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Partition of a Hard Drive? Why?

by MediaTechGuru / July 15, 2005 12:25 AM PDT

In search of the reason on why to partition a hard drive? I have a master drive to run OS and system files...a second drive for personal files and a 3rd to backup all files on second drive?

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Partition drives...
by MarkinTO / July 15, 2005 3:26 PM PDT

The first reason, is to make doing drive maintenance faster!

The second, is splitting up software and data files,

The third, is backing up files & software,

The forth, Any version of Windows needs hard-drive space for 'virtual memory',

The fifth, to essentially back-up what's on the first drive!

The sixth, what happens when one of your other partitions dies...? At least then, you stand a chance of recovering some programs and data!

Do you really need more reasons...?

Oh and seeing as you seem to have all the bases covered, have you back'ed up all your computer to CD's or DVD's?

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Almost NO CHANCE of program recovery.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 15, 2005 10:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Partition drives...

That one is a myth best squashed. In 1995, Windows rolled out with new ideas such as the registry and shared DLLs.

I've found few softwares survive as the owner hoped in such a partition.


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Dont partition, use more drives
by PeterSmits / July 21, 2005 10:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Partition drives...

In the good ol' days, you would partition a drive for all the good reasons mentioned before and also because the HDDs were expensive. Nowadays its much cheaper and easier to just add two or more HDDs to the system. All the pros that apply to partitioning are still there, but your much more protected when a drive breaks and maintenance is much easier.

When installing multiple HDD you also have the advantage on installing one small, yet very fast drive for your programs and one very big, bit slower and cheaper, drive for all your multimedia data. And then maybe another very slow, very big and very reliable drive for backup. Maybe its also wise to make this last one an external drive.

I guess the only exceptions are laptops where its not possible to have that many drives in your system.

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I agree 100%, and let me add:
by lpaster / July 21, 2005 11:53 PM PDT

If possible, always use two hard disks; the cost is cheap and the advantage is HUGE.

I usually use one drive for OS + data and second drive to hold a full backup of the first drive.

Another option is to use 2 drives in RAID1 configuration:
It will give you high level of fault tolerance with little loss in performance.
and if one disk breaks, you loose no data at all, and the computer will still be usable.

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by manfromspain1 / July 22, 2005 1:29 AM PDT

Is there an easy way to configure Windows XP to use Raid1. Also, could the mirrored drive be an external drive?

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Partitioning cam make a system faster
by Robert K / July 21, 2005 11:03 PM PDT
In reply to: Partition drives...

If any of you are old enough to remember the vinyl record there is some relationship to a hard drive here.
Just like a vinyl record, the surface speed on the outermost part of the hard drive platter is faster than the inner. In simple terms, the surface speed is about half once you have reached 50% of the drive.
The hard drive fills from the outer part of the platters and work their way inward. This is why many computers slow significantly once their hard drive has less than 50% left. This could be 150GB free!

I partition a new drive so 25% of the drive is C:\ and the rest is D:\, allowing the fastest read-write access for the OS and applications. All music and video files (the largest files) go on D:\.
It is quite amazing as when D:\ is almost completely full, the system is still rocket fast.

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...and make it easier to do a clean re-install
by outriaage / July 22, 2005 12:40 AM PDT

Another reason to put just the OS in a small (10G should do it) partition of its own is malware. Even when running a decent firewall, multiple adware removers, and anti-virus apps, the pesky little buggers sometimes just sneak in anyway.

Move My Documents to another drive; persuade as many programs as possible to do the same with their data, and when things just get out of hand, save the data that couldn't be persuaded to move, re-format the OS partition and re-install everything.

Minor added benefit is if you are fond of running 30-day free trials of exotic apps, you automatically get another 30 days to play before sadly deciding not to buy.

Only downside I've found is the few programs that only allow a limited number of re-installs. I haven't hit that one yet.

