Should i partition my 1T hard drive. I am doing a windows 7 64bit clean install.

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Installation' started by welchs101, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. welchs101

    welchs101 New Member

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    I am not sure if i need to partition my hard drive.......should i? I have a 1T hard-drive and i am installing windows 7 64bit OS.
     
  2. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Definitely need at least two partitions - 40GB or so for the op sys and apps, the remainder for data. The data part you may also wish to further partition into different data types depending on your usage.
     
  3. welchs101

    welchs101 New Member

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    This may be a dumb question........but why do i want to partition the hard drive like this? Why not just have one large drive? When i have partitioned the hard-drive in the past with say a 40G for the system and then another for the data........what ends up happening is i fill the 40G with programs that dont ask me where to install and it kinda gets full.

    If you could just tell me why i would want to partition in the way you mentioned i will definitely learn something.
     
  4. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    No problem. It is good practice to maintain software (system and applications) on one drive and all other files - user data etc on a separate drive. To help organisation and housekeeping it may be found helpful to further sub partition the data drive for different data types. The division between software and data is much more important howevere for the following reasons:

    The system drive represents a significant amount of time and effort in terms of installed operating system, downloaded updates, applications installed, configuration, antivirus installation and updates . . . the list is endless. The bottom line is this - if/when a hard drive crash, serious malware infection, bad install/update, file corruption and a host of other problems which can cause serious/irrecoverable problems you are faced with a massive task of recovery - literally amounting to many hours, or more likely days of work. On top of that tere will be many things lost or forgotten about which will not be so easily recoverable. This can all be reduced to a few minutes work if a heirarchy of backup images of the system drive is maintained using a product such as Acronis True Image (free trial download available and not expensive to buy). I maintain the three most recent images which I update every time I make a major change/update install to the system drive. I keep these images on the data partition of my hard drive (for ease of access) and also copied to an external usb drive (in case of complete hard drive failure). None of this would be possible if the system and installed applications were just part of a great 1TB entity - the images created by Acronis are compressed and a full 40GB system drive will typically create an image file of around 25GB.

    To keep the system drive to a reasonable size you should take care to configure browsers and any other software which downloads files to store them on the data partition rather than use all those silly "My Documents, My This and My That" folders which embed data files amongst software files and is bad practice, contrary to most industry standards.

    The first time you need to run a system recovery you will consider it worth all the time and effort required to maintain a good backup regime.
     
  5. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    I've got a 750 and used 100 for system I'd use at least 60. That is plenty of free space for video editing and slipstreaming some things make huge temp files.. It' nice to reload system without having to reload all of the data you accumulate.
    Joe
     
  6. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Agreed - 40GB is a minimum really an anything in the range 40 - 100 is probably reasonable subject to usage and regular cleanup to mop up temporary files etc.
     
  7. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Agree with Pat and Joe. Set your system partition to 100gb. Plenty of room to grow, and if you fill that you must be a software addict!!
    Set one partition as your "on board" backup/image drive, do what you want with the rest.
     
  8. fjgold

    fjgold New Member

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    Another thing, you state that some programs don't ask where to install.
    I've found that most do nowdays but some aren't obvious about it.
    Win 7 also makes it easy to move the default location of your usual My Pictures, My documents etc. folders to another drive or partition.

    I make do with 24 GB for Win 7 32 bit and use only half of that.
    My libraries are on a separate NTFS partition along with most of the programs installed.
    Many of my programs are standalone programs as well.

    I also have a Fat32 partition that contains my MP3 files and is used to share data between Windows and 5 Linux distros.

    When I make a system image (Clonezilla) of my C: drive I'm only making an image of the 13 GB of used space.

    The NTFS and Fat32 partitions I perform incremental backups to an external drive using Retrospective periodically.
     
  9. welchs101

    welchs101 New Member

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    Thanks all!

    After reading all the inputs i have lots of questions about "backing up" and restoring system. Lets say i had partitioned my hard drive as you guys suggested. I have a 100G partition for my system (c:\....drive) and i created two additional partitions each about 400G. Lets say my system crashes or i get a virus or something. What do i do now? Try to be as exact as possible ......i am not a newbie but treat me like one for now..........i am unclear as to how to restore my system.
     
