The challenge of creating a new partition on a hard drive typically arises when the user wants to set up a dual boot or multiple boot system. When purchasing a new PC or notebook computer, the hard disk is usually set up with a single partition that includes the whole disk. So in order to set up a dual boot system, that gives you the option to boot into one of two operating system, you need to reduce the size of the single partition to make space in which other partitions can be created.
The free disk partitioning software package Parted Magic allows you to change the partitioning on your hard drive. For example, you can add new partitions, remove partitions, or change the size of partition. Furthermore, Parted Magic can deal with all major file system types for Linux as well as Microsoft Windows operating systems. This includes, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat62, and ntfs. This means you can format a partition for Linux as well as Windows. The package includes a program called Flashrom that you can use for reading from or writing to flash chips.
Of course there is an increased risk of disk corruption whenever you change partitions. So you'd better back up all your important files on a separate disk, USB drive, or CD. But Parted Magic is designed to make the partitioning tasks easy and help prevent disasters.
You can download the ISO image for Parted Magic and create a Live CD. You can then boot from this CD and use the tools to examine or modify partitions and file systems. It is also possible write the Parted Magic ISO image directly to a USB drive.