Logical vs Primary | What's the Difference and Which Is Better

Gemma posted on Sep 02, 2020 to Partition Master | How-to Articles

Hard disk partitioning refers to dividing the hard disk's overall storage space into multiple independent areas, which are used to install operating systems, install applications, and store data files. Logical partition and primary partition are two common partition types. Users usually get confused about the definition and the differences between these two items. Therefore, it is vital to clearly understand what is logical partition and primary partition before partitioning a new HDD or SSD.

Notice:
Primary partition and logical partition are much related to MBR disk because GPT disk only contains primary partitions.
PAGE CONTENT:
What is the Primary Partition?
What is the Logical Partition?
Difference between Primary and Logical Partition
Logical vs Primary Partition
How to Check the Partition Type on the Computer
How to Interconvert Logical and Primary Partition
Bonus Tip: MBR and GPT

What is the Primary Partition?

Primary Partition is the hard disk partition where both Windows OS and other data can be stored, and it is the only partition that can be set active for BIOS to locate. In other words, you can only boot from a primary partition. Generally, a disk drive can contain a maximum of 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions and a single extended partition.

What is the Logical Partition?

The logical partition is also called LPAR, it is a logical segmentation of a mainframe's memory and other resources that allows it to run its own copy of the operating system and associated applications. The number of logical partitions in an MBR disk is limitless. 

A tree diagram shows the relationship between primary partition, extended partition, and logical partition in an MBR disk.

Relationship of Primary and Logical Partitions

What's the difference between Primary and Logical Partition

As the hierarchy of logical partition and primary partition is different, the dissimilarity of these two partitions is reflected in two aspects.

  • Importance

You can see that the legacy MBR bootloader can only boot from a primary partition from the above introduction. So one of the main differences between logical and primary partition is that a primary partition is essential to an MBR disk. Without a primary partition, you can't boot your computer. 

  • Number Limitation

In an MBR disk, you can have at most 4 primary partitions and no logical partition. Or you can have 3 primary partitions and one extended partition. The extended partition can be divided into several logical partitions. The number of partitions depends on your needs. If you need more than 4 partitions to store data separately, you can divide your MBR disk into 3 primary partitions and one extended partition to create as many logical partitions as you need.

In a GPT disk, there is no logical partition. You can create more than 4 primary partitions. Technically, you can create at most 138 primary partitions in one GPT disk.

Logical vs Primary Partition | Is Logical Partition Better than Primary?

You can't compare the logical and primary partition in a yes-or-no way. There is no better choice between logical and primary partition because you must create one primary partition on your disk. Otherwise, you will not be able to boot your computer. 

Logical vs Primary

1. There is no difference between the two kinds of partitions in the ability to store data.

2. When you need more than 4 partitions in the MBR disk, creating logical partitions on your disk is a better choice. 

How to Check the Partition Type on the Computer

Under Windows Disk Management, you can check how many primary partitions and logical partitions you have on the computer:

Step 1. Right-click "This PC" and choose "Manage".

Step 2. Go to "Disk Management".

Step 3. Here you can check the number of primary partitions and logical partitions. You can also check the disk type, file system, and the partition status.

Disk Management

How to Interconvert Logical and Primary Partition

Convert from Primary Partition to Logical Partition

Sometimes when you were creating partitions in Disk Management, you might see an error message saying, "You can not create a new volume in this unallocated space because the disk already contains the maximum number of partitions." You see this error message because the hard disk already contains 3 primary partitions and one extended partition. You can solve this problem by converting one of the primary partitions into a logical partition.

Error Message

Here we recommend you to use a Windows partition manager - EaseUS Partition Master. This tool makes it effortless to convert partitions and take full advantage of your disk space. With EaseUS Partition Master, you can move system reserved partition to another drive, partition a new hard drive on the computer, resize partitions on the computer, etc.

