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to make a partition or not

by carlosct / November 1, 2004 11:28 AM PST

Hi, i have a 60 GB HD in my laptop, and when using the recovery CDs I have the option to have only one 60 GB drive, or two partitions. Right now I have 2 partitions but my C partition is out of space, so I want to know what is better to have 2 partitions or an unique HD partition.

Please help me deciding this, with the advantages or disadvantages of both options.

Thanx

CCT

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Re: to make a partition or not
by Steven Haninger / November 2, 2004 8:28 AM PST

I'd say it's strictly a personal choice. There was a time when breaking drives into multiple partitions could, in some circumstances, allow more data to be stored as the cluster size (smallest area of disk which can be allocated) tended to be reduced. This is not an issue with NTFS such as XP will use. This works fine for such things as text files but not graphics and such which are compressed. Another reason to partition might be separate the OS and applications from other data as part of an organizatinal or backup scheme. For this, I prefer separate drives. A separate partition will have a different drive letter which, for some, simplifies some operations. If you decide to partition, your next challenge will be to determine how many you need and what their sizes should be. These choices are all dependent on your needs and you should know these best.

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Re: to make a partition or not - YES
by jamraiven / November 11, 2004 10:41 PM PST

I say yes, split your drive in half. Now the question is what to use it for? The second partition (D) should be used for backup. Here are my two suggested ways to accomplish this:

1) Install everything on C as you normally would and duplicate your data files (My Documents, etc...) on the D drive. You can either occasionally do this manually or use MS Backup or some other backup program including (Symantec) Norton Ghost. Using this method, the D drive can be smaller in size than C.

2) If you like to download and "test" programs like I do, then you probably need to use Ghost on a regular bases to backup and restore your OS. This being the case, use D for the Ghost Images as well as a place to store your downloaded files and your pagefile.sys. I also suggest relocating all of your data permanently to D (meaning the my Documents, My Music, etc... folders - I have over 4GB in these). This way, the system partition will stay as small as possible and you will have smaller Ghost images. Using this method, the C partition can be smaller than the D.

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Re: to make a partition or not - YES
by subechivas / November 12, 2004 5:01 AM PST

how long does it take to back up your drive to another partition. I imagine it's fast, but how fast? A few seconds... minutes?

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Re: to make a partition or not - YES
by shalom / November 12, 2004 3:40 PM PST

If you want to use the back to restore your system after testing new software using the D partition would be fine. However, don't rely on it as the main backup for your system. If the harddisk crashes, both partitions will be inaccessable.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by higginsoft / November 11, 2004 2:47 PM PST

The primary objective of partitioning a hard drive is to help organize your data. If you use the default installation directory for all/most of your programs (C:\Program Files\) then you are probably better off not partitioning. This is most likely why you are running out of room on the C: drive anyway.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by ReSpaces / November 11, 2004 11:31 PM PST

The methods I use have not been mentioned; so, I offer this:
During the XP installation I partition the HD (6 parts in my case) C has 8 gigs; After getting all updates (including devices), I install antivirus, antimalware and program applications on separate partitions. The only apps going on C are the common shares from the programs on the other partitions and those that are directly relevent to devices i.e., video controllers, sound editors, cddvd writer programs. In my case, this keeps the C drive to 2.5 gigs, which fits on one dvd image.
Should the need arise, I can reimage C without ever having to reinstall my applications. I seperately backup my personal data, music, pics, etc .
I always look forward to each issue.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by middlesworth / November 11, 2004 3:28 PM PST

I have a 60GB drive and a 15GB drive and have partitioned them like this: The 60 has five partitions--C, 11GB for the system files; E, 15GB for programs; H, 27GB for data;I, 2GB for the GoBack file for D (on the other drive) and J, the page file for D. The second drive has three partitions--D, 8GB for backup of H using Second Copy; K, 5GB for the GoBack file for C and L, 1GB for the page file for C. This arrangement gives me a fair amount of security with backups to the opposite drives and it makes defrag quick, since the GoBack and page file partitions are never defragged. I have lots of free space on C, D, E and H, with I, J, K and L nearly full.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by rdinning / November 11, 2004 9:30 PM PST

You seem to be under the impression that the page file is disk oriented. Not true. The page file should be on your least busy physical drive. In almost all cases the busiest drive will be the one the operating system is installed on.

