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Split / Partition / Or Single Drive?

By Spyke ยท 18 replies
Jan 14, 2003
  1. Hi,

    I currently have an Athlon 1.2 system running Windows 98SE, 512 mb Cas 2 ram, with a single 20gb hard drive. I'm about to get a 60gb hard drive, but haven't decided whether to have two seperate hard drives, partition the 60gb, or just have the 60gb as standard.

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of these set-ups?
    Would I gain much, bearing in mind I'm no Computer Expert ?

    I use my PC mostly for gaming and surfing (surprise) with big installs like Neverwinter Nights, Flight Simulator 2002, Medal Of Honor, Combat Flight Simulator 2 etc, most of which are up to 2 to 3 gb in size.

    Would appreciate your views, and may even understand them!:)
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Are you going to have your OS on the 20GB and the rest of your junk on the 60GB? That's what I'd do.

    Go ahead and leave your 60GB as a single partition drive, just to make it easy. I have a 43.8GB partition which is just for all my ISO's, install .exe's, and a few other things. Then I have smaller partitions for my games, swapfile, OS, music, and backup images.

    You'll do fine w/ a single partition, IMHO. Usually the main advantage of partitioning is to prevent your drive from being fragmented, as you can read up on in a sticky thread in this subforum. This is a big problem with your swapfile on the same partition as alot of other stuff.
  3. Spyke

    Spyke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Okay, so if I went with that, OS, device drivers, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, dx, goes on 20gb drive?

    Does that mean the 60gb would just be for dumping all my big game installs and media into? Would I need to install Windows, drivers etc onto the 60gb as well, or what?

  4. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    Yes, the 60GB would just be to install games on and for all the other stuff. I would install all your Windows applications into the 20GB as well. You don't need to put Windows on your 2nd HDD at all, just install it, format it, and dump :)
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Veh actually might be on to something. Having a data partition (or in this case, a data drive) is a good idea. You could also install games here as they rarely require reinstallation, even if you reinstall the OS. Keeping the OS on a seperate drive means that if you wish to reinstall, you can just format that drive and all of your user data will still be on the 60GB, untouched.
  6. Spyke

    Spyke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Okay, sounds like a good thing to do.

    Would the actual procedure just be a matter of
    installing the new drive, making sure that the PC detects it, and then formatting the 20gb and installing windows etc?

    Assuming I manage to get this done, are there any downsides?
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    that sounds fine. you fit the new drive, have the BIOS detect it.

    then you MAY with to format the new drive first, and copy anything you want to keep from the old drive to the new drive.

    then boot from windows xp CD. you will be given the opportunity to format your old drive to use for the OS. that's of course of you WANT to do a reinstallation. You don't have to. You can fit this new 60GB drive and start using it for data right now, no reinstallation of windows needed. that's just an option if you want to do it. You can add the drive, partition and format it and start using it with your existing installation if you want.
  8. Spyke

    Spyke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    Thanks Guys!

    You've been real helpful.:grinthumb

    I've got a couple days to go yet, so I'll try and read up as much on this as I can in that time, but it sounds advantageous and
    <cough!> relatively simple!

    Course, if I do that successfully, I'll want to set up a Swap File partition too... ...;)

    I'll let you know how it goes...
  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    if you set up a swap partition, try to make it at the START of the disk (i.e. before other partitions). The access times there are better.
  10. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    For a good read on partitioning, read up on this thread.

    If you have Windows already installed on your computer right now, I wouldn't bother with reinstalling it or anything, you don't have to. Just open up your case, fit your new HDD onto the same cable as your old one, make sure your old drive is set as the Master and the new one as Slave, via the jumpers between the IDE connector and the power plug, and turn your computer on. When Windows boots, if your HDD doesn't show up, don't panic! It's normal. Reboot into DOS. If you can't select that from within Windows, than insert a Win boot disk. Once your in DOS, simply type 'fdisk', and use that program to create a single partition on your new 60GB HDD. I wouldn't mess around with your old drive, the 20GB, yet from there. If you don't know anything about fdisk than a good guide can be read here. After you're done with the partition, simply reboot. Windows should detect your HDD now, and it should have "Local Disk - D:" in My Computer. Right click that, and select "Format". Once it's done, feel free to install anything you would like on there. If you currently have games on your 20GB old drive, I would backup your save game files, uninstall them, then reinstall them on your new 60GB drive to purge any incorrect registry entries. Be sure to select "D:/Program Files/..." in the game setup. Then I would move all of your application .exe's, which are usually in your My Documents folder or on the desktop, to this new drive as well.

