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Last Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Disk Management in Operating System

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In this blog, we will learn about disk management in detail. Let’s begin with its introduction. Disk Management is a useful built-in feature of the operating system that allows you to create, delete, and format disc partitions, among other things. 

Disc management in os

In this article, we will discuss disc management in detail.

What is Disc Management in OS?

Disk management in an operating system is the process of organizing and managing physical storage devices, like solid-state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives, in a computer system. It includes creating, formatting, editing, partitioning, and managing disk volumes to store and access data efficiently. The operating system keeps track of the files and space on the physical drives and manages the associated read and write operations.

Disk Management tasks like managing the hard drives and storage are performed in the Windows Operating System using a graphical interface. We can create, format, and resize different parts of our disks and assign letters or rename them for easy access. 

In contrast, the Linux Operating System doesn't have a graphical tool like Windows. It has a command-line program called "fdisk." which allows users to perform similar things like creating, deleting, and managing disk partitions.

You can also read about Demand Paging in OS by clicking here.

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The operating system's disc management includes:

  • Disk Format (or low-level format or physical format)
  • Booting from disk
  • Bad block recovery

Now, we will learn about them in detail.

Also see, Multiprogramming vs Multitasking And Open Source Operating System

Disk Format 

Before storing data, it divides the disc into sectors so that the disc controller can read and write. Each section might be anything from:

Optional discs employ the operating system's own data structures to maintain files utilizing discs, but the header retains information, data, and error correction code (ECC) sectors of data, typically 512 bytes of data.

It is carried out in two stages:

  1. Separate the disc into cylinder groups. Each one is considered a logical disc.
  2. Create a file system in a logical format. On the disc, the OS saves the data structure of the first file system. It has both free and assigned space.

Most file systems organize blocks into clusters for efficiency. Disk I/O happens in chunks. File I/O is performed in a cluster.

Now, we will learn about Booting from disk, this is also known as boot block.

Boot block

A system must run an initial program when it is turned on or restarted. The bootstrap program is the system's initialization program. It begins the OS after all of the system's components have been initialized. The bootstrap program searches for the OS kernel on the disc, load it into memory, and then jumps to a beginning address to begin OS operation.

On most computer systems, the bootstrap is kept in read-only memory. It's useful since read-only memory doesn't need to be initialized and is in a fixed location where the CPU may start executing regardless of whether the computer is turned on or off. Furthermore, because ROM is read-only, it may not be impacted by a computer virus. The problem is that upgrading the ROM hardware chips are required to update this bootstrap code.

As a result, most computer systems include minimal boot ROM software whose primary role is to load a full bootstrap program from a disc drive. The entire bootstrap program is easily customizable, and the disc is rewritten with a new version. The boot block contains the bootstrap program stored in a partition. A boot disc, sometimes known as a system disc, is a disc that includes the boot partition.

You can also read about the Multilevel Queue Scheduling.

Bad block 

Here, Most discs are packed with faulty blocks right out of the manufacturing and treated in a variety of ways. Because moving parts have short tolerances, discs are prone to errors. In this, the controller keeps a list of problematic blocks. Each faulty sector can be logically replaced with one of the spare sectors by the controller. Sector sparing or transfer is the term for this strategy.

The data recovery process is triggered by a mild error. On the other hand, unrecoverable hard mistakes can result in data loss and need user intervention.

What does disk management do?

Disk management in an operating system provides tools to manage and control the storage devices, such as a computer system's hard disk drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs). Some key tasks performed by disk management are:

1. Partitioning: Disk management allows users to create many partitions on a single disk. We can also resize the disk partitions as per the need without facing any data loss.

2. Formatting: Disk management provides options to format partitions with specific file systems, such as FAT32, NTFS, etc.

3. Disk Cleanup: Disk management tools also offer disk cleanup tools that help in removing unnecessary and junk files from the disk.

4. Disk Encryption: Some disk management tools provide disk encryption features to secure the data stored on disks.

Also read - features of operating system

Advantage of disk management in os

The advantages of disk management in OS are:

  • Storage Organization: Disk management allows users to efficiently organize their storage devices and hard drives. It provides tools to create partitions, format drives, and perform the associated read and write operations. We can even resize the disks according to the need.
  • Improved Efficiency: Disk management in an Operating System is useful in improving the performance of a computer system by freeing up space and preventing system lag. This enables faster access to files, thereby increasing the performance of the system.
  • Increased Security: Disk management in OS enhances data security by storing files in a secure manner. Some disk management tools offer disk encryption features that allow users to encrypt their disks or specific partitions, adding an extra layer of security to protect sensitive data, thus preventing data loss or theft.
  • Better Backup: With the help of disk management, we can store data in files that are organized in a logical format. This provides a better backup facility preventing any loss of data due to a power outage or any other reason.
  • Disk monitoring: Disk management also offers monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. We can get information about disk health, including temperature, performance, and other attributes. 

Disadvantages of disk management in os

The disadvantages of disk management in OS are:

  • Increased complexity: Disk management can be complex for beginners with little technical knowledge. The complexity increases when there are multiple disk partitions already.
  • Risk of data loss: If the Disk management tools are not used correctly, there can be a risk of data loss. For example, the user may delete the data of a disk by mistake while resizing or partitioning them.
  • Time-taking processes: Some disk management operations, such as disk defragmentation or partition resizing, can be time-taking, specifically when dealing with large amounts of data.

This concludes our topic of disc management in the Operating system. Let’s move on to the FAQs section.

Must Read Process Management in OS

Frequently Asked Questions

Q What is disk management in OS?

Disk Management is a feature of the operating system that allows you to create, delete, and format disc partitions, among other things. Users can inspect, create, remove, and reduce partitions connected with disc drives using Disk Management.

Q What are the types of disk management?

There are two types of disk management: basic disk management and dynamic disk management. Basic disk management is the traditional disk partitioning scheme, while dynamic disk management allows for more advanced features such as disk spanning and fault tolerance.

Q Which command is used for Disk Management?

In Windows operating systems, the "diskmgmt.msc" command is used to launch the Disk Management tool. This tool allows users to manage disk partitions, format disks, assign drive letters, and perform other disk-related tasks.

Q How many sections do Disk Management have?

Disk Management in Windows has two main sections: the upper graphical section, which displays a graphical representation of the disks and partitions on the system, and the lower section, which displays the details of the selected disk or partition.


In this article, we have extensively discussed disc management in Operating systems. This article covers the major concepts of disc management like Disk Format, Booting from disk, and Bad block recovery.

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