Note that I say physical drive because there is no advantage to having the page file on a different partition of the same drive. The page file should always be as close as possible to the average position of the drive heads. If you only have one drive, then that will most often be the partiton that has the operating system.

Putting the page file completely on the other drive means that the heads picking up pieces of the operating system as needed are not being yanked away to access the page file. It also means on average the next time the page file is accessed the heads will already be there if it is on your least busy drive.

Believe it or not the slowest operation any disk can do is move the heads a long way across the platters.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by btamxx / November 12, 2004 2:28 AM PST

You are correct that the pagefile is better on a separate physical drive. However, there is an advantage to having your pagefile on a separate partition if you don't have a separate drive. Windows dynamically adjusts the pagefile based on its needs, unless you have turned off this feature. If you create a pagefile partition exactly the size of current pagefile plus 25-50 percent, and put the pagefile on that partition, you can allocate the entire partition to the pagefile and it will never fragment the pagefile, as long as you manually set the pagefile size to the size of the partition and turn of the automatic pagefile sizing in windows. Depending on the amount of ram available and the types of applications you run, (memory hogs) pagefiles are one of the most used files on the system, and therefore is more subject to fragmenting problems that really slow the system down. Keeping the pagefile from fragmenting is one of the best strategies for keeping your system from slowing down over time.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by JimInDC / November 12, 2004 2:33 AM PST

Most people can't handle having 8 different partitions. Think about it, the average person can't even work their remote to their TV! For 99% of the average computer users, telling them to set up 8 partitions is suicide, they will mess it up and ruin their computer, or they will try to cram everything onto one partion and ignore the rest of them, and then whine that their computer keeps giving them the "Disk Full" dialog box. I'm always in favor of the KEEP IT SIMPLE motto, so I think that everyone should just use one giant partition and leave it at that.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by EAK90 / November 11, 2004 4:14 PM PST

If you have a 60 gig hard drive, I would partition. I have several media files and vital documents that I can't lose, and I find that I can keep things much more organized if my hard drive is partitioned, and it is safter. Here are the reasons to partition your hard drive:

a) Multiple operating systems
If you ever want to make your computer into a secure server (though with a laptop, that might not be a great idea,) you can install Linux or another operating system in the second partition, while keeping your current file system and other partition the same. Another advantage to the operating system is compatability. Many people do not want to learn a never version of Windows, but want to use new software, so for the few programs not compatable with the older operating system, they can switch to XP easily.

b) Safety of your files
If there is a corruption in Windows or a disc error, it will only affect that partition. Your files on the other partition will not be harmed. This is vital for people who don't back up their media. Ripping CDs takes several hours, and everybody knows that their digital photos are priceless Wink

c) Organization
If you are like me and several others, you like to keep your files organized. You can partition your hard drive and keep all your media files in one partition, all your programs in another, Windows in another, and create any other partitions that you want. If you have your hard drive partitioned, but you want to have the Windows "My Documents" folder, you do not need to go to C:/Documents and Settings/User Name/My Documents. Instead, you can go to the start menu, right click "My Documents" and select the target; in your case, it would be D:.

d) Formatting
If something happens to Windows, you may have to format. Everybody dreads the day a new virus hits them and they need to format their computer and lose all their important documents. Fortunately, by partitioning, you will only have to format the Windows partition, and your media will be just fine. Though you may think that you have a good anti-virus program, but sometimes by the time you can get the new update, it is too late. Plus, the programs are not always perfect, and may miss a virus or not have the newest viruses, especially if you only LiveUpdate every week.

e) Defragmenting
If your computer is running slowly when accessing files, it is most likely because you have a fragmented hard drive. This means that when your computer saves a file, it moves it to the end of the hard drive, and pretty soon, several spaces in the middle of the hard drive are left there, wasting space. By defragmenting, your hard drive becomes organized better and you can access files faster.