    And well that's basically it...glad I could help :D
  11. OrEoZ

    OrEoZ TS Rookie

    well m8.. more space can't do harm :D

    i'd use the 20gb drive for windows stuff and 60gb for games / downloads / whatever

    just like other peeps said
  12. Spyke

    Spyke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47



    Well, It didn't quite work out as planned, but I'm still happy:blush:

    Having chickened out of doing it myself, I got the guy who usually adds bits and pieces to PCs to do it for me, but he preferred to simply install the 60gb instead of the 20gb, not as well as!

    So, I now have a 60gb with a 4gb partition for OS, drivers etc, and games and big files on the other 56gb section. Everything seems fine, and I did get a faster processor (Athlonxp 2000+) thrown in as well, so I cant complain!:)

    But again, thanks for your comments and advice- I will bear it in mind for "next time"!
  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    and you have a nice 20GB HDD doing nothing? I would take the plunge and fit that back in yourself...
  14. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    You paid to have this done? :eek:

    Plus, where's the partition for your swapfile?

    I don't think 4GB is enough either...My OS partition is 8GB and it has less than 2 left, just with the normal Win XP installation and all my apps. I may have a few temp files in there, but they can't be more than 1GB.
  15. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Veh, for some people, under certain circumstances, its WORTH getting someone else to fit it.

    Maybe you haven't had much experience with computer hardware. You wanna worry about fitting some expensive device yourself, or you want to get someone else to take the worry away? You just want to go home and start using your new device, you'd like to do it yourself but you are too nervous about breaking something....

    Try to remember that not everyone is as experienced as some other people are. There are things that I and others I know do on a computer that worry you I am sure, and you would need help / others to do it for you first time round.

    Furthermore, there are many things I just CAN'T do on my own, and NEED help. Certainly the last time I did assembly language I got into a right mess and a friend had a sly smile on his face as he helped me because to him the problem was SO SIMPLE.

    Try to remember that.

    Only question I have is why you were not offered the chance to retain your old HDD as well, i.e. why did the shop guy do a simple swap and not give the opportunity to run both disks at once...?
  16. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    And don't worry too much about the size of your C partition... 4GB should be enough...
    I'm dual booting w98 and w2k and have yet to use more than 4GB on that partition...

    If you want to add the 20GB harddrive you've got lying around, you should check this out...
    It's part of a Guide Tom's Hardwar did a while back... It explains a bit about how you connect harddrives...
    Here is the rest of the guide...

    Make sure you read a couple of pages from the link... It explain in detail what to do :)
  17. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    you could fill a 4GB partition with software, but you would have to SERIOUSLY install lots of stuff. Visual Studio .Net is about 1 GB normal install and Borland C++ Builder 6 is about 500MB. So you can see that it is possible to fill a 4GB partition. But lots of stuff is required.

    I would NOT be leaving the rest of that HDD as one partition, though. I would at least be splitting that into a games partition and a data partition.
  18. Spyke

    Spyke TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 47

    To answer:

    Phantasm- you're spot on: I could see myself getting into a flap doing hardware installation, so let someone else take the strain!
    Plus, the guy took the old HDD in part-ex for the job. As to why not install them both, I really don't know.:confused:I actually think he thought this would be a simpler way of getting the same net result.

    The priority for me was getting more space, and the end result is that I have loads more space (faster drive too), I didn't have to do it myself, and I do have a partition to keep all the basics seperate from my game files. True, I dont have a seperate partition for the Swap File...yet, but I feel with research THAT I could manage myself.

    As to the size of the "small" partition, I've got Win98 on it, with ALL my media players, utilities, drivers, etc, and It's just over 1.5Gb at the moment! So I think I can cope with that. (Bearing in mind, my first PC had a total of 10Gb all in!)

    I've implemented all the usual performance/memory tweaks for win98, so I hardly think the machine will be struggling for a while!:)

  19. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    so long as you are happy, that's the main thing.

    if you are interested, it would be good idea to get some experience fitting a drive, RAM and other upgrades so that if you need to do this again, you can do it yourself and not have to pay for it.
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