Program files; on separate partition or on separate drive?

By zzmster · 6 replies
May 10, 2006
  1. Having read the "Radified Partitioning Strategies...." thread I have finally come a long way in understanding the need and essence of proper and smart partitioning of drives...(oo how I lived in the dark ages)

    However I can't figure out where to place the more demanding part of the program file folder; Should it be on the second partition of drive 1 (first beeing OS) or the second partition of drive 2 (first beeing operating system page file).

    It seems logical in some way to put it on the second drive, as far as efficiency goes; drive 1 runs OS while drive 2 is smoothly running Programs, but this I am not sure of :(. I would definately like get the most out of Photoshop (working 100 mb files) - and Premiere in the near future.

    Any tips will be highly appreciated !


    Asus P5-AD2
    P4 3.4
    1 Ghz corsair 667

    Drive 1: 74 GB IDE
    Drive 2: 74 GB IDE

    Drive 3: 120 GB Sata (file dump)
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You should differentiate between programs themselves and the files you are working on. The program files are loaded only once - when you start it up (or when you activate some subsystem), your documents are accessed more often - every time you save or load them.

    How much are you going to use that swap file? If not that much (have plenty of RAM), then I would put the PS scratch files on the second disk with the program itself installed on the OS disk. PS end files (the images themselves) to the second partition on the first disk.
  3. zzmster

    zzmster TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Nodsu, I'm reeding up on the subject and getting a bit lost in the proces, it seems there are as many concepts as there are users; a quote from a power user goes;

    "Frankly, I never really understood why people would want to install programs to a separate partition on the same physical hard disc. It won't boost performance, as the hard disc head would have to bounce back and forth on the physical hard disc just as much as when the programs are installed to the system partition. Also, fragmentation issues are more the result of writing to/from personal files that you create with the programs, not of the program/system files themselves being changed (...)"

    I am not sure about the swap file (beeing new to the subject) but for now I think it will get its place on the harddrive. I have read threads on not using it at all if you have enough memory (2GB +) but like I said, time and experience will tell.

    "The program files are loaded only once - when you start it up"
    - does this mean that when programs are running the drive containing them is basically idle? Forgive me for not understanding, please explain.

    At present I'm still figuring out how to best partition the drives to get maximum output, what I've come up with is this:

    Physical Disc One - 74 GB IDE:

    10 GB System C: (no larger then 30 GB, no smaller then 8 GB)
    10 GB Secundary System D: (Vista)
    64 GB Unallocated E:

    Physical Disc Two – 74 GB IDE:

    2 GB operating system page file F:
    15 GB program files G: (120 % GB of average used size)
    57 GB back up from C: H:

    Physical Disc Three - 120 GB Sata:

    80 GB photo files I:
    40 GB audio files J:

    Still tweaking on it though, but does it sound right ?
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The "power user" comment.. Windows itself generates and alters a lot of files, so you get severe fragmentation on the system partition even if your documents are somewhere else. Yes, the disk heads will be doing the same or even more work, since they will have to bounce between the OS and program data that can be far apart.
    Also, not all programs store their settings and data in the user's profile directory or the registry (all those Winamp and Firefox plugins you collected for example). When you decide (or have to) to reinstall, it is good to have the program directories intact so you can salvage what you need.

    Yes, when you run a program, most of it gets loaded immediately. The executable, needed libraries, data files etc. After that the disk is idle until you do something. A la you press F1 and the help files need to be accessed or you load a level in the game.

    You disk layout is reasonable.. The program launch times will be longer in low memory conditions - the swap and the programs are sitting on the same drive. Then again, the second drive is the best place to put the swap to.
  5. URANium238

    URANium238 TS Rookie Posts: 32

    Just a quick question:

    I guess having one physical drive with two partitions makes no sense (doesn't change anything with system speed)?
  6. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    It is still a good idea both speed- and otherwise.

    A dedicated swap partition is faster, also a dedicated partition for changing content (downloads, documents) keeps fragmentation away from your system partition.

    It is easy to reinstall OS - just format the OS partition and all your data on the secondary partition is kept intact (no need to make backup copies). And of course, in case something happens (a virus or a Stupid User) to one of the filesystems, you still have the rest of your data.
  7. ciachoski

    ciachoski TS Rookie


    Hi Ziemowit
    Znalazlem cie przez internet - mam nadzieje ze jeszcze zyjesz.
    Sluchaj stalo sie cos strasznego.
    Nie wiem dlaczego nie odpisujesz na maile.
    Prosze skontaktuj sie ze mna.

Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...