Regarding the space issue, the difference between partitioning and having only one hard drive barely makes a difference. You needn't worry about that. If you need to, you an always get an external hard drive, or back up files on CDs that you need to carry with you, but don't access often.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by btamxx / November 12, 2004 2:36 AM PST

When you say that disk corruption will only affect one partition, you are assuming that the drive mechanics/electronics never fail. If this happens, every partition on the drive will be lost. Another thing, if you have a head crash, the crash could not only damage a spot on the disk but could also damage that head, and cause data loss on all other partitions. Even though the MTBF if very low on modern drives, they still fail. If you have very important data that can't be lost, use a raid drive with mirroring. If one drive fails, the data will still be intact on the other drive(s). IDE raid systems are extremely cheap these days compared to what RAID cost a few years ago.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by Farmzz / November 11, 2004 4:40 PM PST
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Re: to make a partition or not
by AsparaGus / November 11, 2004 4:45 PM PST

It does depend on how you use your computer and how you want to handle backups. Since you mentioned this is a laptop, it raises the question (at least in my simple mind) is this your main computer or is there a desktop you also use? The short answer is Yes.

Assuming it is your primary computer and you are (obviously) considering making a serious system change, I strongly recommend you look at Fred Langa's suggestions about partitioning for a backup plan.

http://www.langa.com/backups/backups.htm

In a nutshell, his plan advocates a 3 partition system, 1 for the OS and applications, 1 for Data, and 1 for backups (pending burning them to CD or DVD.) The full article is worth the read and the tips you'll find on junk file cleanups will be an added bonus.

In total honesty, I use my laptop more as a work station for temporary projects and to hold the fort if my desktops needs service. It holds no Data that isn't transfered to the Desktop daily. The Desktop setup uses a vastly modified (Fred wouldn't recognize it) plan. C:= OS D:= applications E:= Data F:= Music G:= Archived (old version setups, drivers, and misc.) H:Sandbox I:= Spare J:= Backups Z:= Swapfile
C D and E are the only things that require backup (and as a further hedge against disaster several of my partitions exist on external USB drives.)

For performance, moving the Swapfile or Page File to its own partition can be significant (I've set mine on a FAT partiton equal to 2.5x the size of my RAM with my swapfile or memory set to 1.5x the size of RAM as minimum and maximum. The boost is appreciable and it makes the C: partition require less defragging.)

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Re: to make a partition or not
by kennp / November 11, 2004 4:46 PM PST

Partitioning is up to the user. If you can't think of a reason to use partitioning, don't do it.

Question: Do you keep certain files in seperate folders or on different disk drives? Do you want to? That is the real question.

I personally have two partitions on my 60 gig drive. I make the C: partition around 5 gig so that defraging takes less than an hour. All temporary files are created on the C: partition and this can put some stress on Windows. I keep large files and my MP3 collection on the other drive.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by arexar / November 11, 2004 5:05 PM PST

I'm in the same struggle for survival. Any expert comments will be welcomed.

mosheg

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Re: to make a partition or not
by MarcSki / November 12, 2004 5:48 AM PST

Of course it is a matter of personal preference, but knowing the alternatives can certainly help. I have been partitioning my hard drives for years. Currently I start with C (Windows), D (databases), E (editors), F (online), G (graphics), ... I (my data files), ... K (compilers). It used to be in order to keep a low cluster size in order to maximize drive space efficiency (Smaller clusters waste less free space.) But now with FAT32 and NTFS, that is not an issue. But it also helps me to keep my data and programs (different apps) separate. Also, I use Partition Magic to manage the space (indispensible) and TotalCommander (used to be Windows Commander) for synchronizing between directories (much much better than Win Explorer.)
The partitioning probably wastes a little space in having allocation tables for each partition, but simplifying my directory trees is worth it.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by christpoems / November 11, 2004 9:27 PM PST

Glad you asked. I tend to format my hard drive alot: Some would even say too much. Besides backing stuff up on CD's I also have a 'D' drive on my computer. I keep the 'C' drive just small enough (I know, sounds ironic) to hold XP and a few selected programs. All important documents and zipped files are kept on the 'D' drive. This way if anything goes wrong with the 'C' drive you don't have to reinstall everything, just windows.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by pauliemac / November 11, 2004 9:57 PM PST

