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  1. #1
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    When should my C: drive be enlarged?

    Hi,

    My C:drive is 68% free. At what point should I begin planning to transfer the contents of my present C:drive to a larger drive?

    Thank you.

    Moon

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  3. #2
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    Moon,

    Unless you're talking about a Laptop here I wouldn't enlarge it but rather, IMHO, buy a 2nd drive and then move your data off of the C: onto the new drive using the approved MS method for doing so. As a direct answer to your question I don't think you have to worry for quite a while. When you get down below 20% free then you can start to make plans. If you don't want to buy another drive you could always turn on disk compression. HTH
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  4. #3
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    It's not a good idea to compress your C: drive as that is where your OS is and doing so will cause the machine to run slower, as it will have to decompress and then recompress the system files, whereas you could compress just the Directories but I don't think multimedia files can be compressed.

    When/if you do start to get low on disk space, then review which programs you need to keep and get rid of the rarely used ones and an external drive is a better option for storing your larger files like music, photos etc rather than on your computer.

    A full HDD can impact on performance as Virtual Memory utilises the free space on the HDD and you require a min of 15% free space to run a Defrag.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2014-01-11 at 16:00.

  5. #4
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    As a general rule, any modern drive with 20GB free has more than enough to get you by, unless you save an additional 5GB per day.

    cheers, Paul

  6. #5
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    Thanks everyone. Your responses were a great help.

    Have a wonderful 2014.

    Moon

  7. #6
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    I suggest never. If you have a full system with applications and an undefined amount of data on a drive of unspecified size, you are unlikely to fill the drive within the lifetime of the computer, unless the drive is very small by modern standards or you are involved with some gigantic library of gigantic files. The entire 32-volume Encyclopaedia Britannica complete with additional graphics and media occupies less than 5 GB fully installed - will your production exceed that? Admittedly, if you are storing movies, it's a different matter but with 68% of free space left, you should be realistic about just how gigantic your drive really is.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by moon1130 View Post
    My C:drive is 68% free. At what point should I begin planning to transfer the contents of my present C:drive to a larger drive?
    1. What kind of computer is this and what sort of use do you put it to?
    2. How old is the machine?
    3. How many discs / partitions do you have? Is everything on C: ?
    4. How quickly are your data growing?
    Unless your answer to question 4 is 'very quickly', you probably don't need to worry about this for some time to come. Try to keep about 20% free (min 15% as Sudo15 says) and avoid compression -- only compress rarely used directories or archives if it comes to the crunch.
    What is your backup regime like? If the disc is quite large, you may be better off partitioning it, keeping the system and programs on c: and moving the data to the second partition. Then you can image the system drive and use a standard file-based backup for your data. A disc image with all the data may be rather unwieldy.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    It's not a good idea to compress your C: drive
    Although I've never compressed a drive, I've seen conflicting views on this one. I strongly suspect this should just be "It's not a good idea to compress your swap file" and Windows doesn't do that that anyway (nor for obvious reasons does it compress boot files or HIBERFIL.SYS). I suspect that if Microsoft thought compressing the system drive was a bad idea it wouldn't casually stick a tick box on the drive, then write code to keep the above files uncompressed.

    The argument FOR compression is that the slowest job on your PC is getting data on and off magnetic media. Decompression and re-compression are blindingly fast in comparison. So by compressing the drive you drastically reduce the disk access time at cost of a small CPU hit. Also, a lot of key Windows files are held in memory or, if memory is low, in the swap file and so are only decompressed once.

    Anyone have experience here?

    Ian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudo15 View Post
    A full HDD can impact on performance as Virtual Memory utilises the free space on the HDD
    I think that is wrong on two counts :-

    1. There is an extreme impact on performance if you have insufficient RAM and so you have to use virtual RAM of ANY sort.
    2. Virtual Memory lives inside Pagefile.sys and this is nothing at all like free space.

    I will admit that if you choose to NOT have a fixed and defragged pagefile.sys,
    then when it grows as needed into a slow fragmented animal that grows at the expense of what was freespace.

