Win7 Partitioning

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Hardware' started by billyc99, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. billyc99

    billyc99 Honorable Member

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    My new HDD is a 1T WD Caviar Green. I have installed Win7 Home professional. All is running well. Is it recommended that a large drive such as this be partitioned? thanks for your time. Cheers and Beers
     
  2. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Definitely. The system drive should be used only for the operating system, associated settings, files and installed applications programs. All user data should be stored on a separate physical drive or partition. The storage of data embedded amongst system files encouraged (wrongly in my opinion) by the creation of all those "my this" and "my that" folders under Windows is bad practice. For a start, when you need to run a system recovery/reinstall you either lose all your data or you spend ages searching for it and trying to copy it to other media. It also creates a huge drive which becomes increasingly difficult to back up. The system drive needs to be not much more than about 40G unless you have some very large apps installed. The remainder of the drive can be partitioned to store data and backups of your system drive.

    I also recommend use of a package like Acronis True Image to make regular backup images of the system drive which can be stored on the data drive so that as and when you need to recover your system (from a bad install, serious malware or other problem) you can do so in just minutes complete with all updates, applications etc.

    You need also to be aware that in the case of the drive itself failing then you should have all important data (including system images) copied onto an external hard drive.

    I reckon the above is a minimum for any system which contains any important data and if you want to avoid spending hours and days recovering a system which has died on you.

    If you're not already aware of it there is a nice free partition manager download available from easeus:

    http://www.partition-tool.com/
     
    #2 patcooke, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  3. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    I agree I've got a 750 G drive and partitioned it with 100G for OS and the rest for storage. That leaves plenty of room for system restore, or any temp files for video editing defrag or anything else. It's a big drive so there is no sense in being stingy and using 30 G then find out it's to small and mess around trying to expand it.
    Joe
     
  4. billyc99

    billyc99 Honorable Member

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    Patcooke, JoeS, thanks for the tips. Yes, i can see now why i should partition. I'll do before i begin adding programs etc. Thanks again, cheers and beers.
     
  5. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    It really is best to partition BEFORE installing the operating system. While partitioning programs are good, they are not fool proof or without risks. If this were me, since this is a new install, I would start over. I would partition the drives and then re-install Windows.

    Understand that using partitions requires a lot more attention for the life of the computer. Programs notoriously default to be installed on the boot drive under Program Files. So you every time you install a new program, you must change the defaults. I always recommend the "custom" install anyway so you can see all the extra fluff the installer tries to dump on you, and then opt out, so during this process, if the programmer was not lazy, you "should" be able to change the install location too.

    On single drive systems, I always use 3 partitions. I use 50Gb for C drive where I install the OS and hardware drivers only. Then I assign all but 6Gb of the remainder for D drive where I install all my programs. I also change all the OS defaults for Downloads, Documents, and temporary files to D drive. Then in the remaining 6Gb, E Drive, I set the Page File to there. I let Windows manage it since it has the whole 6Gb to itself.

    Note 50Gb for the OS and all hardware drivers is more than enough. I have Win7 Pro 64-bit and with drivers, I'm using 22.2Gb.
     
  6. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    Installing software to a third partition is a waste of time to me. If you reinstall windows you have to reinstall the software anyway because registry entries are gone.
    Joe
     
  7. TorrentG

    TorrentG Banned

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    It's not different than a default scenario.

    If you do an upgrade, all the programs remain installed.

    If you do a custom install (aka clean install), everything starts from scratch.

    Changing where programs are installed to doesn't affect anything with respect to that.
     
  8. patcooke

    patcooke Microsoft MVP
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    Must admit I keep op sys, installed apps and associated files and settings all on the system drive. It seems more sensible to me to have installed programs installed on the same drive as their associated dll's and registry entries.
     
  9. Digerati

    Digerati Fantastic Member
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    Since that appears to be a comment to my post above, note I said above the only thing on the 3rd partition is the page file.

    But at any rate, your comment is not really true for most applications. If you take Office, for example and you previously had it on a 2nd, or 3rd partition partition, or perhaps the 3rd partition of a 2nd drive, when you restart the install process if it does not find the previous installation you simply point the installer to the previous location where it will find the installed files and simply make the necessary modifications to the Registry. It will even then keep all your customizations, and saved files in tact and takes a few seconds total, as opposed to a complete install - AND, it will have all the critical updates installed.

    Also, many programs do not "install" they are simply saved to disk, and accessed by a shortcut in your Start Menu, Desktop, or Taskbar. In those cases, all you need to do is create a new shortcut - you don't have to reinstall anything.

    Reinstalling Windows is always (or should be always) a last resort effort because that instantly puts you months, if not years behind in critical security updates. So while it is good to plan for it, it is not normal, or typical for Windows (since XP) to ever need a complete reinstall. So my point is, since a complete reinstall is such a rarity, I see little point in having that remote possibility dictate everything else, including my everyday activities.

    If you are going to keep all installed applications, associated files and settings on the boot drive, I see no reason to partition at all. And considering the reliability of today's drive, and the ease of keeping a current backup handy, that's not a problem. Note if you keep all your documents and saved data somewhere under My Documents, it is a simple matter of copying the whole folder to a backup location.

    As to the comment about DLLs on the same partition, that to me is not important. The system does not care if a DLL is located at c:\program files\xyz or d:\utilities\xyz. Also note if you are fortunate to have two physical drives, you can improve performance by placing your apps on the second drive as now you have one head gathering Windows information while the other head is gathering application information. Or one head can be reading while the other is writing. With all on the same drive, regardless if partitioned, the single head can only be in one place at once, and perform one task at once.
     
  10. fjgold

    fjgold New Member

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    Since I multiboot Win 7 with 5 other OS's (linux distributions) partitioning is a must for me.
    All my OS's are installed on partitions that are less than 24 GB (my drive is a 500 GB drive).
    This leaves a lot of extra space (about 340 GB) so I've partitioned this extra space into
    2 roughly equal partitions.
    One is a Fat 32 partition that is shared between Win 7 and Linux and the other is a NTFS
    partition for use with Win 7 exclusively.

    The Fat 32 partition has data and my MP3's.

    The NTFS partition has a Program Files folder where most of my larger apps are installed as well as most of my
    standalone apps like Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird etc. are installed.

    I've also migrated most of the "my stuff" libraries to that partition as well.
    My pagefile is there also, I know there isn't a big advantage to having a pagefile on a partition
    but with lots of ram I don't see much if any paging.

    The upshot of all this is my Win 7 C:\ footprint is small (about 13 GB of 24 GB).

    This allows me to create an image, using Clonezilla that is small as well, about 6 GB with the default compression.

    The total size of all images (Win 7 and the 5 linux distros) is less than 30 GB, easily stored on the Fat 32 partition.

    Clonezilla can restore any\all the images from that partition.

    Those data partitions I backup regularly to a 1 TB external drive using an incremental backup program from within Win 7.

    I also maintain separate backups of my Clonezilla images off disk.

    If I bork my Win 7 install or any of my linux installs 5 minutes with Clonezilla Live will restore to the time I created the image.

    If my entire drive dies I can migrate everything (OS's) to a new drive using Clonezilla after duplicating my partition
    scheme on the new drive.

    As a matter of fact this is the method I used to move everything from my old 320 GB drive to my present 500 GB drive.
    I will be getting a 750 GB drive in the near future and again Clonezilla will be used.
     

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