I installed a 2nd drive in my pc, 80gb and I partitioned it into 4 20gb hd's. Not does it make it easier when performing maintenance tasks but I use a seperate one for music, photos, and data. It was just easier to remember where everything went. I still have one partition unused.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by BrainFreeze / November 11, 2004 10:16 PM PST

I prefer two partitions over one for one main reason. Sure, there are the speed issues, blah, blah, blah, but most computers are so fast that you probably won't see much speed difference by having two partitions instead of one. The main reason I prefer two partitions is it makes reformatting the C-drive and reinstalling Windows much, much easier. We all know that every once in a while, Windows gets so bloated and convoluted, that we must format and reinstall. With two partitions, you can copy all your data to the D-drive, format the C-drive, reinstall, and copy files from D back to C. Or, you could just keep the data files on D.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by bvmc / November 12, 2004 12:08 AM PST

My reason for partitions:
There are several utilities that are used reqularly for optimum oeration.
Defrag, Format, Scandisk, etc...
If you do not partition large hard drives and when you defrag and have a problem which requires you to run scan disk. You have to scan the full 60 gigabytes. If you had partitions of 15 to 20 gigabytes each partition acts as a separate hard drive and all that would be scanned is the one partition or when you defrag you can defrag each partition individually. Each partition can be formatted separately.

bvmc

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Re: to make a partition or not
by Gonzo / November 12, 2004 12:26 AM PST

I had a 40GB disk and made 2 partitions: 30GB to C and 10 to D. I used D to backup serials, keep a zipped copy of important documents and my most personal files.

When a virus found its way in my PC, I couldn't access Windows (C). I used it as an slave and scandisk always ran because it found errors, I couldn't save all the information. The D partition worked excellent, I restored all my files easily.

I suggest to partition your disk, just in case, even if it's just to keep your information organized.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by theFATangel / November 12, 2004 12:35 AM PST

I have tried various partitioning schemes over the past few years and I am still trying to decide what's best. Too many partitions left me with a My Computer list that was out of control. So more is not necessarily better.

I figure after my next house-cleaning I'll set up my C: drive for my OS, programs and pagefile (virtual memory). When I have moved the pagefile off the C: drive I've encountered booting problems when restoring old images of my OS. This is the default drive Windows assigns for the pagefile so I'd stick with that. Same for program installation in my opinion.

I'll keep My Media on the second partition. If you edit large audio or enormous video files I would make the second partition your SandBox or EditingBay drive instead for faster access although it is recommended to actually keep an editing intensive partition like this on a different physical drive as close to the begining as possible. In your case an external FireWire or USB2 Drive with at least 7200rpm would be best for this scenario.

Since the media drive will most likely consist of files to archive that won't be modified much this can be on a partition further away from the begining of your laptop drive.

If you download a lot of files it might be advisable to make a separate target partition for files to be downloaded to where they can remain until scaned for viruses and checked for corruption. Once they've passed these tests I would move them to my Media drive for storage. This scenario will minimize problems associated with virus infections which become a great risk whenever downloading files.

If you can back up your OS and Media drives to image files using a commercial program such as Norton Ghost a final FAT or FAT 32 partition at the end of the drive could be in order for storing these files. FAT (2Gb limit) and FAT32 (32GB limit) will be much easier to retrieve data from in the case of a meltdown, although backing up to a different partition on the same physical drive is still VERY risky (kind of like keeping all your cash under your mattress). Again, a separate external drive would be best for your scenario to keep backup image files.

To summarize, in my experience, if you keep your partitioning to a reasonable minimum and try not to change default locations for pagefile and program installation, restoring or reinstalling your OS will be much quicker and safer than keeping everything on a single 60GB partition that includes your OS. I would also recommend an external drive for data backup and security in your case, having only one physical drive.

I hope this provides you with some food for thought. Its time for me to get to that house-cleaning ;^) .

