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Advice on partitioning drives with existing data and new drives

Posted on 2016-10-18
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Last Modified: 2016-10-20
Hi,

We would like to know what do you recommend for a 1TB, 2TB, 3TB drives as to partitioning it in multiple drives.  All our computers have 1TB hard drives installed.  Also all of them have external drives drives connected to them (2TB or 3TB ).  Last night a colleague suggested to partitioning all from the computers internal c-drives and all external drives; this, as he puts it, reduce the probability of data loss if a storage device fails.

Though makes sense, we would like to know is EE  opinion.

Questions,
Does Windows 10 has apps that can partition existing working C drives without loosing data?
If Windows 10 has no apps, what is EE recommendations for a partitioning software?

Thank you in advance.
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Question by:rayluvs
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Russ Suter earned 150 total points
ID: 41849290
The built-in disk management utility will let you resize partitions. It's fairly straightforward but can take a long time for large volumes.
Extend-ShrinkAs far as whether it decreases the risk of data loss, I'm not so sure. The partitions all rely on the same hardware so if there is a hardware failure all partitions are just as likely to be affected as if it were a single partition with one exception. The exception being that if the failure occurs on the partition index then only that partition would be affected. But the statistical likelihood of a crippling read error in a partition table is pretty slim.

Bottom line, don't rely on a partition scheme to enhance data integrity. Only RAID and backups can do that. Choose a partition scheme based solely on business needs which consider such factors as compatibility, data organization, and user security.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 70 total points
ID: 41849340
Agree.   I see NO advantage from a reliability perspective to partitioning your drives.

With rotating platter drives (i.e. not SSDs) you can gain a bit of performance on your C: drive -- assuming it's the first partition on the drive -- by shrinking it so it uses less than 50% of the size of the drive ... this will ensure it never uses the slower, innermost cylinders of the drive.

But if your goal is reliability, be sure you have a good BACKUP strategy; and consider a fault-tolerant setup for the drives (RAID).
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by:nobus
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with the big disk sizes now - i see no gain, or advantage in partitioning drives
it makes the disk structure more complex, and can provoke errors more easily (user saves to wrong partition)
i leave the drives unpartitioned
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by:garycase
ID: 41849501
"... i leave the drives unpartitioned  " ==> EVERY drive is partitioned.   More accurately, you only use one partition per drive :-)
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by:rindi
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It is still best to keep your OS separate from the Data, 3rd party programs. So I always create a small partition for the OS, and the rest is for the data. The user profiles as well as the normal software I install is on the data partition. This makes management of the system easier. Backup is also easier, as I can backup the OS separately to the data. A further advantage is that I can install a 2nd or 3rd OS to dual boot to, and they all use the same data and programs from the same partition, while the other OS partitions don't even have a drive letter and so are untouched. This saves space as the 3rd party programs aren't installed at different locations, and the data is accessible by all those OS's.
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by:nobus
ID: 41849881
sorry Garycase - i meant of course that i do not add other partitions
as for rindi's comment - i find that it brings me no advantages; but that's only my opinion
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by:rayluvs
ID: 41849996
Hi, thank for the info.  Seems that we are inclining in not to partition our drives, current and new drives.

What about when copying large zip files from the second partition; it takes time because of the OS moving first to the temp folder then the destination folder?

What about performance decreased as the 2d partition is being filled as time passes?

Also the userfile folders and other user specific OS folders, we would have to create some sort of configuration for better performance if using 2d partition?

And pagefiles and hybernation files; should a small C: drive be created only for them, then and D: drive Windows OS and windows apps and finally a E: drive for that data?

Lastly, is it safe to say that the only disadvantage of having 1 partition is when restoring a OS?  (Other than that any backup scheme will suffice data loss)
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by:rindi
rindi earned 70 total points
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Moving files from one partition to another doesn't involve a temp folder.

Performance when using partitions isn't relevant. The performance stays the same whether you use partitions or not.

The hibernation file can only be on the OS partition, so you have to think of that size when you prepare the partition (provided you use hibernation - I normally don't, so for me it is irrelevant). Hibernation uses about the same size of your RAM, so if you use it you should reserve the space for the max amount of RAM your PC can be upgraded to. The Pagefiles I always organize to be 256MB on your OS partition so that minidumps can be created, and the other pagefile I use my data partition for, and set it to System managed.