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Good point- Never keep valuable data on your system drive
by Product Developer / July 22, 2005 1:04 AM PDT

All my systems have multiple internal and external drives and I never, ever keep valuable data on a system drive. If the O.S. or other major piece of software takes a dive, all I have to do is ghost it back to the fresh, known good install all the while the valuable project files reside safely on another drive.

This allows one to try new programs without risking a full reinstall if the new program hoses up the registry or other vital function.

Another good idea is to use just one basic machine for internet, P2P file sharing and email access and another for work and projects completely isolated from the outside world. The on line machine can be used to screen for viruses and malware before you move files to the safe machine. A local network allows sharing of specific files but nothing dangerous ever gets through.

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Partition Hard drive
by jacf / July 22, 2005 2:14 AM PDT

I do not know how many Directory or threads they have on their drives,The users involved in this discussion I have several directories and without patitions it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack when I am moving files or looking for programs I like to keep some programs that are not important off C:,
also My second drive which I pulled off my former unit is in this computer was attacked by a worm and crashed that machine, I have been able to isolate it becuase it was on on one of my partitions and so it did not screw up C: drive, and now I only have one directory that I cannot access I made sure of that before I really started using this drive otherwords the boot sector does not start on this drive.
Don't believe me well its been in use for ten months
and the dir. is still there

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Your logic is faulty Robert!
by maurieh / July 22, 2005 12:44 AM PDT

Hard disks, just like vinyl platters, work on angular velocity rather than linear velocity - thus the same amount of data per revolution is laid down regardless of whether one is at the outside or inside track. The whole argument of your posting would seem to be wrong - perhaps another factor, such as fragmentation of data, is causing your speed changes.

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re:faulty logic
by kiddleddee / July 22, 2005 10:12 PM PDT
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Your both right
by conceptualistic / July 24, 2005 12:58 PM PDT

Old HDDs such as mode 3 and perhaps mode 4 used to be formatted such that clusters and sector were divided like rays originating at the center and proceeding diriectly to the edge. In this case each ring contained the same amount of data, so each revolution of the platter netted the same amount of data. But this was inefficient because the data density at the inner cylinder was the limiting factor, and the outer cylinders were progressively less dense and less efficiently using the platters potential. Todays drives have built-in firmware that fixes this. Your formating software is the same as it ever was and believes the HDD to be just like the old HDDs. The firmware however has the cluster and sector "flags" scattered all over as to use the platter at equal density though out it's surface area. Thus todays HDDs infact retrieve more information from one revolution of the outer ring than from the inner rings.

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Can you partition an "In Use" drive? Or what?
by bdbonner / July 22, 2005 3:49 AM PDT

All this discussion over partitioning hard drives has me wondering whether I ought to partition my laptop's 80G hard drive. I am running WinXP, and have been plagued with PC Problems [whole reason I have the new laptop] since April.

Can I partition the C drive even though I've already got stuff there? Then move the data files to the new drive? What will I screw up? Is there really a benefit?



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Safe Partitioning
by Trashman Dave / July 22, 2005 6:04 AM PDT

The best way that I have found is to use a program
called "Partition Magic Version 8 ". It is the safest
way I have found to partiton an "in use" hard drive
without destroying any data. It is simple to use,
but it costs about $80.00. Good Luck.

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$80 is a lot - you could get another whole disk for that
by maggietoo9 / July 25, 2005 9:20 AM PDT
In reply to: Safe Partitioning

Also look at BootItNG from Terabyte. It is a Partition Manager, Multi-Boot Manager, Drive Imager, plus and is a lot cheaper than Partition Magic. It is a little more technical however, so you have to know a little more about what you are doing. You can actually look at the manual and screen shots on their site to see if you think it is something you could manage. Very professional (if slightly geeky) outfit.

