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Computer Help forum

General discussion

When to Partition a Hard Drive

by smb1 / December 2, 2007 10:34 PM PST

After SP1 for Vista is released, I plan on buying a new computer. I have read that it is a good idea to put the operating system on its own partition to make it easier to image and reinstall. If this is so, what size should the partition be. Also, is it a good practice to have another partition only for software (other than the OS).

Thanks for any suggestions and advice.


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Opinions vary
by Jimmy Greystone / December 3, 2007 12:07 AM PST

Opinions vary, but to be honest, I don't really find it to be worth the effort. The way Windows is set up to work means you lose most of the benefits you'd get from using partitions.

Programs must install at least some part of themselves on the same drive/partition as Windows, so if you ever had to reinstall the OS, programs would need to be reinstalled as well.

There is something to be said for a partition that only stores documents and downloads. That can be useful, especially if you just want to point a backup program at it. Nothing else is really worth the effort if you ask me.

Also remember that it will take some time for computer makers to customize the Vista SP1 package to work on their systems, and even longer before they start shipping systems with it installed. The service pack Microsoft releases will be for the poor souls who actually bought Vista separately, and didn't get it with their computer. It may cause problems if you try and install it on Dell, HP, Compaq, Gateway, etc, system. So, I'd plan on getting that new system 3-6 months AFTER Vista SP1 is released if you don't want to install it yourself, and maybe 1-2 months if you don't mind installing SP1 yourself. Maybe even ask yourself how much you really need a new system, because the little bit I've used Vista makes me loathe it, and I'm usually the type who embraces change. The only compelling thing about Vista is the new Aero interface, which is a massive resource hog and a very poor imitation of Apple's Mac OS X Expose feature to boot. Otherwise it's just XP with a bunch of options moved about randomly, and about 3X the system requirements. If it were me, I'd just save my money and ride it out with XP until Vista's successor (assuming it will be any better), give Linux a shot, or buy a Mac instead.

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re: when to partition a hard drive
by ramarc / December 3, 2007 1:00 AM PST

putting yours os and apps on the boot partition is a good idea for the reasons you mentioned. it also help reduce fragmentation of system files. a 30-40gb partition should be sufficient.

be sure to move your documents folder to the other partition since it will take your temp and app setttings folders along with it.

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The opinion you need is ...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 3, 2007 2:01 AM PST

Yours and yours alone. I can't count how many times I've had to help people get their files back from (crazy?) partitioning expeditions. While it used to pay off in the days of Windows 98 today we just leave it as one big one since there are more ways to get payoff without the dangers.

If anyone tells you that your files are safer with more partitions just visit our storage forum and read the tales of woe.


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Count me as 'pro partitioning'
by VAPCMD / December 3, 2007 12:21 PM PST

Reasons . .

It allows me to logically separate the OS and APPs on "C" from the data on "D".

That partitioning scheme allows me to create drive partition images and restore partitions from the images independent of each other as desired.

That partitioning scheme creates a separation allowing me to format the C: partition and reinstall the OS and APPs without automatically destroying the data on D:

That partitioning scheme allows me to create images of "C" or "D" or the whole drive if desired. Images of "C" usually take less than 15 minutes and "D" about 40 minutes. With compression I can usually store
3 complete images of "C" and 2 of "D".

Like Bob's your call...what I've listed above makes it easy and logical for me.

Good Luck


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