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  1. #1
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    Partition Sizes and Performance

    Hello, I had a fast 36GB hard drive for my system. Recently the drive died and I bought another one but this time 72GB. I restored my system and Acronis True Image created a 36 GB partition leaving about 36 GB free space. My question is whether it is best to leave this or to enlarge the partition size to fill up the entire hard drive? If I leave the partition size at 36GB that will presumably restrict the area of the drive used by Windows. Will this reduce the need to defragment and reduce ware and tear on the drive or will it make no difference? I know almost nothing about the technical aspects of how a drive works and the best practises on whether to partition or not. Hope someone can enlighten and advise me.

    Thanks,

    Chris (Hunt)

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    I didn't know you could buy disks that small any more!

    All that follows is IMHO...

    Whether you partition a disk or not can depend on whether you want to separate "the operating system and program installations" and "data", and on a PC this matters less than on a server. And if you partition a disk, you need to have a good idea of the relative sizes that you will need, now and in the future, because it is heart-stoppingly messy (under XP, at least) to change the sizes, certainly without spending •lots on a Disk Partitioning Program (yes, I know about the <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> GPartEd and Easeus!). The relative allocation has become more difficult to estimate because 'data' has got bigger, with picture and video collections... Having two areas of free space (one for each partition!) can make operation more complicated.

    I suspect there will be few people who would suggest that you have more than two partitions on a disk.

    Personally, for a home PC, I would probably expand the 36 GB partition to cover the whole disk, thus making it 72-ish GB. Admittedly that is putting your eggs in one basket, and you may have to think more carefully about what and how you back up.

    For your amusement, perhaps, I had my mirrored 120 GB disks replaced under warranty by Dell a couple of years ago - and for reasons I still don't understand, they sent me 400 GB ones! (Well, 373 GB formatted as a single partition - of which I am using but 20 GB). Fortunately, because my backup external hard disk is 'only' 279 GB!
    BATcher

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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    The largest drives I have any experience with are the two 500 gig USB drives I just recently bought. As John said, there "will be" people who still are convinced that multiple partitions are an absolute need, but I'm no longer one of them. Today's operating systems and the drive hardware itself are fast enough and efficient enough that large drive size isn't a problem. Partitions aren't necessary for "organizational" purposes either if one lays out his folders in a self-meaningful manner. These days I'm running drives that are devoid of multiple partitions except for the Dell diagnostic stuff which I've not taken the time to get rid of.

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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    Thanks for the reply, Batcher. That was very kind of Dell <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>. The 72GB disk is a Western Digital raptor drive that has a speed 0f 10,000 rpm. I use it exclusively for my XP system and programs. I have two large internal drives for data and backup a one terabyte external hard drive for secondary backup I have the internal drives divided into partitions. My question is related to whether it is best to leave 36gb of space unused on my raptor drive or whether to increase the partition to use up the full drive. I have Acronis Disk Director Suite so resizing the partition is not a problem. I won't be putting any extra data on the system drive so it is a question of whether it is better to have 13gb spare space or 39gb of spare space (my system and programs are using up around 20gb). Would keeping the partition size small at 36gb reduce wear and tear by reducing the amount of movement the read/write head has to move?

    Chris

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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    Hi Big Al, my question is not really about whether to partition my system drive into multiple partitions but whether to use up the entire drive or leave some of it unformatted. Either way, I'll only have one partition on the drive. The assistant at the shop where I bought the drive seemed to indicate that I could reduce wear and tear on the drive by having a partition not much bigger than what I needed to house the system and programs. This would force the writing of data into one area of the drive rather than scattering it across the entire drive. Having said this the conversation was in Japanese and my understanding could well have been faulty which is why I'm asking for other opinions. My previous system drive (36 GB) failed after less than 18 months. I'd rather that didn't happen with the new 72gb drive.

    Thanks,

    Chris

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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    Sorry I don't have the engineering background to say whether that's true or not. In sound, it makes sense, but in practicality I don't know. I've had drives that have failed in no time and others that have lasted for years and years. I can't imagine that the movement of the heads would have such an impact on useful life as to be discernible to a user, but as I said I'm not technically qualified to say. Obviously you can leave the space unallocated and use it later, so I wouldn't think it to be a "show stopper."

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    Chris,
    I'm still in the multiple partition camp of opinion but not about to go through that discussion again. In your case, 36GB is plenty of room for XP to run, so even if you don't intend to use that other spare space, I'd leave it alone for now. Since you have Disk Director, you can always increase the OS partition very easily. if needed.
    Wear and tear on the drive itself? I would tend to agree with the smaller size, which would limit the amount of head movement to seek and write data, to some degree. Drives are very reliable these days, so I don't know that it would be worth entering size into the formula.
    However, I DID see a demonstration at an IEEE show, that displayed a hard drive with it's covers off and reading and writing data. Those heads fairly FLEW around the platters from inner to outer areas of the disk. ( another argument for defragging the drive? ) There HAD to be a terrific amount energy expanded to do that and there would be less movement, IF the platter area was reduced. Something to consider, I suppose.
    BOB
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    Re: Partition Sizes and Performance

    >whether it is best to leave this or to enlarge the partition size to fill up the entire hard drive?
    Leave it as is, for the simple philosophical reason that, as yet, you have no measured grounds for changing it ("presumably restrict").
    I understand the theory of "smaller partition means more work" and hence, presumably, defragmenting etc.
    You are ahead of the game, presumably, by virtue of Adonis's doing its job and quickly (?) getting you back on your feet.
    That's puts you, say, six hours ahead of me, who would have re-installed Windows and the software, and traced my fingers down a table of about seventy settings for various applications.

    If anything changes e.g.
    1. <LI>new drive crashes
      <LI>obvious thrashing of the drive/heads
      <LI>exceeding slow response time on reads/writes
    then I'd buy a couple of identical drives, install the OS on both, and then use RoboCopy or similar for backups. This time the first drive crashes, you roll in the second, re-register Windows and you're off to the races.

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