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  1. #1
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    Should I partition?

    I am about to buy a new computer and am wondering if I should partition the hard drive into operating system/programs for one and data for another. What are the pros and cons of the various partitioning options - does partitioning make for a more stable system. My present XP computer has just one partition and has worked well, except that it gets slower over time - does partitioning reduce this tendency.

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    If you are an enthusiast who likes tinkering with hardware and software partitioning can make recovering your system when you trash it faster. Partitioning does NOT inherently make your system more stable. Computers can get slower over time from adding software, upgrading to newer versions with higher requirements, not doing regular housecleaning, etc. Once again partitioning does not inherently reduce the tendency for slowdowns.

    Partitioning is not a magic bullet. It is an organizational tool that may help in some circumstances. Personally, I have a complete backup my personal systems scheduled daily and do not worry about partitioning. There are many others in the Lounge who swear by it and would not think of having a system without it.

    Joe

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    I understand the rationale for partitioning and agree that it may speed recovery in certain cases. I never really enjoyed managing a multitude of partitions, so I try to keep it as simple as possible. Like Joe, I keep a single partition. I image it weekly, with relevant documents kept in live synch between my desktop and laptop and that works for me.

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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I'm with Joe. Keeping everything on one drive means that I only need one image backup to backup both system and data files. Both Acronis and Easeus provide the ability to recover individual files or folders as need be in case of accidental deletion without having to resort to a full restore. I can't remember the last time I needed to do a full system restore, so the additional recovery time of a single partition is not an issue.

    Also agree with Joe that system slowdowns have other causes than lack of partitioning. If you are experiencing slowdowns, take a good look at the programs that startup when you boot. Use MSconfig and click on the Startup tab. Disable any software you don't neeed. If you don't know what an individual item is related to, do a google search or check the Startup Database here:
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/startups/

    You can also use Autoruns or Whats in Startup are other tools you can use.

    Adding memory can also improve performance in some cases where newer software can cause more paging to disk to occur.

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike21 View Post
    I am about to buy a new computer and am wondering if I should partition the hard drive into operating system/programs for one and data for another.
    mike,
    Hello... If your about to buy a "desktop" open the display model side-panel and take a look see ... My PC had an extra "bay" for another HD and also room for another CD\DVD-RW ...Check also if there are any spare SATA ports on the motherboard... Then you can decide ..."Cauz" if there is the room and ports you can add a 2nd HD for DATA and Images ...The best way to go . Otherwise it's like putting all your cookies in you lunch pail with a thermos full of chicken soup. .... Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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    Purely organizational in my mind; if you want to image OS, programs and data all the time, and it all fits on one drive, partitions are not relevant and the simplest method to deploy. If you want more flexibility, with the option for differential imaging schedules or easier to set up network permissions access (especially where W7 is involved), partitioning might serve your purpose better. Also multibooting and VMs with a common data partition works better than having the data located with one or the other (or the other).

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Mike,

    Partitioning is pretty much a personal choice. That said, I always partition my drives for these reasons.
    1. I travel a lot and I find it easier to sync my desktop with my laptop when Documents is on a separate drive/partition.
    2. I move my Outlook.pst file into My documents so all my user data, the stuff I DON'T want to loose is in one place and can be easily Imaged using less space. Also it moves with the rest of the data in 1 above.
    3. I play around with a lot of programs so I like to be able to Image my System partition separately, smaller file, so if things get fouled up the restore of the system partition is faster and I don't have to worry about any data created since the last Image was taken since it doesn't get overwritten.

    So consider how you use your machine(s) and proceed according to your needs. YMMV!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I partition for the same reasons RG does, plus partitioning allows me to dual boot another OS, in this case Win 8 DP to play with. My data is always safe because it's on a separate drive from my 2 OSes.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  9. #9
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    My data is always safe because it's on a separate drive from my 2 OSes.
    Well, unless that separate drive is in the cloud somewhere or otherwise off site and not near the computer, its not any safer that way. Example, if I hit your computer and any nearby externals with a 16lb. maul, does it fare any better than the OS drive?
    Only a backup makes it safer and an additional backup off site makes it almost fail-safe.
    Last edited by Infinicore; 2011-11-08 at 01:53.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The original OP question what are the pros and cons of partitioning the data onto a separate partition. Backups are not a part of the discussion. I do not believe the original OP had physical damage from a 16 pd maul in mind when possing the question either. There are many discussions on Imaging and bachups to review elsewhere.

