Pro's and Con's of Partitions

Is there a general view on creating partitions on a hard drive. Is it better not to unless you need to or immaterial, that is, doesn't really matter either way.

Marina2006Asked:
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ElletechCommented:
There are pro's and con's for any and everthing that you can think of!

As far as creating partitions, a few that I can name are:
Pro's
1. Allows you to have multiple locations for storing information. If you plan on using working and partaking in leisure, then I recommend creating a partition for your working files, and then one for your personal files.
Windows actually functions pretty well with it’s own partition!
2. You can allow others, guess, or even a site that you may be hosting to access certain information, and then set the other partitions for restricted access.
3. When you have a large drive, it is generally good for you to break it down. This can increase the performance of your catalogs, indexes, drive, and overall system in general.
4. You can give yourself massive space by allotting an amount of un-partitioned drive space to memory! Just use it as a cache, or temp location for storing raw data!

Con’s
1. You must keep track of the individual drives and virtual drives! After all, a partition is a fake drive. A configuration that fools the system into thinking that you have multiple drive as opposed to just one.
2. If you lose a hard drive, then you will lose all partitions associated with that drive as well! BE VERY CAREFUL!

These are just a few pro’s and con’s. I hope that this was able to help you out!

For more information, please let me know.

James
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
In addition to the points provided by James (although I'm not quite sure what he's talking about in point 4), one of the best reasons is so that if your windows partition gets corrupt or windows crashes beyond repair, you can format the C: drive and start over while leaving the other partitions untouched.  (Of course, your data should be saved on the other partitions).
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ElletechCommented:
My applogies for posting that type of link.. Didn't know, and I won't do it again...

Let me clear up the 4th point that I made...
In an windows xp envir, you can use un-partitioned disk space for raw data... So, for example you want to burn, copy, or create large video files... Like when you are working with DVD's, instead of using a temp to burn from, your file will be stored in the allocated disk space... Use the disk manager utility for more information on this topic...
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
This goes a bit beyond just why you should partition your drive, but you may want to read the answer I wrote to this question:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Desktops/Q_21582113.html

The basic concept is simple:  separate your system partition and data (and then keep backups of both on a separate drive).   Leew's comment that you can "... format the C: drive and start over ..." is correct; BUT if you follow the suggestions in my link you can do much better than that ==> you can simply restore your system partition to any point at which you imaged it.   This is much better than starting from scratch; as it will include all of your programs; your customized desktop; all Windows updates;  etc.    The reason you want your system partition to be a modest size is so the images will be reasonably sized.   For example, my very-well-loaded system's most recent image is just over 9GB  (requires 3 DVD's for a backup copy -- although I keep the image on an extra hard drive (my system has 5).

Although for most purposes it's safe to just ignore this, it is also true that the first partition on the hard drive will have the best data transfer rate of all your partitions (this is because all modern drives used zoned sectoring).  So it's best to put your system in the first partition.

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I'm still quite fuzzy on what your talking about.  Do you mean creating a partition just for this data?  If not, could you post some links to the concept your talking about or some more exact steps on how to reference it in Windows Help?
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... by the way, EVERY disk is partitioned.   Some only have ONE partition -- but it's still an entry in the MBR's partition table.

Elletech -- I'm also interested in the details of what you meant with your 4th point.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... what do either of those links have to do with your statement about "... allotting an amount of un-partitioned drive space to memory!" ???
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
UGGGHH!  You're talking about disk spanning!  I avoid that like the plague - lose one disk and you lose both - it's worse than RAID 0 - which at least helps a bit in performance.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... I suppose that's what he's referring to.   I would not call a spanned disk "... allotting an amount of un-partitioned drive space to memory!"  ==> it's still partitioned space; it's just allocated to a spanned volume.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
this does not sound like spanning:
"... allotting an amount of un-partitioned drive space to memory!"
But the links he posted make it seem very much like that's the subject.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... I agree -- that's why I asked "what do either of these links have to do with ..."

Elletech -- care to clarify ??
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simpswrCommented:
I liken partitioning to a bookcase . . without shelves, all the books are stacked mumble/jumble on top of each other, making it difficult to find any particular book or kinds of books . . With shelves . . you can put books on individual shelves in whatever grouping makes sense to you.

With one partition, the Operating System, Applications and data are grouped together . . properly partitioned, you can have the Operating System and Applications on one Partition ( shelf ) . . the data in as many partitions ( shelves ) as makes sense to you.  One for Data . . one for Images . . One for Music.  When it comes time to Backup, you just copy entire partitions to external media.

And, as mentioned above, should you have to reinstall the operating system, all your data, images and music remain untouched and available for the next installation.

It is a personal preference kind of thing . . no single right answer for everyone
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
"no single right answer for everyone"
COMPLETELY Agree.
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ElletechCommented:
I'm sorry, but I can't be any more clear, aside from showing you. Disk spanning was my next point... But, not my 4th... I will post the link that references my comment...
Let's not get side track though, and focus our attention back to the original inquiry... Which is the the pro's and con's of disk partitioning.

I hope that my contributions have helped you out a bit. And, as all others have simply restated my intial contributions, aside from Leew, I will stress data backups too.

Good luck
ELLETECH
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Marina2006Author Commented:
This has been incredibly informative and I thank you.

At the risk of sounding incredibly stupid I wish to install some trial Microsoft SharePoint products which require Windows Server 2003, does all the above still apply if Windows 2003 is the operating system or one of the operating systems
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Yes, the concept is OS-independent.   If you separate your system from your data you can do all of the things noted in the earlier discussion:  (a)  image your system partition;  (b)  restore your system partition in the event of any system corruption (or, for that matter, you can restore it to a new hard drive in the event of a drive failure);  (c)  keep your data separate from your system (so it won't be effected by restoring the system; and (d) organize the system in whatever way you see fit with additional partitions.   The KEY advantage is separating system and data.   As to whether or not you want to use additional partitions for further organization, as noted above there's no "right" answer to that -- it's entirely personal preference.

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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"...  or one of the operating systems ..." ==> this comment implies you may want to install multiple operating systems.   In that case, there's another very useful advantage of partitioning:  you can have a different partition for each OS; thus totalling separating them.   With a good boot/partition manager you can even completely isolate them from each other's partitions.   I have one system with 14 different bootable OS's on it -- and NONE can see the partitions of the others.   This does require a boot manager that manages more than 4 primary partitions (the normal MBR limit), but it works like a charm; and if any system gets corrupted it has NO effect on any other (and of course I can restore it in 5 minutes by just restoring the last image of that system).

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