  10. fjgold

    fjgold New Member

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    OK you asked for it. LOL.

    There are many programs that will create a system image that can restore a computers OS the exact condition it was in at the moment
    the image was created.
    Some of these programs cost money and some like my choice are free.

    Clonezilla can create an image of your 100GB OS partition and because it only copies the used space the resulting image is relatively small.
    It also uses lossless compression to make the image even smaller.

    It is a live CD\USB flash that you boot to instead of your OS.
    It runs in memory only and won't affect your HDD unless you perform a restore.

    Since you are doing a clean install this is the perfect time to make a system image

    If you create an image right after installing Win 7 and after performing all updates, installing all your programs and making sure everything
    is running OK you will never have to reinstall Win 7 again on this machine.

    You would simply restore that image and be back to the point you created the image.
    Of course you would have to do updates to catch up to the present updates.

    You also should make periodic images every month at least.

    Keep the initial image and at least three recent images either off disk (external drive preferred) or on your data partition or both.

    Some numbers, a 100 GB partition with 20 GB used by Win 7 will result in an image of about 10 GB with compression.

    It will take about 25 minutes to create and restores take half of that.

    The image can be saved directly to the external drive or other partition (not the same partition as the imaged one).

    The latest stable .iso here.

    Clonezilla - Downloads

    The amd one is for 64 bit processors, the i486 one will work with all hardware and the i686 is optimized for multicore processors.

    The clonezilla has a wealth of info on use etc. plus I have written a guide that is more comprehensive posted at another forum.

    A guide to using Clonezilla - Scot's Newsletter Forums

    You data partition, since it isn't bootable can be simply backed up by copying the files\folders to another location like an external drive.

    I you don't have a USB external drive you should get one, or if you have an unused drive laying about get an external enclosure and use that spare drive.

    USB 3 is getting more prevalent and if your computer is a desktop an adapter card can be installed to give you a couple on USB 3 ports.
    USB3 external drives are available that read\write much faster when connected to a USB3 port.

    Feel free to PM me.
     
    #10 fjgold, Jan 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2011
  11. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    And just to confuse you.... :)

    I use Macrium Reflect (the free version).

    My C: drive contains 35gb of stuff. Win7, Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS3, Acrobat 9 Pro, Office '10 and then a bunch of the usual suspects.

    That compresses down to under 15gb and takes under 9 minutes.

    You burn a Macrium rescue iso file to CD disk.

    If your system decides to go bazoomney, (this is slightly simplified version!!) you reboot the PC with the rescue disc loaded, it starts up automatically then you point it to the back up image you wish to restore and off it goes. Roughly 15 minutes and your back in business.
     
  12. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    And just a bit more input . . .
    I've used Acronis True Image for years - the only one mentioned here which isn't free but I believe you can't cut corners for backing up and Acronis TI IMHO is the best. You run the program under windows and create an image which will typically be about 50% or so of the actual space used on the drive being imaged. You can store this in a partition of its own on the same hard drive. This will give you the easiest and quickest way to recover from things like malware, bad installs, corrupted files etc. To be 100% safe you should also store the image on an external drive in case you suffer a total hard drive failure. To restore the drive you would also run the program under Windows to take everything on your system drive back to the date of the image.

    In the case of a hard drive failure Acronis has a tool to burn a boot dvd to recover your image from an external drive to a brand new hard drive.

    Other facilities in Acronis enable you to "mount" an image file as a virtual drive and recover individual files or folders.

    All the packages recommended here will do similarly and we each have our favourites which we have become familiar with. You can try them all for free and see which one suits you. Just pick one of them, use it to maintain a regular backup regime and the first time you need it you'll find it worth all the time and effort testing and maintaining it - and you won't be joining all those posting on forums, pulling their hair out about losing their op sys, having to reinstall everything and sitting faced with an unbootable system :)
     
  13. fjgold

    fjgold New Member

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    Well Clonezilla can do all that and it is not cutting corners.
    I own a Acronis TI license and I don't even use it.
     
