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250GB hard drive: Partition recommendations

Hi,

I've just bought a spanking new PC which has a 250GB drive.

I use my PC for: general apps, playing video (not games), watching TV, recording TV, bit of vid conversion (not too much), and other general stuff.

On my old 120GB system, I have three partitions:
C: Windows - about 10GB
D: Applications - about 10GB
E: Data (video, music etc) - the rest

I found this ok with the odd problem with the C: drive getting a bit big. But I've alwasy liked the idea that most of my data was a long way away from the OS and indeed it allowed me to resintally XP several times without touching the data. Recently I've read people dismissing the idea of numerous partitions as not necessarily that useful. So what do people think?

Thanks as ever.

n

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hander1
Asked:
hander1
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4 Solutions
 
CallandorCommented:
I think OS'es and program installations have enough problems and conflicts that I always make Ghost images for restoring to a known working configuration.  Software updates are always coming in, but you have no idea that they will work with other programs, so a little insurance is wise, and smaller OS partitions mean faster backups, faster backups mean more frequent backups.
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willcompCommented:
For experienced users like you seem to be, I recommend installing the OS on its own partition and programs and data in a separate partition.  Then, if XP upchucks, you only have to reinstall OS.  Keeping an image of boot partition on data partition will ease reinstallation.  Your 3 partition setup is also an excellent choice.

For non nerd users, just install everything on 1 partition.  They don't have knowledge and discipline required to handle multiple partitions and the C drive winds up full with little on other logical drives.

Dalton

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nobusCommented:
if you have a regular backup, why would you need more partitions than 1?
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CallandorCommented:
Because a 10GB backup is a lot faster than a 50GB backup, and data sometimes doesn't change as fast as the program updates.
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hander1Author Commented:
I don't have external back up and it would be tedious to do it for 100GB+ of video files that I don't mind losing.

Really all I want to do in back ups is create an image of the OS and apps (is that possible) in say, E, and probably back up some of the data on E (work etc). The other stuff is play so I wouldn't die if it were lost.

I'll leave it open for other sugggestions though...
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ridCommented:
I think you have a good setup. Possibly you could simplify by using a somewhat larger C: partition and have the O/S and programs together, but that is a matter of taste more than anything else. A separate data/documents partition is a good idea IMHO.
/RID
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holger12345Commented:
I have the problem, that my HD was preconfigured too big in size - as all imaging software only mke images for the whole partition, i can't do images on a DVD-RW and the 2nd partition is also too small

I recommend you stay with the 10GB OS partition
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tosh9iiiCommented:
Be sure to move the Virtual Memory (pagefile.sys) to a different hard drive than your opearting system.  It works faster that way.

If you download tons of videos like me, then I'd leave the entire 250gb for just that.
This is how I have my setup:

C: Windows 5.5 gb
D: Utilities 2 gb
E: Applications 5 gb
F: Games 100 gb
G: Miscellaneous (videos, audio,backups,docuemnts, desktop, etc) 200 gb

I think that having partitions is extremely useful, there have been several times where I decided to format my C: drive. Since I only have windows on that drive, I didnt have to do any backups or move any files.  Plus, it's extremely important to defrag your drive, especially the one with Windows on it.  If it's a 100 gb, then it'd take 4-5 hours, but if it's only 5-10 gb then it'd take about 20-30 minutes.
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JoeSnyderJrCommented:
If you have a partition copying product like Partition Magic, consider making a copy your working WinXP partition onto this large drive. If you make it a hidden primary partition you could make it active should your current XP partition become damaged. From this you could be back in business quickly and also use as a source to restore the damaged partition. I have done this with 3 operating systems on the same drive with good results.
Don't use as a substitute for a good backup since a disk crash puts you out of business but it faster than an emergency boot and reinstall.
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mlynch24Commented:
I use SATA 20/115/115 as you do in pattern and have XPP with ASR copy the 20 to each partition and my external 40gig usb drive. I leave the swap on the 20  with OS and must have right away apps, which resides on the fastest aspect of the 250. the data and other non-critical programs I backup to a IDE ATA100 160 split into two equal partitions.
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Gaud-woCommented:
I've got about 12 partitions.