Support for large drives (2TB)
Handles up to 200 partitions
Non-destructive resizing for FAT/FAT32/NTFS
Copying & moving & sliding partitions
Imaging (including directly to CD-R/RW DVD+R+RW-R-RW)
Undelete partitions/volumes
Booting multiple operating systems from a single partition or Logically swap hard drives, etc.

$35 for BootItNG Free upgrades

$26 for Image for Windows/Dos

(If you want something more simple and ordinary-user oriented, or don't really need to do more messing with partitions than WinXP Disk Manager will do.) This will also restore image files created with BootitNG. Lots of free add-on utilities.

Using the free PHYLock? add-on utility, you can continue to use your computer while the backup is locked to a point-in-time. This eliminates the inconsistencies typically experienced while backing up a partition that is in use (and pagefile and hibernation files will excluded from image).

Worth looking at. I don't have it yet myself, but I have decided to get it because it does so much for so little. Terabyte has been doing the technical end of things since 1995 or so. They are putting out things for home users now.

Anna Summers

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Use Partition Magic
by Swervyn Mervyn / July 22, 2005 10:53 AM PDT

The answer to your question about partitioning an "In Use" drive is ... YES.
You cannot simply go back to your "Setup" facilities which occur whenever you reboot your computer and use DOS commands to first fdisk and then format your hard drive. Doing this would destroy everything that is already on your hard drive.
There is a software program called Partition Magic which I have used for many years without any problems and is very user friendly. Your hard drive has already been fdisked before use whether you are aware of that or not. If you only have the one drive "namely the C drive", the drive is working basically as a one-partition drive using 100% of that drive as the drive itself.
By using Partition Magic, you can tell your "C" drive that you want it broken up further to create a "D" drive or even an "E-F-G...........etc" drive to fulfil your wildest fantasies.
You can even tell the hard drive how big you want each partition.
My suggestion would be to reduce your already 100% "C" drive to something like 10-15% which would basically just contain your operating system files to run your computer.
Create a "D" drive to run all of your application software programas and allot around 40% to this drive.
Allot a further "E" drive to the remaining 45% of your original hard drive and use it specifically for storage or back-ups of your files.
By doing this, all your work files are protected and should your OS partition fail or get infected by viruses or the like, then you will not lose any information. Your computer will also work much faster.
By using Partition Magic again, you can resize the size of any of your current partitions or create new partitions with ease.

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Yep, partition magic
by conceptualistic / July 24, 2005 1:07 PM PDT

works like a dream

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Partition Drives
by Benf / July 22, 2005 2:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Partition drives...

I have 2 120 Gig Drives, the C drive is for everything, the D drive is for a daily automated backup of the C drive, having multiple partitions is not necessary any longer with the cheap hard drives avalable now, thats unless you simply want to unnecessarly complicate your system.

your reasons are:

1: Drive maintenance faster.
My computer is never turned off, drive maintenance is automated and performed in the morning hours every day, who cares about fast?

2: Splitting up software and data files.
My data files go in their own folder not in the folder of the software program that made it.

3. Backing up of files & Software.
My C drive is backed up to my D drive daily (In the morning hours when Im sleeping)

4. Virtual Memory.
With 2 120 Gig Drives I have more than enough space for virtual memory, this is another non issue.

5. Drive Back up.
Already covered.

6. Partition Death.
If the C dies I have the D to recover from, if the D dies I have all data on the C drive, if both die....well I suppose it could it couldnt....

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re:reason #6
by kiddleddee / July 22, 2005 5:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Partition Drives

Have you ever heard of lightning, Ben? Back up to cds or dvds or to an external hard drive that is disconnected when not in use.

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to Benf
by 3151jeff / July 23, 2005 2:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Partition Drives

What are you using for a backup program?

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Hope you have a very good UPS
by maggietoo9 / July 25, 2005 11:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Partition Drives

Heavy duty Uninterruptible Power Supply protection is very important if you keep everything only inside your PC. You could increase your protection from malware by having your My Documents folder transferred to a separate partition on your primary drive.

