Optimize windows and application locations

Posted on 2004-12-01
Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I just installed a 200GB HD and installed windows 2K with all service packs and hotfixes, and am running Acronis partitioning software. My question is what is the best way to set up drive partitions to optimize the system for speed. I have already set up partions for data and archive storage, but I am not sure about the following :

1. Should I leave the paging file in the same partition where win2K is installed ? I am aware that many articles suggest putting it in a separate partition to reduce fragmentation, but I am using diskeeper9, which keeps it defragmented, so is there any other reason to move it (speed ???)

2. Should I install programs in the Win2K partition or in a separate one ? Again, articles suggest a different one so that if windows crashes and you need to reinstall the OS and Programs, program settings will remain. This is not a problem for me because I Image the partition which takes care of that problem. My question is which arrangement produces the fastest system ?

3. Same question as above but instead of program files locations, what about user profiles ???

My thoughts are that programs install a lot of files and if they are installed on the win2k partition won't they increase the time windows needs to lookup system files in the MFT and spread out the system files, increasing read time ?

On the other hand if the hard drive head has to go back and forth between the partition does that offset the gain above ??

I hope I explained my thoughts correctly. Basically I am trying to set up the partitions and file locations so the system will run as fast as possible.

I am open to any other suggestions, please help, I need to set this up ASAP, and since there will be many programs to install I want to do it right the first time.

Thanks in advance folks.
Question by:exptech
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    paging file read this (number FIVE)

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    partition and performance question
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    As you state, there is multiple ways of setting this up, and i will give you an example of my ways..

    1: I allways place the OS/paging file on separate DISKS, speed being the main concern.
    2: I allways place the appfiles/proprietary drivers in a separate PARTITIONS on the OS disk for safety in case of a OS repair.
    3: user profiles i place in a shared folder in the app space, or if it is a huge amount of files/traffic, on a separate server. (together with ex. a SQL used by the same users.)

    If you only have one disk available, and cant spare a 40GB disk for the pagingfile i`d say, create 3 partitions.. OS/Page/App.+users.

    >>won't they increase the time windows needs to lookup system files in the MFT and spread out the system files, increasing read time ?
    Rarely, and only at high load.. My config is not prone to this problem.


    Author Comment

    Matt, first thank you for the quick response. I understand your suggestions and they make perfect sense. Though I am still looking for a slightly different answer. My absolute main concern is speed not safety. I constantly make Images so restoration is a breeze.

    If you could just clarify a few points for me:

    1. If the swap file can not be put on a separate DISK, is there any SPEED advantage to having it on a different partition ?? Fragmentation is not a problem.

    2. What confuses me is that by putting the apps on the OS partition adds many files and I am not sure if that slows down access to systems files or not. If so, and I put the apps on a separate partition doesn't that increase the time by making the disk head travel further back and forth between the OS and Apps partition ?

    3. What about temp files ?

    4. Finally how do you move the user profiles and tell windows 2K their new locations ?

    Again thank you for your help !
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    >>If you could just clarify a few points for me:
    I will.. as far as i can. :-)

    1:>>If the swap file can not be put on a separate DISK
    There is NO speed advantage to put it on a separate partition if you handle defragmentation well or better.
    2: having OS/App files on the same partition is no problem.. The problem arise when something crashes or files gets corrupted. My reason for splitting these on two partitions is mainly safety, but also to avoid fragmentation of OS files.. (in other words.. it helps on speed issues, and files of programs/OS is seldom accessed on the same time so you dont need a separate disk for this issue.)
    >>"I put the apps on a separate partition doesn't that increase the time by making the disk head travel further back and forth between the OS and Apps partition"
    Theoretically, maybe.. On modern 7200Rpm + disks this issue is more or less eliminated. The read/write head needs to be reposisioned anyway, but spin-up time is eliminated.

    3: Dont worry about the temps, you cant controll their location anyway, and in most cases as they mostly are placed in the systemroot or in a programs folder. depending on what generated them.

    4: If you by user profiles mean their homedirectory/files you simply set it up on the users profile.
    I use a system where i have a DNS record "USERS" whitch i can point whereever i like, and then share a folder on the server as USERS aswell.. this makes it simple for me to just set up profiles with \\USERS\USERS\%username% in AD.
    I dont know if theres any automatic way of changing this location for all users.

    If speed is more important than cost a RAID might be what you need. A IDE/SATA raid is not that expencive.

    I hope that helps.

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