, you may need to tap or click on 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.

  6. 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 double-click at any time to immediately open the tool.

Here's how:

  1. Right-click or tap-and-hold at 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. Give the shortcut a name or leave the default diskmgmt.msc, 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 File > Run new task. What you'll see looks exactly like the Run dialog box; enter the diskmgmt.msc command there to open the program.