Why Partition More Than Once

By sol1109 · 7 replies
Jan 29, 2009
  1. Building a new PC with two WD5000AAKS 500GB SATA drives. Had Win XP format as one partition but I was wondering if there are any good reasons NOT to do that. I had planned on using the second drive with Acronis True Image as a image backup.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    For how you are intending to use it, I think 1 partition is fine.

    Most people can't do that though, so multiple partitions helps because:
    * If your Windows gets hosed, you can clean reinstall Windows and leave all your media and other files untouched.
    * More partitions keeps data "contained" to a portion of the drive physically. So fragmentation can't go putting parts of the files large distances away. This may have been more of a concern back in the 9x days than now, I'm not real sure anymore..

    Those are the 2 major ones I can think of. Out of habit I still put programs on D partition, but I can't think of too much of a good reason to do that, although it does serve as a reminder what programs I had installed so I can get them reinstalled right away.

    What you might consider while everything is still fresh, is dropping off say... 2 gigs off your main C. Then also doing that on your 2nd hd (maybe you don't have to, but it might make backups easier if both partitions are identical size). If you do this, then you can have a 2 gig swap partition on your second disk which will speed things up a bit. If you can do this, put that 2 gig as the first partition, and the large one after that.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,122   +982

    Partitioning vs Backup design

    "Divide and conquer" is a good technique. Besides fragmentation mentioned above,
    multiple partitions also assist in planning for backup/restore.
    Considering that there are three primary types of data
    1. The bootable OS
    2. The shrink-wrapped software you purchase and install
    3. and then the user data
    Each of these lends towards separate partitions. This then facilitates backup schedules like
    • Forget the OS partition; just reinstall
    • Forget the Application partition also; you have the media if needed
    • AH! You need to protect the User Data
    Media requirements for the User Data backups will be much less and the backups will run much faster (less source data to be processed).

    This design works extremely well for ALL OS systems, but due to the Windows Registry being on the boot volume with the OS, special considerations for backups of the registry files are necessary.
  4. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    I am with JO!

    Additionally smaller partitions can use smaller clusters and allow more usable disk space.

    If a severe disk error occurs on a single drive it is possible to loose all. With partitions it is possible that the error is confined to a single partition.

    You could still loose the errored partition but the others would likely still be there.

    I always put at least 4 partitions. 1 for OS, 2 for music general data and downloads 3 For storing Backups/Images etc. 4 misc.

    Easier to defrag a particular drive!

  5. N1nJa

    N1nJa TS Rookie Posts: 20

    Patitioning is okay

    Partitioning is okay, but I would recomend using an external hardrive. They are easy to use, small and overall a good and convienent alternative to partitions
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    What? The dude is using his 2nd internal as a backup. That is more convienient than an external.
  7. sol1109

    sol1109 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    1. I thought NTFS did not experience the cluster and fragmentation issues to the extent FAT32 did?

    2. When installing software I have always allowed installation to happen in Express mode so the programs seem to group under My Programs on C.

    3. When using programs like Word and Excel I have always allowed storage in the default My Documents area that is also on Drive C:

    My current system has two 160GB drives. One, (C) I use for most everything and is only 1/3 full. The second drive, (D) I have exclusively used for video editing and runs about ½ full. I use a 120GB external to do an image backup with Acronis of drive (C) and currently do not back up (D) due to a lack of space on the external drive. By installing two 500GB drives in my new system I had planned to place all my files on one and use the second as a backup image. I know this starts to sound like I could do some form of RAID to accomplish this but I have no experience at this time with using RAID but I did buy a motherboard that can support it if I choose.

    Ultimately I will get an external network drive for backup that I plan to place in a protected location in the event of fire or severe storm damage.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,122   +982

    Multiple INTERNAL drives is preferrible to multiple partitions
    as it improves performance AND avoids any hardware issue from preventing ALL access.

    Partitioning is cheaper; it only requires time and zero $$ :)

    An EXTERNAL is useful for seldomly accessed data, eg backups or in cases
    where there's no space internally.
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