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Windows 2003 (Terminal) Server Hard Disk Partitioning Best Practice

Currently having an issue within our organization when trying to put together a standard build for Terminal Server; the point of contention is that one camp is stating that there is no need for anything else except one large OS partition (in other words a "C" drive!) and the other camp who believes there should be a minimum of 2, OS and paging (and if further required, one for data and one for applications also).
Personally from everything I have been taught and read from hardware and software disk I/O to just good organization of HDD I believe that multiple partitions are required, however I URGENTLY need a white paper or documentation from a known and reputable source to illustrate that multiple portions are better practice.
Of course not that I don't trust anything that I read in forums but I need the proof from an organization and not one individual.

Many Thanks
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I always believe in a 20gb C: and then the rest on another volume.

Not only because of performance,  but if you happen to have OS corruption...sometimes you need to boot to recovery console and perform a chkdsk /r to repair the file system.

This takes a long time and if you have one large volume, recovery time is much longer.
Keep in mind also that the performance beneift is only true if you are dealing with seperate physical disks or arrays also.

If you have one single HD or one single array and you just partition it into two barts...you gain nothing but organization.

20 gb os Partition? Not these days. 40 gb minimum at lest.


Thanks for the comments and I agree but I need some white paper or documentation from an organization so I can make my case

Why do you need more than 20gb on the OS partition?

If you are doing things right...you'll be installing your applications on other volumes.  The only thing you technically need C: for is the page file (for crash dump writing), the OS itself, hot fixes, and service packs.  

All other applications should be put elsewhere for performance and recovery reasons.

If you find yourself with a corrupt registry or a stop 7b,  which a chkdsk /r can often fix depending on severity, running a chkdsk on a 40gb+ partition would take way longer than desired.

It doesn't make any sense to have a large OS volume if you have the hardware to split stuff up.

Additionally if you have a mirror for the OS,  and a raid 5 or some other form of raid for applications/data you have a much better picture of disaster recovery.  If just the mirror blows up one day,  you'll only have to recover the mirror and all the data on the other array is fine.

If 2 drives in the raid 5 grenade and you lose all the data,  you still have the OS array functioning and can easily fix the data volume and restore from backup.

It makes no sense at all to have one massive system volume.

I do do things right, and better safe the sorry. Ever run out of room on a OS partition? As far as white papers? I would think you are better off googeling for those. Are the suits trying to tell you how to install an OS or another engineer?
How are you going to run out of space on C: if you don't have any 3rd party applications installed there?

Unless you have a flaky app or something that is writing endless logs to the C: drive, it won't be filling up on its own from some magic location if you only have the OS itself on the volume.

The only thing you have to ask yourself is this,  what are they doing on the terminal server?

User Profiles are the only thing that are going to be stored locally.

If you are going to give them the ability to save documents and allow these folders to get big,  then you could have an issue.

You can modify an unattend.txt file to specify another location for the docs and settings folder in this instance:




I didn't make myself clear, I'm not concerned about the size of the partitions but the actual principal of having a Windows 2003 OS (perhaps saying that it was a TS box just confused matters) with multiple partitions as opposed to just one, for example every says that the pagefile should be on a separate partition from the OS..who says so, is this MS recommended, where do they officially state this and the reasons why, that's the kind of docs/white papers I am looking for.

This is written for xp but same principle applies:

However, if you remove the paging file from the boot partition, Windows cannot create a dump file (Memory.dmp) in which to write debugging information in the event that a kernel mode Stop Error message occurs. This could lead to extended downtime if you must debug to troubleshoot the Stop error message.

The optimal solution is to create one paging file that is stored on the boot partition, and then create one paging file on another partition that is less frequently accessed on a different physical hard disk if a different physical hard disk is available. Additionally, it is optimal to create the second paging file so that it exists on its own partition, with no data or operating-system-specific files. By design, Windows uses the paging file on the less frequently accessed partition over the paging file on the more heavily accessed boot partition. An internal algorithm is used to determine which paging file to use for virtual memory management.


Per your comment on who says the page file should reside somewhere other than the system partition see the link to Microsoft for the Server version of the knowledge article refrenced above.

If you follow the principle of configuring disk based on optimizing disk I/O as suggested by Microsoft in the article it would make sense to move the "user" data to a third volume to allow the operating system an additional avenue for disk I/O.  For a terminal server the user profile could be moved to this "Data" or thrid volume.

Configuring paging files for optimization and recovery in Windows Server 2003, in Windows 2000, and in Windows NT


Madperk has given me the best link so far, thanks madperk. I'll award the points in couple of days if there are no additional links on this thread that help with my question.


Hoped for more results but this was the best one for my needs so thanks to madperk

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