C: 10GB OS
D: 35GB Program Files
E: 20GB Temp Data

P: 40GB Production (for creating/managing software, work, ...)
S: 20GB Support (drivers, images, tech data)

V: 120GB Video
M: 60GB Audio (Music)
G: 80GB Games

And a few network drives.

Currently divided over 250GB Sata, 120GB IDE and 80GB IDE, but I'm moving to a Raid controller.

Why? I can find everything back with ease, and I can plug in my data disks in an external case or another pc, reassign drive letters, and I got my good old config back.
I'm only looking for a way to keep track of my installed files and games - I don't always have install CD, but I upgrade my PC often, so I have to mess around imaging XP, in-place upgrading it, trying to recover this and that...

I also always keep a "spare" partition, to quicly install XP to in case of failure of my OS, so I can recover it from an XP environment. This way I don't need to back-up that much.
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hander1Author Commented:
Ok to summarise, think everyone mainly agrees that:

1) A separate partition for the OS is sensible - approx 10GB is reasonable in size
2) A separate partition for applications is not absolutely necessary but many do it.
3) A separate partition for DATA is extremely useful.

Additionally:
4) a separate partition (possibly hidden) with a working OS might be useful if anything should go down.

Not sure about:
5) where the swap file should be... anyone confirm?
6) Burning - on my old system a temp file was created on the C: drive which at times caused space problems. Presume I could set this to elsewhere in something like Nero or whatever.
7) Hidden primary partitions - I don't went to end up in a multiboot situation - but I guess I can research this in Partition Magic 8 - which I will use to do all of this.

Ps thanks for all responses. Not sure if I've got enough points to handout. Experts exchange ROCKS.
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hander1Author Commented:
pps oh yes, and most believe that a backup should be to an external source in case of complete HD problems.
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ridCommented:
1) The MS tools are quite OK to use for partitioning - if you start with a clean drive.
2) Why use "hidden" partitions and such unless there's a security-related reason to fiddle with this.
3) The swap file.... I think this could very well be on the system drive - allow for its additional space when creating the partition. I find a small performance boost with a fixed size swap file that is not fragmented compared to a variable file. May depend on system hardware and such.
/RID
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hander1Author Commented:
1) Thanks. The drive isn't clean now - and I don't want to reinstall everything - I'll leave the serious apps I've already put on c, there. Guess PM will let me do all this.

2) Point taken

3) Could or should? MIght be uK/us misunderstanding here. HOw much to allow? Other spec if relevant:
3.2 PIV
1GB ram


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Gaud-woCommented:
Could. You don't need a Belgian to tell you that, do you ^_^
Best is to put it on a separate harddisk (not partition), but of course MS knows not everyone has 2 or more harddisks - so it will work if you put it on the same hard disk.

About the size: fiddle a bit with it, you'll see it when you reach the best!
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nobusCommented:
Before starting to fiddle with PM, one suggestion : have a full backup ! we have enough questions here where something went wrong during repartioning.
That's why i still ask : do you need more than 1 partition? If you don't, i still say keep to one partition.
If you do many installs of programs, eg for testing, then it's a wise idea; For the rest, what do you gain?
I know many will disagree, but this is my opinion.

Good luck, whatever you choose to do !
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Gaud-woCommented:
I completely agree with nobus: Repartitioning a drive when data is present is to be avoided! Partitioning should be done before the drive is used.
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tosh9iiiCommented:
5) where the swap file should be... anyone confirm?

The swap files should "NOT" be on the same hard drive as your OS.