    Compression is a total nono.

    Years ago on XP, Windows Disk Cleanup automatically compressed system files that had NOT been recently used.
    Afterwards Windows complained that a crucial system file had been changed and demanded that I run S.F.C.
    s.f.c. insisted that I feed it a Windows Installation Disk - but Windows was pre-installed by a national retailer that did not supply disks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iansavell View Post
    The argument FOR compression is that the slowest job on your PC is getting data on and off magnetic media. Decompression and re-compression are blindingly fast in comparison. So by compressing the drive you drastically reduce the disk access time at cost of a small CPU hit. Also, a lot of key Windows files are held in memory or, if memory is low, in the swap file and so are only decompressed once.

    Anyone have experience here?
    I have to confess I last used compression over 20 years ago, when it certainly did slow down the PC (as well as its being slowed by an over-full disc that was hard to defragment). I have avoided it ever since, but since then disc size has more than kept up with my needs anyway. But also at the back of my mind was the question, what if the disc gets corrupted and I need to get a file off it using a disc recovery tool. If everything is compressed, the chances of being able to recognise a file by its contents is virtually nil. Now, if one has a good backup routine, the problem should never arise. But I have been there!

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan.b View Post
    I think that is wrong on two counts :-

    1. There is an extreme impact on performance if you have insufficient RAM and so you have to use virtual RAM of ANY sort.
    2. Virtual Memory lives inside Pagefile.sys and this is nothing at all like free space.

    I will admit that if you choose to NOT have a fixed and defragged pagefile.sys,
    then when it grows as needed into a slow fragmented animal that grows at the expense of what was freespace.
    While you still need to have sufficient RAM for the OS, I thought that these two articles may help.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20039455-263.html

    http://www.office.mvps.org/faq_topic/performance2.html

  13. #12
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    20 years ago we'd just got the first Pentium processors and compression meant WinZip so it would be slow. Nowadays Windows opens compressed archives without even blinking. I said I don't compress, but I do in fact routinely compress old data using "send to zipped folder". That kept my old laptop running for around 8 years with a 40Gb hard drive, eventually "My Pictures" (jpegs are uncompressable) blew the lot. I now have 160Gb of data on a 320Gb drive (what a difference 3 years makes). And I have a robust backup strategy.

    Ian.

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    On a completely different note, I have a PC with lots of video files. Sometimes I have had to look them over and decide that some TV shows were not worth keeping but sometimes it's easier to just get a bigger disk and keep the junk. I have a general rule of thumb that when I can buy a single disk large enough to replace all the disks on my PC for less than $100, I retire my smallest disk and buy the new one. At this point I am waiting for a 4TB disk below $100 to put in the rotation of a 500GB, 1.5TB, and 2TB disk. But realistically that last 2TB disk may never get fully filled and a NAS station is probably a better idea. Besides, I also need to consider replacing the smallest disk with SSD.

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    My response to this goes in a different direction - towards reliability, maintainability and efficient recovery from inevitable drive failure.

    Things to note:

    1. All Hard Disks fail eventually. They wear out, you drop the machine the drive lives in, the drive gets stolen (along with the rest of the machine in the case of a laptop) and so on. Thus, a proven and reliable backup procedure to a separate device is a must in order to be able to recover from drive failure.

    Note: Many people make the mistake of doing their backups to a Partition on the same drive as their OS or Data. The nature of Hard Disk failures (especially SSDs) is they commonly fail in-total - thus your backup files are just as inaccessible as your OS or Datafiles. Not good. Your backups need to go onto a completely separate and independent drive - so that either the source or target drive can fail and the other is still accessible. Yes, your backup (target) drive can fail or get dropped or stolen - and if that occurs - you still have at least your OS and Data on your working drive. (You will remember to get that backup drive replaced pronto - right?)

