General Questions on Hard Drive Partitioning

Good day,

I just got a new laptop with Windows 7 and am getting ready to set everything up. I've run into a small roadblock on the partitioning front. The machine has a single drive of around 450 gb with a C: partition and two others. One is named "System Reserved" and the other is blank, but is listed as a Recovery Partition under Status. Just wondering what these two other partitions are for and if I can utilize them. I'm looking to divide the drive in this way.

5 gb - Main Windows Partition (OS)
10 gb - Linux Partition
1 gb - Linux Swap Partition
25 gb - Normal programs
30+ gb - Games / Larger programs
30+ gb - School / Business
60 gb - Norton Ghost Images
40 gb - General backup and storage

The leftover will go into Games and Business. Any suggestions on the partition scheme are appreciated, I got the basic structure off another website.

- Thez

5 gb - Main Windows Partition (OS)
5 gb sounds too small for the main windows partition. 15 gb + or more would be good.


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First and foremost the recovery partition contains your escape from disaster - it will enable you to boot the laptop into recovery mode to restore your system partition to the state in which you bought it. If, or should I say "when" your system drive suffers a major problem or when you just want to totally clean out your system you will need that partition. You should ahve a utility on your system to burn copies of recovery dvd's from it - you should do that now - and make two copies to be kept in separate and secure places. If the hard drive totals then you will lose both your system drive and the recovery partition at a stroke!

Once you have made the recovery didks and checked to make sure they are bootable, you may, if you wish delete the recovery partition and assign the space elsewhere.

Your system drive really needs to be at least 30 - 40GB.

If you make a practice of storing all your user data and downloads in a separate partition (as I recommend) and avoid storing any user data amongst your system files (avoid using all those "My This and My That folders) you should not need more than this.

Another good practice I strongly recommend is to regularly make an image of your system drive and store it on the data drive. I use Acronis True Image for this - get a free trial from here:

Backup and restore system software and PC system utilities for Windows and Linux OSs

I keep the latest image on my data partition in the laptop and the last three on an external hard drive. If you have a problem with a bad install, driver updates or any lost files etc on your system drive you can use the image to fully recover its entire contents - op sys, apps, setting and all.

For Windows 7 OS, everybody know that it should be at least 15GB, and preferably 20GB.

Another suggestion is you'd better store your Norton Ghost image to an external hard drive.

More importantly you should backup your partition table.


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Windows 7 system requirements

If you want to run Windows 7 on your PC, here's what it takes:

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Additional requirements to use certain features:
  • Internet access (fees may apply)
  • Depending on resolution, video playback may require additional memory and advanced graphics hardware
  • Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • For some Windows Media Center functionality a TV tuner and additional hardware may be required
  • Windows Touch and Tablet PCs require specific hardware
  • HomeGroup requires a network and PCs running Windows 7
  • DVD/CD authoring requires a compatible optical drive
  • BitLocker requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive
  • Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM and an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space.
  • Music and sound require audio output
Ref: Windows 7 system requirements - Microsoft Windows

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