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  1. #1
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    Should large hard drive be partitioned?

    On previous Desktop systems, I never partitioned my Hard Drives.

    On my current 8 year old Dell Dimension 9200 with a 250GB Hard Drive, I did partition the Hard Drive into 3 Partitions (1 25GB Partition for just 1 piece of Industry specific software & its data files, 1 100+GB Partition for Installation Files only, & a 3rd 100GB+ Partition for the OS & everything else)

    All of my backups were separate image backups of each entire Partition - so I never realized any real benefit of having Partitions.

    I do make extensive use of folders to organize My Documents (including Pictures), Favorites, Etc.

    I am about to pull the trigger and purchase a Dell XPS 8700 (Special Edition)

    It will have an enormous 3TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive and a 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive.

    I could have gotten only a 1TB Hard Drive, but because of my Dell Premier account as part of a very large Industry group, the cost difference was not that much.

    I expect to follow the guidance in Fred Langa's 1-15-15 story entitled "Mastering Windows 8's backup/restore system"

    Additionally, I expect to use my existing 3 External Hard Drives (250GB, & two 1TB) to continue to do separate image backups of the entire drives.

    QUESTION IS:
    What is the current thinking as to whether or not large drives should be partitioned?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Steven,

    This is definitely a YMMV subject! IMHO it depends on how you use your machine. I, personally, like to have my data in a separate partition since I play with the OS so much it makes restoring the OS partition, when I mess up, that much easier. It also makes it easier to backup my data as it's a single partition ( I don't do this as much since I have a task that fires off every night at 18:30, while the news is on, that uses RoboCopy to copy all my change data to a secondary internal HD and once a day I manually start a RoboCopy procedure to do the same to my NAS {yeah Paranoid}.

    Also you'll find that that new Dell will come with a bunch of partitions already installed, check out Disk0:
    DiskPartitions.JPG

    Partitions are helpful IMHO but not required on modern GPT {the replacement for MBR} hard drives. HTH
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    I'd have the machine set up like this:
    SSD = Windows and data
    Mech HD = image of SSD, daily backup and very large files - video, etc
    External disks = copies of Mech HD

    Windows will create multiple partitions on the SSD and there is no point changing that. Leave the Mech HD as a single partition - if you have a failure it will be the disk, not a partition.

    Warning: your old PC will now seem like the snail it really is.

    cheers, Paul

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    THANK YOU BOTH

    I was not aware that the SSD Drive would come partitioned.

    I guess I will leave Windows 8.1 in 1 partition & put other software in a 2nd partition & then progress from there.

    All Software likes to put their data in the same partition where their software resides. So, I am just concerned that the 250 GB SSD Drive might fill up too soon - especially if restricted by a particular partition's size.

    Plus, a 3TB Hard Drive just for data, pictures, etc. seems like a lot of wasted space.

    Guess I will have to start off somewhere & adjust as I go along.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Plus, a 3TB Hard Drive just for data, pictures, etc. seems like a lot of wasted space.
    No, not a waste of space at all, in fact storage is exactly what they are for.

    Keep the SSD your OS resides on as free as possible and fill the TB drive up as much as possible.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    No, not a waste of space at all, in fact storage is exactly what they are for.

    Keep the SSD your OS resides on as free as possible and fill the TB drive up as much as possible.
    So, would you put ANY software on the 3 TB Hard Drive & leave the SSD with only the Windows 8.1?
    Maybe in a small partition & leave the bulk of the 3 TB for storage?

    All of the software I will use (excluding Windows 8.1) is fairly easy to re-install & I do regular backups / images of the Data related to each software.

  7. #7
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    Do not put anything in the SSD partitions as such - they are for the OS / OEM recovery - just use C: for all programs and data because you want fast access. There is no need to leave lots of space free on the SSD, 20% is plenty of spare for the SSD to do its stuff.
    I would not load any software on the 3TB because, again, you want access speed.

    cheers, Paul

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    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    I have four partitions on my 480GB SSD: 8MB BootIt Bare Metal boot manager partition, Windows 7 Pro 64bit partition, and two Windows 7 Pro 32bit partitions. Each of the Windows OSs have all their programs installed to that partition as I found years ago that it is a mistake to install a program to any other partition (excepting "native" AKA "standalone" programs that don't store settings in the Windows registry).

    Almost all my data files are stored on a 2TB HDD which is split into two partitions, one for data files, the second for backups. The data files on my Windows partitions are mostly email and often-accessed files like some Word docs, some image files (graphics files, not backup images).

    BootIt Bare Metal allows me to boot between the three OS partitions. Each of these Windows installations are self-contained, i.e.: the "BCD" boot files are located on each OSs partition instead of on a separate "System Reserved" partition. This makes keeping track of disk images much simpler.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    Do not put anything in the SSD partitions as such - they are for the OS / OEM recovery - just use C: for all programs and data because you want fast access. There is no need to leave lots of space free on the SSD, 20% is plenty of spare for the SSD to do its stuff.
    I would not load any software on the 3TB because, again, you want access speed.
    cheers, Paul
    I would agree with Paul's last comment, but I don't think putting your programs and data on C:\ is a good idea. It's because of those image backups. If any partition is going to get messed up, it will be your C: drive. So keep it as small as possible and don't have any important data (documents, pictures etc) on it. My system partition is 80 GiB and is currently just over half full. You might want more if you have lots of RAM and use hibernation because the hiberfil.sys is on this drive. If anything goes wrong, you should have a recent image to restore from and it won't overwrite more recent copies of your documents.

