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How (and Why) To Partition Your Hard Drive

#1 User is offline   PCWorld 

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:04 AM

Post your comments for How (and Why) to Partition Your Hard Drive here
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#2 User is offline   PCMan4ever 

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:24 AM

I just have two problems with the way that Windows/Microsoft do things with drive maintenance.

1) Why do the still put totals in megabytes? Whom still uses a drive under 1 gigabyte anymore?

2) Why does it takes so slow to format a drive? Under Windows 7 installing a custom installation does not really format the drive the way that XP and Vista do when installing a new os.
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#3 User is offline   LindaA 

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 07:18 AM

All this partitioning business sounds very "geeky." I'm no "geek," myself, so I wouldn't DARE attempt it. I went into my Windows XP "Disk Management" section, and all my drives were labeled "Healthy." I want to KEEP them that way.
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#4 User is offline   canelopejones64 

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 12:39 PM

Partitioning an External HD like WD My Book 500GB is very tricky...I did...tried to anyway...now I have 7.83GB Healthy space and 457.93GB Unallocated space?? Please tell me what does 'unallocated' space mean?? I've I ruined my WD 500GB HD? I sure hope not! Thank you for any help you can give me...Di
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#5 User is offline   GaTex7 

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 05:00 PM

unallocated space is merely space that you have set aside and not specified what to do with it yet
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#6 User is offline   oldschoolh4ck3r 

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 09:11 PM

Partitioning is way overrated. Unless you run into a situation where Windows and/or your hardware cannot handle one single partition (for example, if the total size is too big - rare nowadays), it doesn't make sense. If you seriously want to protect your data, BACK IT UP. Using multiple partitions won't help if the drive itself crashes. In my experience, through all my years of computing, I'd say that partitioning, dual-booting, and so forth, only serve to create a big hassle.
---
Abort, Retry, Epic Fail? _
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#7 User is offline   MLStrand56 

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 10:44 PM

Why partition anything? Huge HD's are cheap today. At the very least, use 2 HD's.

C:\Program Drive
D:\Data Drive.

The OS goes on the Program Drive.

Want more Data Security? Install 2 matching data HD's in a RAID 1 configuration. Then if one of the RAID Drives crashes, ALL of your data is safe on the other RAID Drive. Then you simply replace the dead HD with one of identical size, & the RAID system will rebuild all your data onto the new drive. It's too simple!!!

MLStrand56
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#8 User is online   razinbrand 

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 02:41 AM

On a Dell XPS with an XP OS that originally came with two RAID1 configured HDs, can I install a third HD (the XPS will allow me to do so), configure the two data drives to RAID1 and leave the OS HD to itself?
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#9 User is offline   RubenMTZ 

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 09:37 PM

View PostPCMan4ever, on 06 January 2010 - 11:24 AM, said:

I just have two problems with the way that Windows/Microsoft do things with drive maintenance.

1) Why do the still put totals in megabytes? Whom still uses a drive under 1 gigabyte anymore?

2) Why does it takes so slow to format a drive? Under Windows 7 installing a custom installation does not really format the drive the way that XP and Vista do when installing a new os.


I imagine why they do this(even though it DOES get annoying) is so users can be more accurate/precise. Making a 1 GB partition for some files, and making a 1.5 GB partition is different, especially when you're limited on disc space. And while most users aren't in this predicament, it's much easier for Microsoft to just put it in MB; after all, most people don't really mind.
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#10 User is offline   RubenMTZ 

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 09:38 PM

View PostMLStrand56, on 11 January 2010 - 10:44 PM, said:

Why partition anything? Huge HD's are cheap today. At the very least, use 2 HD's.

C:\Program Drive
D:\Data Drive.

The OS goes on the Program Drive.

Want more Data Security? Install 2 matching data HD's in a RAID 1 configuration. Then if one of the RAID Drives crashes, ALL of your data is safe on the other RAID Drive. Then you simply replace the dead HD with one of identical size, & the RAID system will rebuild all your data onto the new drive. It's too simple!!!

MLStrand56


Oh, forgive us poor bastards for not being able to dish out money for a HD at will.
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#11 User is offline   George007 

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:07 AM

I have two 500GB internal hard discs installed in a Raid 1 configuration. I also have an external 500 GB hard disc that I use for weekly backups using Windows 7 software. I also have an external 1TB hard disc that I do a complete backup using Macrium Reflect software. If my "C" drive crashes, what is my best bet for recovery. Prevous questions to Gateway Computers, the maker of my computer, failed to answer that question.
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#12 User is online   thecreator 

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  Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:38 AM

View Postcanelopejones64, on 11 January 2010 - 12:39 PM, said:

Partitioning an External HD like WD My Book 500GB is very tricky...I did...tried to anyway...now I have 7.83GB Healthy space and 457.93GB Unallocated space?? Please tell me what does 'unallocated' space mean?? I've I ruined my WD 500GB HD? I sure hope not! Thank you for any help you can give me...Di


Hi canelopejones64,

When one first see an External Hard Drive, you want to partition it, but External Hard Drives should not be partitioned.