I mentioned the advantages already. Besides backup and restore, it also makes management easier, OS corruption doesn't affect the data  and vice versa, and it is reduces the space wasted in multi-boot environments.
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by:garycase
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A few other thoughts ...

(a)  As I noted earlier, there can be a performance advantage if you only use ~ half of the drive for your OS partition ... this is referred to as "short stroking" the drive; and results in slightly faster average seeks (since the longest seek distance is cut in half) and appreciably higher average transfer speeds, since you're never using the slowest cylinders on the inner part of the drive.

If you do that, you can either just not use the rest of the drive; or you can create another partition and use it for data that isn't actively used a lot (e.g. you wouldn't want a database on it) ... perhaps music or pictures.

(b)  As rindi noted, there are several advantages to separating your OS and data => the key one is that  it greatly simplifies data backups, since you can just copy the entire data partition.    It also lets you easily restore an image of the OS without needing to restore your data afterwards.   This is how my primary systems are set up.    But it's must less important with the excellent backup features built in to Windows 10 --  especially if you have a dedicated File History drive.

(c)  Copying between partitions on the same drive is indeed MUCH slower than copying between two physically different drives.   I definitely do NOT recommend structuring your systems where this would be a common task.

Bottom line => As I said above, there is NO reason to use multiple partitions from a reliability perspective.    There ARE a few reasons you may want to do it, but reliability is not one of them.
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by:rayluvs
ID: 41850208
Great! Thanx!

Sorry about "Copy", we meant when zipping or rar a file (or any tool that compresses data or manipulates data copying it into some volume etc.).  What we wanted to ask was, if by having multiple partition and doing a zip/rar within the D: drive, would it decrease the speed of the process since when finishing the zip/rar it would copy it from c: temp folder to the destination and delete from tempo folder?

Also, FYI, we use hibernation for all our computers.

Finally, if we use Hyper-V Virtual Machine, and it's residing in D: drive, what disadvantage if any would occur in a multiple partition system?
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by:rindi
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When zipping, the speed would be the same in any setup, whether another partition or not.

The Hyper-V VM's also wouldn't really suffer when on different partitions, but for better performance I'd put them on separate disks, For example if you run more than one VM simultaneously, use a separate disk for each of those VM's.
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by:garycase
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If you're creating large .ZIP/.RAR files it would indeed have to copy the result between partitions, as well as copying the data to the Temp folder while creating it.    The latter probably wouldn't be much slower, since the compression computations will somewhat "mask" the seek times involved; but the final copy would be slower than if the files were on a physically different drive.

HOWEVER, this is also true even if these files are on the same partition as the OS -- it would still be copying data from Temp to another location on the drive, so you'd still have the same seek issues ... albeit slightly shorter seeks.   I don't think it would really be an appreciable difference in performance.    The best way to eliminate those issues is to have the data on a physically separate disk -- NOT just on a separate partition.

Note, however, that ALL of these issues simply "go away" if your OS drive is an SSD :-)
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by:Gerald Connolly
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Obviously if you have two partitions on one disk then copying from one partition to the other will mean that the I/O streams will interfere with each other and slow down the transfer

This is true of all devices, SSD's with their high transfer speeds >500MB/s and high IOPS numbers will be less affected, whereas the lack of IOPSs on a spinning rust device will have a greater effect
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Author Comment

by:rayluvs
ID: 41851289
Thanx all for your input, greatly appreciated.

To close the question,
Beside the built-in disk management utility in Windows 10 for partitioning, is there another apps EE would recommend for this task of partitioning working C drives without loosing data?
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by:garycase
ID: 41851295
There's no real reason to use anything except the built-in disk management utility;  but for a bit more flexibility, Boot-It BM works VERY well.

Boot-It will allow you to shrink partitions to a smaller size than the built-in disk management will allow;  it can "slide" partitions to let you change their location on the disk; etc.    The main feature I use it for in Windows 10 is when I want to resize a partition and disk management won't let me make it as small as I want to [For some reason, disk management will often not allow you to shrink a partition nearly as much as is possible].

http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm
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by:nobus
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ID: 41851521
you can also use the free partition manager from paragon :  https://www.paragon-software.com/home/pm-express/

there are other tools like  from Easus
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by:Senior IT System Engineer
Senior IT System Engineer earned 70 total points
ID: 41851767
or use GParted: http://gparted.org/download.php

It is freeware.
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by:rayluvs
ID: 41852060
Thanx all!  Great Info!
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