    To be honest my data on a separate partition is safe even when my OS is trashed. I can restore the OS, as mentioned by others here, without touching the data, and do so fairly often. As a matter of fact my data is backed up on 2 separate PC's in our home, but again not pertinent to the present discussion.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Partitioning

    Thanks for all of the thought provoking comments. I had decided not to partition until I got to RG’s comments and was taken by the statement “so I like to be able to Image my System partition separately” – I had assumed that you could not usefully have the operating system on one partition and the rest on another as if you just restored an old system image the registry file would be out of date and foul up the computer – did “system” in this case include programs?. Presently I image my unpartitioned hard drive once a month and I make a refreshed copy of the “my documents” folder (which includes Emails) once a week, storing both on an external drive, although this would maybe not be as easy with Windows 7 as XP. Turning to off-site storage, my grandson had his laptop stolen in a burglary recently – he had backed everything up to an external drive, but they took that as well – there’s a moral there.

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Mike, you can read a lot about Imaging in the Security and Backups forum. To put it very simply:

    C Drive: OS (Win 7) and all apps installed.

    D Drive: All data (any data allowed by Windows to be easily moved)

    W Drive: Win 8 DP and all apps installed

    When I Image I can include C, D and W if I want. All will be included in one Image file. To restore, pick whichever drive you wish to restore and your Imaging app will restore that partition. Recently I have been including C and W in my Images with my data backed up to 2 other PC's on our network.

    I had not mentioned my backup schemes in previous posts because your original question did not seem to be asking about this, but just the reasons those of us who do partition do it.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  13. #13
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    Yes Ted, don't want to rile any feathers, I know your procedures and they're fine as laser split hairs, but your data, as stated by you, which the OP would probably not know about the extra steps you take (until you posted again), is not one bit safer just because its on a different partition or a different drive on the same system. I was just being anally retentive.

    For Mike21, yes, almost always when partitioned, the OS partition includes the programs so it doesn't get messed up exactly as you mentioned unless exactly matching backups are restored (program partition and OS partition) at the same time, which means they also have to be made at the same time all the time...so its better to keep them together.
    Data is independent and as such not tied to any particular OS.
    For a home user I have crushing amounts of data so I always keep it separate because it won't even fit on several computers (that each have up to 5 TB of storage space) and imaging is quite out of the question.
    Last edited by Infinicore; 2011-11-08 at 10:51.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike21 View Post
    I am about to buy a new computer and am wondering if I should partition the hard drive into operating system/programs for one and data for another. What are the pros and cons of the various partitioning options - does partitioning make for a more stable system. My present XP computer has just one partition and has worked well, except that it gets slower over time - does partitioning reduce this tendency.
    Not realy
    Get away from using partitions if at all possible.
    Start favoring added extra internal drives to store non operating system data on instead.
    With a new desktop platform computer you'll have plenty of extra SATA ports available.
    I highly recommend 1TB drives as multipurpose storage drives. The 1TB drives are highly stable for this usage.
    (mixed drives with small and large file sizes)
    If you have alot of very large files sizes like movies/video/images, 2TB drives are best for storing this type of media.

    Better file system and data organization, along with an extra internal drive or two would help.
    You could then locate certain folders onto them like Pictures, Videos, Documents, Downloads, etc.
    Keep your programs installed with the operating system on the fatest drive you can afford.
    (SSD's are optimal. 10000 rpm medium to smaller sized mechanical drives in the 150-300GB size range are best)
    Keep your system lean and clean. Separate out the bulky accumulates, like photos and videos to other internal drives.
    Limit the programs you install to known stable, usable, and trusted apps, or learn how to do image based backups if you like to experiment.
    Keep a full backup of all your applications in their original executables, and keep them on another drive separate from your operating system
    and/or in their original CD/DVDs.
    Don't be timid about performing clean installs, they are your absolute best os speed & stability tweaks.
    When buying a new computer consider dumping the OEM disk or image reinstall disk for a genuine os disk of a professional version.
    (Don't be cheap, it will always come back to bite you)
    Invest the time and effort in making system and data backup one of your priorities if the data you have is mission critical to you.

    LAPTOPS
    The use of partitions can be usefull but should be very limited when it comes to laptops.
    Use external drives for image based backups and dedicate one external drive exclusively for the image storage and restoration only.
    Burn or store "other" data on CD/DVD or other external drives, but don't include backup drive images on these.

    Partitions in laptops can be usefull in storing data on in the event you loose the os, but they should never be relied upon for the sole backup because they are on the same hard drive.

    If you are dead set on using partitions, settle on an optimal size and avoid manipulating it any further.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2011-11-08 at 21:22.

  15. #15
    Silver Lounger Banyarola's Avatar
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    I have always used one partition.
    Like others here I image daily...

    I image to two different internal hard drives. This way I have two images in the event one is bad I always have the other to fall back on.

    About once a month I then burn an image to DVD just in case I can't access the hard drives...
    "If You Are Reading This In English, Thank A VET"

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