The purpose of partitioning the Hard Drive, is to seperate the operating system from the Data partition or for dual-booting your computer. It isn't for backing up of the operating system. You want to backup to another Hard Drive or External Hard Drive. By placing your My Documents Folder and its sub-folders as well as the Desktop's Briefcase Folder on a seperate partition, reducing the amount of time it takes to make a backup of your Documents folder.

However, you do want to keep a partition image of your Hard Drive's operating system on the same Hard Drive and a copy on an external Hard Drive! Why? a partition image that exists on the same Hard Drive, makes restoring a good Hard Drive's operating system fast. Storing on another Hard Drive, makes replacement of the existing Hard Drive easier than without one.

Just my opinion.
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#13 User is offline   GOED 

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 06:02 PM

@PCMAN
Unless you are trying to delete and make sure no data is available on the drive, you can pick Quick Format - after right clicling on the drive.
In my case a 250GB intenal laptop drive takes about 15 seconds for a quick format.

Windows XP- gave a DOS screen from which you could - Delete Partions - Re-Create Partions - and Format partions.
If you deleted a partion and wanted to start totally fresh, you would be given the option prior to installation to format the partion as NTFS,
but I don't remember, that XP and Vista formats the drive if it is alreary formatted, unless you choose to - via the page where the OS ask you
to which partion you want to install, and then choosing Options and Format. Again it is a choice not an automatic formatting.
Windows 7 gives you the same choice.

@LINDA
It is great that all your partions read HEALTHY - but you have to understand that mechanical drives could fail, you wrote - "all my partions read healthy"
you have more then one. The index file telling the operating system what you have in different partitions is located at the very front of each formatted partiton
which as well as on the C drive so that the OS know where to find them, but if the drive goes south due to mechanical problems you are in trouble and it is the reason why multiple partitions for different purposes is a good thing to have.
For example in my case, a laptop - I use 2 partitions - C for the os and applications and D for all my personal files.

Since I test a lot of different software. Windows 7 gives me the ability to make 2 images - An image with only the Operating system and programs I would need
just to start using my computer in case it goes south. And an image with the OS, All programs, and All programs that access data pointing to the D partition.
That way, when restoring from the back up IMAGES - I can restore any which way I want.
With 7 I can create all type of IMAGES TO RESTORE TO.
-------Abviously, your IMAGES should reside on an External Hard Drive---------------------
And a simple back up to External Drive of all your PERSONAL DATA alone - It may sound as if I am over doing things but it has been a time and life saver for me.

@canelope
You created a 7 GB partiton and you left the rest un-used - Now that you know what UNALOCATED means, and since i am concluding that your personal data is
in your C drive intact - You should re-partition the External drive for better use.
If you are using Windows 7, you can create images of your system if it is at this point working correctly - see my points above to Linda - but you should
defenetely find a better use for all that storage then just simply leaving it Un-used.

@oldschool,
I agree with you, if the partitions are being done within your computer's main drive - But partitioning an External Drive for the purposes I mentioned above
is very helpful.

@george007
Do you have an External Drive - IF YES - CREATE CLEAN IMAGES - of your entire system through Windows 7 - When you get to the Back up and Restore page, look for a link - CREATE A SYSTEM IMAGE.
Images are different then Back ups - Windows 7 can create INCREMENTAL back ups - meaning only the new data from the last back up will be save to the back up.
An image copies your entire drive including OS, Applications and Data.
If you created two partitions C and D no problem - I would conclude that under this setup all your data is on D - Therefore, any new personal file you create, modify or download would be save to D - As a result an image of both C and D weekly will RESTORE EVERYTHING.

AND LAST TO PCWORLD -
I DID NOT SEE THE ARTICLE ADDRESSING RE-DIRECTION OF FOLDERS.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
For those who partition your internal drive in 2 - OS and DATA.
Once you move your PERSONAL DATA to the D partition - you should point your personal folders to D - otherwise, your folders on C would be empty.
Right click on the folders you want to POINT to D - Select the TAB - LOCATION and just put the letter D at the beginning of the string.
Windows will pop up 2 windows - 1 - Confirm you want to point the folder to D and 2 - Asking if you want all the files to be moved to D so that Windows
Explorer do not duplicate the same Folder when viewing your folder structure through Windows Explorer. In other words you would end up with
My Documents - My Documents on the folder list or Tree.

Thank you all
G
Create





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#14 User is offline   catilley1092 

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 07:55 PM

All right, we've discussed partitioning, and I've learned a little more. It is Important to do this. Now, most of us knows how to shrink a partition to the left to make room for a new OS or other things. How do you shrink a Windows 7 partition to the RIGHT, so that XP Pro can be installed as a dual boot? I've yet to have this explained to me. It's a lot of trouble to install two OS's, when you only want to install one.
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#15 User is offline   vladan3101 

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 03:30 PM

I wanted to partition the 750GB drive on a new Dell XPS9000 (Win7) with an eye on getting a smaller SSD HD later on for OS and apps, but turns out I cannot shrink C: beyond about half of the original size b/c of the unmovable files -- I have less than 100GB total on C: now and still cannot shrink under 400GB. Any suggestion as to how to move the "unmovable" files so that I can shrink the original partition for the OS and Programs to something much smaller?
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#16 User is offline   ChristopherPerkins 

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:57 PM

View PostMLStrand56, on 11 January 2010 - 10:44 PM, said:

Why partition anything? Huge HD's are cheap today. At the very least, use 2 HD's.