  14. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    I like the Acronis too. I make my image by booting from rescue disk. It runs from a Linux app on the CD and Windows isn't actually running.
    Joe
     
  15. welchs101

    welchs101 New Member

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    Well, i definitely learned something in this thread.

    So to recap in my words (correct me if i get this wrong):
    I create a partition for my hard drive say 100G in size.
    I install my OS onto this partition and maybe a few applications.
    I run software like clonezilla or acronis to "image" my 100G partition. I guess i would save this image on an external USB type hard drive or DVD depending on size.
    If my computer gets infected with a virus or goes crazy then i can just install my "imaged" files via clonezilla or acronis and NOT have to reinstall everything?

    Questions:
    ?If my system does go "crazy" and i need to re-install system image.........lets say my 100G partition using clonezilla reduces down to 20G.......i cant fit this on a dvd i have to use an external drive. So how do i boot up from my external drive to install the image to my 100G partition?

    ?If i have a virus.........and i wipe my 100G and install my imaged files using clonezilla or acronis..........how sure am i that i removed the virus? Cant a virus be some place other than the system files? Hope this is not a dumb question.
     
  16. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    I initially make the backup to another partition on the hard drive - this is quicker and easier to access when needed for recovery. The only time it won't be any use is if your hard drive totals - then it's not only your system partition which goes but everything else with it. This is where you'll need the externally stored one. You really do need an external usb drive for this - they are so cheap now - just buy a 2.5 drive and usb caddy from ebay or somewhere. If and when you need to recover from the external drive you just boot from the boot dvd created as mentioned earlier and run a recovery from the external hard drive to the new one. I'd maintain a second external hard drive to also back up any important data - I know - a bit more expense but just google for "I've lost ten years worth of family pics" and you may think it's worth it! I've got all my data (decades of software development and personal files) replicated across my desktop, laptop and notebook - and a fourth copy on an external usb drive!

    On the virus issue, it's true to say that they can reside other than in files but restoring your system from an image will wipe the vast majority of any malware and in the worst case scenario you could run a complete disk wipe and repartition - then run the recovery - it will still be infinitely quicker and easier than reinstalling.
     
    #16 patcooke, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  17. welchs101

    welchs101 New Member

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    thanks for the info.

    This boot dvd you mentioned. How to create it and then how to use external drive ...........you would need to use both if the "image" is larger than what a dvd could store........right? Learning alot here.
     
  18. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    In Acronis the boot dvd is created from a tools option after you've installed the software. (I burned two - great believer in Sod's Law when it comes to computers!). As system drives consume increasingly more space dvd's have become less viable as a backup media so I would certainly use a usb hard drive. Booting the recovery software from the dvd will load the image from the external hard drive.
     
  19. fjgold

    fjgold New Member

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    Before spending money for Acronis please read or re-read the guide I linked to earlier it explains Clonezilla in depth.

    Both programs will do what you want, Acronis costs $49.95 US while Clonezilla is 100% free.
    Clonezilla "cuts no corners". Just because something is free doesn't mean it can't work as well or better than a
    paid product.
    Firefox and Opera and Chrome are free and I think many will agree that these browsers are worthy
    replacements for IE.

    Free does not necessarily mean shoddy.

    Clonezilla is also being actively developed and updated.

    Clonezilla is burned to a CD and run from the CD by booting to it so there is no having to create a separate
    boot disk like Acronis requires.

    Save images to a USB external HDD or other partition not a DVD.

    Once you use Clonezilla a few times it will become second nature and it is very fast.

    I can image all 6 OS partition (Win 7 and 5 Linux distros) in about an hour.
    This includes performing a restore of each, to prove the images while still in Clonezilla.
    Clonezilla is GUI so no command line experience is needed.
     
    #19 fjgold, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  20. welchs101

    welchs101 New Member

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    thanks to all of you.

    Just a follow up question....hope its not too redundent.

    If i use clonezilla..........clonezilla is burned to a CD.
    If i have any problems boot up off of CD. Clonezilla will then ask me what info and where to put it? Is this right? The data on my exernal HD........can it be just in a folder or does it need anything special?



    ?I am assuming the burned clonezilla is an "iso file".....is this right? Any good free software that will create/burn clonezilla to cd?
     

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