    2. The greatest enemy of Hard Disk longevity is heat. Thus, the need to clean the dust and grunge out of your machine's cooling fans and internals so it can "breathe" properly. This is especially true for laptops - whose heatsinks are constructed such that they readily plug up with lint. A plugged-up laptop will overheat generally - because it can't rid itself of the heat generated by its CPU and Graphics Chips. However, the rated heat-resistance of CPU and Graphics chips is far higher than that of Laptop Hard Disks. You can cook your Laptop Hard Disk from the heat generated by normal CPU or Graphics operations - if your Laptop's cooling is not working properly because its heatsink is plugged with lint. I recommend that all Computers go no longer than 2 years (yearly is better) without being opened to "get the dust out". This does more to improve longevity in regards to electronics than any other maintenance you can do.

    3. Every user has a rate at which they fill their OS and/or Data partitions. If you are not filling your drive at a rate where you can confidently predict the drive will be full within 6 months if you continue at your present rate - your drive does not need to be replaced solely due to capacity limitations. If you are filling your drive at that rate - noting the problem with 6 months to plan and implement a replacement procedure reduces urgency - so you have enough time to find a replacement drive on sale at a good price - rather than having to pay a premium to pick up the drive "at the last minute". BTW, having a good-quality replacement drive available at a great price is also a stress-reducer - you already know you have the goods required to recover from disaster without having to be in a screaming panic about obtaining the required gear on short notice.

    4. Keeping your Hard Disk properly defragmented has a significant impact on the amount of wear-and-tear the drive goes through on a daily basis. If your files are highly fragmented - the Hard Disk Heads are constantly moving about over the drive surface "assembling" your data from its bits-and-pieces. As well, the Hard Disk must search for "nooks and crannies" where it can put any large file that you receive (such as a Windows Update or a Movie you download) - leading to even greater fragmentation and thus even more wear on the Head Actuator Assembly. As well as slowing down the responsiveness of your machine - this extra wear-and-tear impacts the life of the Head Assembly. A regularly defragmented disk slows the amount of wear-and-tear - as well as making you a happier camper as far as system responsiveness is concerned.

    5. Hard Disks are designed for a 5-year "Service Life". Pay no attention to the marketing maven behind the curtain - who spouts drive longevity measured in hundreds of thousands of hours. Those numbers are hype. The items that wear in a hard drive are the bearings for the Platters, the bearings for the Head Actuator Assembly and the contact surfaces for the Head Gymbal Assembly. Failures in these constitute a drive that "wears out". However, it is the nature of bearings that some will fail quickly - most will fail at their designed "Service Life" age - and some will go on for decades as if they have access to the Fountain of Youth. The problem is - you don't know which kind of bearing you happened to receive in your particular Hard Disk - so you do your backups religiously anyways - knowing that Murphy is always standing over your shoulder looking for opportunities to drop stuff on your head...

    Note: All other Hard Disk failures are "catastrophic" failures - which occur due to things like dropping the drive - "cooking" the drive - or random electronic failure. While all of these can shorten the life of a Hard Disk so it is less than the Drive's Service Life - they don't occur because the drive "wore out".


    Quick Recap:

    1. Having backup is not an option. Drives fail unpredictably - backup to a separate device from your OS/Data Hard Disk(s) is your only recourse when (not if) this occurs.

    2. Preparation in advance for inevitable Hard Disk failure is prudent. Replacement drives can then be bought on sale - rather than paying more because of urgency at the time of drive failure.

    3. "Keeping it clean" is mandatory. Drives can "cook" to death in machines where there is insufficient cooling. This is entirely preventable - the user must perform the required maintenance or they can expect premature failure due to overheating.

    4. "Keeping it defragged" extends the life of a Hard Disk Drive in Active Service.

    5. Even a drive that is perfectly maintained will eventually "wear out". See Item 1.


    Hope this helps your understanding.

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  17. #15
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    When should my C: drive be enlarged?
    If you feel a need to "enlarge" your C drive, then you're in need of an second internal drive.

    68% isn't bad at the moment, but you're obviously thinking about it.

    While you're thinking about it, think about this;
    Is your current primary giving you the appropriate read and write speeds in relation to your overall hardware specs?
    Am I in need of more storage space than previously?
    Do I have a decent backup regimen in place?
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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