C:\Program Drive
D:\Data Drive.

The OS goes on the Program Drive.

Want more Data Security? Install 2 matching data HD's in a RAID 1 configuration. Then if one of the RAID Drives crashes, ALL of your data is safe on the other RAID Drive. Then you simply replace the dead HD with one of identical size, & the RAID system will rebuild all your data onto the new drive. It's too simple!!!

MLStrand56


small partitions make sense if you want to have many many small files: so why not use short stroking? for larger files, partitions are not practical because the cluster size is larger; in other words, it takes more space for the same amount of data; this is one reason (there others but this is one of the main reasons to my knowledge) why partitioned drives have less available space to write, effectively shrinking availability of space to write data.

true, a RAID-1 array will create redundancies; but, the installation process of the RAID-1 config is not a walk in the park. most likely, the hard drives will need to undergo whole disk partition that wipes the file sector. on top of that, next, if you haven't preserved the integrity of Master Boot Record (MBR) on drive (in first sector of hard drive, on the partition table), the hdd will need to be repaired, if it can be (use a utility that has MBR function). if you do a whole hard drive partition and then try to connect it to a RAID-1, you need some extra time and patience. this is not an in 'n' out operation. n.b. the recovery drive contains mirrored data and is not a reliable form of data back up and recovery (especially in RAID-0 config); this means that if you want to make the recovery drive a master drive, you need to trick the MBR in the hard drive schematic. remember that all this only applies if you have a hardware concern only. converting the recovery drive to the master is time-consuming and lots of downtime for accessibility of data. you must get recovery to identify its own MBR and bypass this area since RAID-1 makes it a recovery drive and does not seem to know to make it a master drive when master drive is missing, deteriorated, etc.

if you have a current RAID-1 config (2 drives, etc.) and you want to disassociate the two, you'll need to convert RAID-1 to a single drive by identifying the 128 sectors of the MBR and move them elsewhere, because this is what RAID-1 reads immediately and prefigs in configuration and launch. now, you have liberated your recovery drive so that it can function as a master drive. Enter System BIOS Setup <F2> and go to Advanced > Drive Configuration > and be sure to have RAID selected. now, the trick is to create a new RAID set by entering Intel Matrix Storage Manager option ROM: press <Ctrl-I> in order to enter RAID Configuration Utility; select option 1: Create RAID Volume. Enter volume name. Select RAID 1. Select drives to be used in RAID array. Select strip size. Enter size of the volume (if you create a volume less than the max volume size, you can create a second RAID array on remaining portion) and press <Enter>. Press <Enter> again to Create Volume. Exit Option ROM user interface. then, hopefully, there is articulation.

whatever the case, just do your research and you should be okay!
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#17 User is offline   imapcgeek 

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  Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:24 PM

Quote

Why partition anything? Huge HD's are cheap today. At the very least, use 2 HD's. C:\Program Drive D:\Data Drive. The OS goes on the Program Drive. Want more Data Security? Install 2 matching data HD's in a RAID 1 configuration. Then if one of the RAID Drives crashes, ALL of your data is safe on the other RAID Drive. Then you simply replace the dead HD with one of identical size, & the RAID system will rebuild all your data onto the new drive. It's too simple!!! MLStrand56

I do agree that partitioning is not a viable method of backup. However, this article is not describing a method of backup. It is describing a method of running multiple operating systems on the same computer, of which partitioning is a necessary step. Backup is just a highly suggested prerequisite for the partitioning.
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#18 User is offline   imapcgeek 

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  Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:24 PM

Quote

Why partition anything? Huge HD's are cheap today. At the very least, use 2 HD's. C:\Program Drive D:\Data Drive. The OS goes on the Program Drive. Want more Data Security? Install 2 matching data HD's in a RAID 1 configuration. Then if one of the RAID Drives crashes, ALL of your data is safe on the other RAID Drive. Then you simply replace the dead HD with one of identical size, & the RAID system will rebuild all your data onto the new drive. It's too simple!!! MLStrand56

I do agree that partitioning is not a viable method of backup. However, this article is not describing a method of backup. It is describing a method of running multiple operating systems on the same computer, of which partitioning is a necessary step. Backup is just a highly suggested prerequisite for the partitioning.
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#19 User is offline   imapcgeek 

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  Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:25 PM

Whoops, looking at wrong page. Sorry.
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#20 User is offline   sidmo 

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  Posted 14 February 2013 - 01:36 PM

1-What kind of data one may put in the 'D' drive?I may give you an example:If I download a program from internet, and I am not sure about that if it may infect the hard,is it a good idea to save it in 'D' or a drive especially for such programs like 'F'-instead of using 'C' or 'D' drives?
2-Is it reasonable to have 3 or 4 drives if you have 2-3 different field of activities and put every type of data in each drive?
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