    Your data partitions are a different matter. You don't need images of pure data partitions. A file-based backup program like Cobian is best for this. You need only backup files that have changed, and can keep a file history too in case the current copy gets corrupted or you need to go back to an older incarnation of your document.

    You can move the My Documents folder to the data partition just by dragging it out of C:\Users\<user> into a new location. Windows automatically updates the registry so programs that default to My Documents still work. Same applies to My Pictures, My Music etc.

    Personally I have a partition just for program installations as well. 10 GiB is enough. But you could do this on the data partition. The point is, don't install new programs to the C:\ drive.
    I also put my page file in a separate partition -- you definitely want it on your SSD though. All to keep my images small and thus quick to make and restore.

    With your 250 GB SSD, you could have 80+ for system, 10 for programs and still have 150 GB for your most frequently used documents. The 3 TB disc would be for large files like videos and backups. Though don't rely on this disc alone, in case a lightning strike or fire puts paid to the whole box. Keep doing your external ones too, swopped out to an external location like your workplace, and you should be well protected.

    It might not be fashionable to partition drives a lot, but you will be glad of it when something goes wrong.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenXXXX View Post
    So, would you put ANY software on the 3 TB Hard Drive & leave the SSD with only the Windows 8.1?
    Maybe in a small partition & leave the bulk of the 3 TB for storage?

    All of the software I will use (excluding Windows 8.1) is fairly easy to re-install & I do regular backups / images of the Data related to each software.
    Installed software belongs on the SSD (fastest drive), never on a slower drive. All your stored program exes can go on the large 3TB drive as storage, along with all the data you generate.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  11. #11
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    Having a "messed up" SSD is not an issue - it's an SSD after all. More importantly, having programs and data on the SSD won't mess up the disk any more than having them on separate disks - Windows temp files are the most likely to cause fragmentation and they are always on C:.
    You can still have an image backup for disasters and a daily incremental of the data, or Windows 8 backup, especially with 3TB of space on the mechanical disk.

    cheers, Paul

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    Just some experience talking. How you do it is up to you but...
    *OS should definitely be on the fastest drive you have and it has to be called C: drive to avoid hassles with some applications)
    *If you have programs with databases, which call for lots of hits on large chunks of data, they should definitely not be in the same partition or even drive as the OS. But should be on the fastest or at least as fast possible drive(s).
    Both of these sets of applications have thousands and thousands of 'moving parts' so to speak and so kick off more errors than far simpler data files.
    *Data files should not be stored on drives or at least partitions which contain either the OS or the major applications. Simply put, you want to protect your data most and keeping it as far from the apps and the OSes as possible is where you want it to be. Also, data is typically called on the perform on a 'retail' basis: the OS or, more likely, an application will call for one data file or a selection of data files, rather than ALL your files at once for a modification.

    This technique also really helps focus you on your back-up strategy.
    *The most important is your data. Much might be irreplaceable or at least inconvenient to replace --- but also has fewest changes over a days or week's time.
    *The next most important are your applications which might cost you big bucks and time to replace and configure.
    *Least important are your OS(es) which can be restored rapidly over the internet likely for free.

    So on my systems c: has the OS; D: has all the apps including things like my e-mail client; E-H have all the data (photos 60,000+) and emails themselves and downloads. You want to consider downloads as data files because you might need some day to re-install what was working for you and not be able to find it on the net and, heck, it is easier & faster just to double tap an EXE file.
    Have fun!

  13. #13
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    LinusF3, SSDs have changed the landscape so that data separation is no longer required.

    cheers, Paul

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    one of my main aps died when i cloned the old C disk onto a newer (hopefully more reliable as the old one was 8 years old) HD that was twice as big

    apparently the ap could not handle the larger partition it now had

    imho it is best to keep the new partition for an old disk at the same size as the old disk which would mean you should partition a new HD before you use it

    but if you add an extra one for storage
    imho you ony need to partition if the aps cant handle a larger one

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenXXXX View Post
    On previous Desktop systems, I never partitioned my Hard Drives.

    On my current 8 year old Dell Dimension 9200 with a 250GB Hard Drive, I did partition the Hard Drive into 3 Partitions (1 25GB Partition for just 1 piece of Industry specific software & its data files, 1 100+GB Partition for Installation Files only, & a 3rd 100GB+ Partition for the OS & everything else)

    All of my backups were separate image backups of each entire Partition - so I never realized any real benefit of having Partitions.

    I do make extensive use of folders to organize My Documents (including Pictures), Favorites, Etc.

    I am about to pull the trigger and purchase a Dell XPS 8700 (Special Edition)

    It will have an enormous 3TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive and a 256GB mSATA Solid State Drive.

    I could have gotten only a 1TB Hard Drive, but because of my Dell Premier account as part of a very large Industry group, the cost difference was not that much.

    I expect to follow the guidance in Fred Langa's 1-15-15 story entitled "Mastering Windows 8's backup/restore system"

    Additionally, I expect to use my existing 3 External Hard Drives (250GB, & two 1TB) to continue to do separate image backups of the entire drives.

    QUESTION IS:
    What is the current thinking as to whether or not large drives should be partitioned?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LinusF3 View Post
    *Least important are your OS(es) which can be restored rapidly over the internet likely for free.
    I would agree with much of what you say, though you forget that the OP has an SSD. But I don't agree that the system partition (if that is what you mean by the above comment) is easily replaced. If I have to reinstall Windows it takes two days to re-install all my applications and configure the OS and applications to my satisfaction. A system image is a far quicker way to get back on my feet!

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