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  1. #1
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    Primary partition vs. logical drive

    I have two internal physical drives in my computer (Windows 7 x64). Drive C is the boot drive, contains the operating system, program files, page file etc, and is defined as a Primary Partition. There is nothing else on the physical drive, except for "System Reserved" (no drive letter) of 100 MB at the front, also defined as a Primary Partition. The second drive, Drive E, is the data drive. It contains all my documents, photos, Outlook files, etc. etc. This drive is also defined as a Primary Partition. There is nothing else on it except for 9 MB "Unallocated" at the front. The idea being that if I ever needed to re-install Windows, or to restore an image backup following a failed software upgrade, then the data on drive E would not be affected.

    My questions are :
    1 for best performance, should drive E really be a Logical Drive, since it only contains data? Does it make a difference?

    2 If or when I decide to upgrade to Windows 10, would I need to do anything with drive E?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bundaburra View Post
    I have two internal physical drives in my computer (Windows 7 x64). Drive C is the boot drive, contains the operating system, program files, page file etc, and is defined as a Primary Partition. There is nothing else on the physical drive, except for "System Reserved" (no drive letter) of 100 MB at the front, also defined as a Primary Partition. The second drive, Drive E, is the data drive. It contains all my documents, photos, Outlook files, etc. etc. This drive is also defined as a Primary Partition. There is nothing else on it except for 9 MB "Unallocated" at the front. The idea being that if I ever needed to re-install Windows, or to restore an image backup following a failed software upgrade, then the data on drive E would not be affected.

    My questions are :
    1 for best performance, should drive E really be a Logical Drive, since it only contains data? Does it make a difference?

    2 If or when I decide to upgrade to Windows 10, would I need to do anything with drive E?
    1. Not necessary. I think every drive should have at least 1 Primary partition. If wanting a second partition it could be Logical with Extended partitions in it.

    2. No. Just let Win10 do its thing. You may see a couple more small partitions added but not usually accessible.

  3. #3
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bundaburra View Post
    ...1 for best performance, should drive E really be a Logical Drive, since it only contains data? Does it make a difference?...
    1. AFAIK there is no performance difference between primary and logical partitions. The main difference between the two is that there is a limit of four primary partitions on an MBR HDD (without using special techniques/software), while an "extended" partition can contain many logical partitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bundaburra View Post
    ...2 If or when I decide to upgrade to Windows 10, would I need to do anything with drive E?...
    No, but it would be a good idea to image it before attempting to upgrade (just in case...).
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    And backup E as well.

    cheers, Paul

    p.s. Why E and not D?

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    p.s. Why E and not D?
    By default, D: is reserved for an optical drive.

    Defaults: C: first partition of the Primary drive, D: (reserved for) CD/DVD drive, E: first partition of the Secondary drive.

    'moving' the first partition of the secondary drive to D: requires manual intervention, from DiskMan > right-click E: > Change drive letter and paths.

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    By default, D: is reserved for an optical drive.
    I wouldn't really agree with this - the DVD drive just gets the next drive letter available - which would be D: if you have only the one hard disk partition. It would be E: if you had two, and so on...

    I always change a DVD drive to become V: (dVd, you see) to get it out of the way of USB drive letters and the like.
    Just my convention.
    Last edited by BATcher; 2016-01-25 at 13:31.
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    Thanks to all for the replies. Looks like I don't need to do anything just yet. I'm in two minds about Windows 10, but that's another issue.

    I was curious about the drive types, because I have an external USB drive which is partitioned into four logical drives which are used for backups. There is no primary partition on this drive, just the four logical drives, but they all seem to work OK. What is the reason for Berton saying "every drive should have at least 1 Primary partition"?

    When I bought the computer, it was configured with drive D as the optical drive, and I'm quite happy to leave it that way. (D = D V D)
    Last edited by Bundaburra; 2016-01-25 at 22:34.

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    If you want to boot from a disk it needs (used to need) a primary partition. An external disk is fine without one.

    cheers, Paul

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    You asked for performance, not security. Systems are replaceable, original or unique data is not. Which partition is less likely to crash?

    Data that is redundant - music and whatnot that you have stored in more than one location or backed up, can benefit from being kept on a second partition on old-fashioned hard drives because it stays put, and doesn't get in the way of defragging by bloating the system, or getting mixed in with system files.

    Backups are kept off the machine that is backed up, but with today's large drives you can store them on the drive of a different computer. With Acronis, at least, Acronis's own backup files are filtered from being included in a backup if any are stored on the computer being backed up. When it comes to storing them, it helps to remember that these are very large single files - I have some in excess of 100 GB.

    There is no benefit in partitioning an external hard drive, with one exception that I can think of: you can have a dandy Windows To Go installation on a portable hard drive, with a setup similar to your boot drive and data drive.

    Freshly-minted original or unique data is something you want stored in more than one place in real time, or as close to it as you can get. Don't wait until you get to the end of that chapter you are writing to save what you have - get it on the machine(s) almost as fast as you are writing it, and to the extent possible, automatically and unobtrusively. That takes a bit of setting up, but it can be done. That's the stuff you can't afford to lose.

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