Now you can download the software and follow the guide below to see how to convert the primary partition to a logical partition.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

 

Step 1: Download and run EaseUS Partition Master. 

open EaseUS Partition Master

Step 2: Right-click the partition you want to convert to logic and choose "Convert to Logical". After that, you can find the pending operation is in the upper left corner. 

convert primary to logical

Step 3: Click the "Execute 1 Operation" button and then choose "Apply" to begin the conversion. Please note that reboot is required for this operation. So save the crucial files in advance. 

convert primary to logical
Tip
If your disk is a GPT disk and you want to convert a primary partition to a logical partition, you need to first convert the GPT disk to an MBR disk. 

Convert from Logical Partition to Primary Partition

If your computer has only one primary partition, and all other partitions are logical partitions. When you want to set up a dual-boot system. In this case, each OS must have its own primary partition. That's when you need to convert a logical partition to a primary partition. You can also use EaseUS Partition Master to conduct the conversion. Here are the detailed steps.

Download Now

 Windows 10 is supported

 

Step 1: Install and open EaseUS Partition Master. 

open EaseUS Partition Master

Step 2: Select the drive that you want to change and right-click it. Choose "Convert to Primary", then a pending operation will be added. 

convert logical to primary

Step 3: Click the "Execute 1 Operation" button and click "Apply" to execute the operation. This process needs a computer reboot. So store your crucial files previously to avoid data loss. 

convert logical to primary

Bonus Tip: MBR and GPT

In case some users have no idea of what is MBR, here we'd like to give a brief introduction to the definition of MBR and GPT. If you are interested in it, please keep reading and learn more about it.

MBR

MBR and GPT are two partition styles on Windows-based computers. MBR stands for Master Boot Record, is an older disk-type first introduced with IBM PC DOS 2.0 in 1983. It's named after the boot sector located at the beginning of a drive (the first sector) called MBR.

GPT

GPT stands for GUID Partition Table. It is the newer standard compared to MBR first introduced as part of the UEFI initiative. Compared with the MBR partitioning scheme, it's more flexible and has better compatibility with modern hardware.

If you want to check more information about MBR and GPT, you can refer to this article MBR vs GPT.

The Bottom Line

Now you should have a comprehensive understanding of logical partition and primary partition. With the introduced information, you could make the right choice when you need to partition a new disk.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose EaseUS Partition Master?

"I've used Partition Master Professional many times to create, delete, format, move, rename, and resize partitions."PCWorld

"Partitioning tools have come a very long since the days of complicated command line utilities and EASEUS Partition Master is one of the most advanced programs available."TECH ADVISOR

"I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes."Lifewire

Will the "Migrate OS" feature transfer the Windows system files only or the whole C drive?

To ensure that the migrated system will boot normally, the Migrate OS feature will transfer all the files in the system and the boot partitions. Generally, the boot partition is the C drive so the transfer will include all the files in C.

Does EaseUS Partition Master license apply to multiple computers?

The license of Partition Master Professional and Server editions can be used on 1 computer only, while that for for the Technician and Unlimited editions can be used on multiple machines.

What is the difference between EaseUS Partition Master Trial version and the Free version?

Free is for home users only, with most basic functions available such as partition resize and clone. While trial can help you understand how this product works and test what a full license can do on a business or server OS machine.

Will it cause any data loss after resizing the partition in EaseUS Partition Master?

Generally, it will not cause any data loss or boot issue by resizing a partition. However, in order to protect your data, we suggest that you backup the partition before resizing, in case of any unexpected situations such as power outages, computer hardware failures, etc. You can use EaseUS Todo Backup to backup the partition and its trial version is fully functioned for 30 days.

What should I prepare before resizing the partition?

On the partition that is going to be operated, there might be some files being occupied by other programs. To ensure a successful operation, we suggest that you close all the unnecessary software before resizing that partition. Otherwise, EaseUS Partition Master will detect the partition being locked by the other software and require a reboot to resize the partition under boot mode.

About EaseUS Partition Master

All-round disk & partition management software for personal and commercial use. Let it manage your storage drive: resize, format, delete, clone, convert, etc.

Video Tutorial

How to Partititon a Hard Drive on Windows 10/8/7