However, if you have more than 1gb of RAM, then you're better off disabling virtual memory (swap file)
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ridCommented:
Swap file issues tend to be a bit on the religious side...  It is a good thing to have one, even with a large amount of RAM. If something needs to be swapped, like. I, personally, don't think it matters much which drive is involved. I do think, however, that the "administration" of the swap file is less demanding on the system if it is a contiguous, fixed-size file. Thus some small gain in speed may be acieved.
/RID
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holger12345Commented:
I would recommend the swap-file not to be on the OS partition. It will change in size every now and then, so defragmentation will not work good.
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hander1Author Commented:
Hmm.. now at this stage I'm wondering whether I should just bite the bullet and do a full format before partitioning, installing OS etc.

Surely PM8.0 can handle this without reinstalling everything? Or am I just planting a seed of discontent on my 'lovelynewpcthatIwanttobeperfectforever' lol.
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ridCommented:
"Surely PM8.0 can handle this without reinstalling everything?"

I'm sure they claim to be able to do so. Reality is another thing.

"planting a seed of discontent"... I like that; may I use it?

As for the swap file, the main thing is to keep it to a fixed size to the resizing doesn't have to happen at all.

Could vs. should... I think many english students have problems with that if they're not in an english-speaking environment. I meant it could just as well reside on the system drive as anywhere else and I think the main issue is to keep it at a fixed size.

/RID (the swede)
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tosh9iiiCommented:
I agree with rid, the min and max size of the swap file should be the same (fixed size).

hander1, if you system is working fine at the moment with no major problems, then you should use PM8 and partition your drive.  However, if you are having some problems that you don't know how to solve, then perhaps you should take advantage of the situation and format your drive and do a clean installation.  I've used PM8 and so far I haven't had any problems, just remeber to be patient.
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nobusCommented:
i say always the same thing (boring, is it not?) : you can do the repartitioning, but be sure you have a backup first !
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CallandorCommented:
Boring?  "May you live in interesting times" is a Chinese curse!  Boring and uneventful is good when changing partitions.
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holger12345Commented:
just split the points in hundred peaces ;-)
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willcompCommented:
I'll put in for some of the booty.

Dalton
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Gaud-woCommented:
To summarize:

- PARTITION: You -should- Partition a drive BEFORE installing OS (should, could, I'm Belgian and I get what I'm saying - lol.). Failing to do so will not cause your PC to blow up in 5K pieces, but it will surely not improve anything. As Callandor stated - when performing PC maintenance you're better of doing dull standard tasks, then encountering new frustrating problems.
How you divide partitions, is up to you - I personally recommend using a 'small' partition for os, like 2-10GB, to make backing up easyer. I tend to make quite some partitions for different resources (work, games, downloads, data, even a 'temp' partition) to avoid too much moving of data (-> fragmentation).

- PAGEFILE: Generally it is recommended to put the pagefile on another disk, preferrably even on another channel than where your OS is located [ Eg: Pri Master = C:\ with os, Sec Master = D:\ with pagefile ]. Set a fixed size (max and min size should be the same) to avoid fragmentation. What this size is, depends on a lot of machine specific variables (ram speed, size and timings, cpu, mainboard, disk, ...) so look this up on the webby and try it out.

- DISK LOCATION: Try not to group devices that will transfer data to eachother. So, don't put a data disk and a writer (thats going to write the data) both on PRI channel. Devices that communicate a lot with eachother are best put on different channels. Also, try not to mix IDE and ATAPI devices on a channel - so no Disks and Opticals on the same channel.


And, don't believe what a vendor of a product says.
I once bought a car that was 'ok', according to the seller - even had a test drive. But, I only noticed that the passenger side door didn't close too well when cruising on the highway - only then enough air passed through the hole (between door and chassis) to be audible.
Try to find a truly independent source of information.

(I could also tell you some anecdote about Fox, but I don't want to make this disscussion political ^_^)
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Gaud-woCommented:
I'd like to see this collection of quite good answers listed when someone enters "partition recommendations" in google. What are the options TheLearnedOne?
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