Anna Summers

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re: Hope you have a very good UPS
by kiddleddee / July 25, 2005 10:34 PM PDT

Anna wrote: ''You could increase your protection from malware by having your My Documents folder transferred to a separate partition on your primary drive.''

That's a good reason to install your OS on a partition other than the C:\ drive as well. Although most malware will probably be able to find your system files (and your My Documents folder!) no matter where it is located, it adds another layer of protection.

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Hot swap drives
by kiddleddee / July 25, 2005 10:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Partition Drives

Ben, if you have SATA drives, it would be a good idea to put your second (backup) drive in a mobile tray (around $30US or so). SATA is hot swappable and if you only use the second drive for backups, there is no reason to have it in the machine permanently.

Even if you don't have SATA, you might consider putting your backup drive in a mobile tray. In order to make it work, you would need to reboot when you mounted and unmounted your drive (shut down, mount the drive, boot, backup, shut down, remove the drive, boot) but even that is a small price to pay for the added security and reliability. If you're running Windows (other than server OS), you probably need to reboot at least once a day anyhow.

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Here is a tutorial
by El Alquimista / July 16, 2005 1:38 AM PDT
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by MediaTechGuru / July 20, 2005 3:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Here is a tutorial

Thank Frank!

So if I have a 40 gig hard drive to run just the operating system and programs...what do you recommend I do with that drive? The slave will ONLY have perosnal files and a 3rd drive will be backing up the 2nd drive.

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A fly in the ointment...
by Dick White / July 20, 2005 4:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Partition

the fly's name is "My Documents." The My Documents folder is now a system folder. Windows cannot survive if left out in the rain without the My Documents folder firmly attached to its originally installed position on the C: drive. Combine that with the nearly unalterable tendency of many applications (Microsoft's own apps being the worst offenders) to throw all user data into that user's instance of My Documents, the arguably noble notion that you can (and therefore should) segregate your user data to a second partition becomes an exercise in futility. And some of your data won't even end up in the My Documents folder (email programs are notorious for having their own hiding places...).

Now, all that said, a second partition isn't a bad idea, just an idea that you need to adjust to today's reality. I have mine set with a good sized C: partition and I just let the apps do whatever their mothers taught them. And then I make a mental note of where they like to put their playtoys. A second partition is mostly a work zone for video and audio processing and dead storage of some large files, and I forced Internet Explorer to put it's cache on the second drive. Now the main C: drive is less likely to get strewn about so defragging is faster (and needed less frequently). I then wrote a couple of quick batch files that will xcopy all of the My Documents folder and such other playtoy closets as I have already observed to a network storage device as a backup (and further, I periodically copy the network drive to an external USB drive and keep it off-site).


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Swat that fly!
by Edward ODaniel / July 20, 2005 1:52 PM PDT

Right click on the My Documents folder > choose Properties > Click on the Move... button > Expand My Computer and choose the drive you want to move it to > click the Make New Folder button and name it anything you like > click Apply > a screen will pop-up, click yes.

Alternatively open TweakUI and on the "My Computer" tab move the folders you want to wherever you want.

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Tweak UI??
by Hesh13 / July 23, 2005 12:00 AM PDT
In reply to: Swat that fly!

Based on other reply, Tweak UI is an NT program? Where is it in XP?

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Besides XP being NT...
by Edward ODaniel / July 23, 2005 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Tweak UI??

and that TweakUI was initially provided with Win 95, you can get the various XP Power Toys (including TweakUI) from this link:


PS - as to where it is in XP, the changes are reflected in the Registry. TweakUI is simply a GUI to make the edits push button easy as opposed to altering them manually through editing.

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To Swat the Fly!
by Balakrishnan / July 23, 2005 12:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Swat that fly!

That really was a wonderful method to Swat the Fly! Congrats.

Now what is TweakUI and how to open it?

T. R. Balakrishnan

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