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Re: to make a partition or not
by mandrelc / November 12, 2004 1:06 AM PST

I think creating a partion makes backing-up easier. I keep all of my ms office documents, photos, music, etc. on the second partition and load all of the software on the first. I back-up the entire second partion periodically (dvd burners are great) and then all I need to do is use e-backup from Inachis (http://www.inachis.com/download/index.php) to back-up outlook express and any other c:drive files or folders that I may want. It works for me.

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Re: to make a partition or not YES
by the_tinkerer / November 12, 2004 1:39 AM PST

I have partitioned my hard drives into 10GB partitions (or 9.58GB actually).
I put Windows and all my drivers on part. C: that leaves plenty of room for the swapfile and cache files.
On part. D: are all my programs, Utilities, Etc..
The remainder I name whatever I want to match whatevers on them (Downloads,Web Pages,TechUtilities,Etc.).
That way I only have to Defrag 10GB instead of 160GB.
The ones used for storage (movies,MP3s,Downloaded programs and utilities) hardly ever never need defraging, or spyware checking, it saves me a lot of time.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by nsheff / November 12, 2004 2:26 AM PST

Absolutely! For the following reasons.
1. Having a smaller boot drive makes it faster to defrag, scan and virus scan.
2. The secondary partition (or drive) can be used to save all your data files making it easier to back-up.
3. Less chance of a virus damaging your data. Programs can always be reinstalled, but once you lose your data - notes, letters, videos, pictures, spreadsheets, whatever, you can never recover.
4. You can maintain an image of your boot drive using ghost or drive image or bootit and save the image to the second partition.
I think the above makes the case.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by OleGeek / November 12, 2004 7:09 AM PST

I always partition my hard drives to seperate Op Sys files from Programs and data. This takes some diligent thought as all programs want to load to the "C" drive and you need to monitor what you want there and what to load on "D". Keep your "C" drive clean and you only have to save a backup every month or so, "D" or others are "Dynamic" and should be backed up frequently.

OleGeek (46 years a Computer Geek)

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Re: to make a partition or not
by Burell / November 12, 2004 9:30 PM PST

I personally prefer to partition because it gives me a quick way to reinstall an OS if it should have problems. Over the years I have found that I get better performance when I blow my system out and recreate it should I encounter a problem.

The main reason I partition is so I can keep my working files and data on the second partition and keep all of the OS and progam software on another portion of the drive. So reinstalling the OS and programs only touches the C drive.

I have found that with XP you need a minimum of a 20 GB partition on you C drive. If your drive isn't this large than you should use the whole drive. I started out building my systems with 4GB partition C drives and soon ran out of space. I then moved up to 10GB and the same thing happened, excpet it took longer to run out of space.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by droy99 / November 13, 2004 11:03 AM PST

Hello Carlosct

It really depends on how you want it. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.

Personally, I do have 2 partitions. I put my data on 1 and my programs on the other.

Most of the programs can be told to store the data in a different location than the default. I do this so that if anything happens, I can easily install windows, restore a backup or whatever. The nice thing is, unless the drive is physically destroyed, I can do this without loosing any data. Heck I even have my emails stored on the second partition.

Also, if I do have to restore from a backup image, since I am only restoring applications, I can do it much quicker than someone who is restoring everything.

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Re: to make a partition or not
by supermanx1a / November 14, 2004 3:03 AM PST

I definitely go for partitioning. The main reasons?
Firstly, the registry in Windows keeps track of everything in your disk. The more stuff you have the slower Windows starts and runs. Add to that all the prgs that you install and remove [they all leave files behind] and before you know it, little problems start to appear.
Secondly, if you don't mind having to deal with a couple of more letters, you can even divide the disk into 3 or 4 partitions.
Thirdly, I suggest you install only the OS and smaller unimportant prgs on the the C drive. The reason is that, even though everyone is supposed to do backups, everyone puts it off or "forgets" to do them. Also, by keeping Windows almost alone on your C drive, it stays lighter and faster for a longer time.
Therefore, in a worst case scenario, if your Windows goes Kaput and restoration fails, you reinstall Windows on your C drive and all your data on the other partitions is intact. Of course, you have to reinstall your prgs, but, at least you didn't lose anything.
Good luck!!

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