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  1. #1
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Partitioning (XP Pro)

    I have recently reinstalled the OS and created several partitions. Now, familiarity with partitioning is relatively new to me and I have read a lot of different ways to organize such for performance and safety. As the screenshot below shows, I have the the OS on 17GB C:, the Paging file on 608MB E: and most of my programs on 11GB F:.

    First, I wish to have some input from those who utilize multiple partitions as to whether the fashion I have this set up is Good, Bad, or Ugly.

    Second, I have noticed my paging file never becomes fragmented - is that typical? Or perhaps is it not being used properly the way I have it set up? (I do have the virtual memory set for all drives pointing to E
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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Well, I think your colour scheme is pretty ugly <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    My understanding is that if you set the same min-max size on your page file, that space is reserved in a single block - especially if it is done the way you have on virgin disc space. Therefore it simply cannot become fragmented. Normally it is not possible to defragment a fragmented page file anyway - if you have set a fixed size for your page file, just forget about it. (Apart from regular chkdsk's, of course!)

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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Bruce, Partitioning is a subject sure to bring out many opinions. And I have several. If you have one physical drive, partitioning is IMHO more for your organizational sanity than anything. For safety sake, what you've done is fine. Safety from OS corruption & accidcental things. You might even was to separate your data from programs in yet another partition. But, if you have a physical problem with a drive you're hosed anyway. Regular backups are the best safety net. I doubt that you'll see a performance improvement and if you measure such things you may see a decrease with several partitions on the same physical drive. You can do a search in Google (or whatever) to find many discussions on partitioning & performance. For the optimum in performance & safety you need multiple physical drives on multiple channels (either internal or external). And regular backups (yeah I know I'm being redundant).

    Joe
    Joe

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Second Joe's comments, Bruce. EVERYTHING I've read on the subject of the swap file (including here) says that you should put it on a separate drive, your fastest spec'd drive, on the secondary IDE channel, otherwise you might see a performance degradation.

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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    A further observation to Al's comments....if you place the swap file on a separate partition but on the same physical drive, you are also creating a situation where the drive heads are forced to physically move to the area of the disk where the swap file lives and back again. In other words, you're forcing the system to add extra cycles because you're waiting on something mechanical.

    That said, I personally try put the swap file by itself to prevent fragmentation of it, which is a far worse performance hit. The performance difference between having the swap file alone on a different partition (on the same drive) and in the same partition as the OS is undetectable. Benchmarks might show some difference but in the real world where people work and play it's next to impossible to tell a difference.

    If you have a additional drives, even if they aren't the fastest, it's prudent to split your swap file across all physical drives. I feel this is a better solution than just moving it lock, stock and barrel to a different drive. If the swap file is called, Windows can access both IDE channels at the same time and reduce read time. If the system doesn't use the swap file much, you can reduce its size a little or just smile because you've got a machine with enough RAM that Windows doesn't need to use the disk.
    -Mark

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    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Thanks, all!

    Yeah, it might be time for that visual style to take a hike! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Okay that makes sense about the dedicated swap file and lack of fragmentation as compared to the way it was previously.

    Performance....I am not sure if an increase exists or it appears so in my head as a result of organizational satisfaction, but I will definitely concur on the back-ups. I had decided on a whim out of boredom to back up everything the night before my HDD physically crashed. Backing up redundant? Yes, precisely so! Backing up redundant? Yes, precisely so! <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    I am using Diskeeper full and defrag in just minutes. I would like to smile for the sake of lots of RAM, but am maxxed out. I prefer to use mobile desktops so I am thinking about custom configuring an Alienware unit with 512-1024DDR-RAM and all the other top components. The way I look at it, if you are spending 2-3K, another couple hundred is not gonna break you to alleviate any concerns. Also, I am still shopping for a separate external HDD, which seem to change faster than page loads!

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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Bruce--
    Just quickly to say you have done fine in that you put your page file on a different partition; you have your programs protected on a different partition from the one OS you are using. You have put My Documents onto a different drive than "C", "E" in this case and that's preferable, so that if you crash "C" but not the other drives, they are now in a safe haven.

    The page file: Rarely is page file fragmentation a big deal--unless and until it is seriously fragmented. There is a work around to defragment it, because Windows holds it open while you work, so it isn't consolidated. If you want to truly know if your page file is fragmented, then look at the Disk Defragmenter's Analysis Report. You can tweak the page file size to get better performance--as I think you know XP defaults to 1.5 times your RAM and the max is 3.0 X your RAM, and tweaking it isn't near as good as getting more RAM. It lives in a hidden file called Pagefile.sys in the root of your system drive which for you is "C."

    BTW you can defrag your page file with the native defrag in XP; but you will need something like the full Diskeeper if you want to defrag the Master File Table. I would defrag the Page File whether it "looks like" it needs it or not. No down side there.

    There are a lot of people who advocate making the OS drive as small as possible, and I put this question on a thread a couple months ago. Peter Norton's new XP book has a couple pages where he debates the pros and cons of this for a couple pages.

    It's been said before, but the makers of the defragger you are using from Exec Soft bluntly have told me several times that if you don't have 30% free space on a drive you're defragging your defrag will be compromised significantly, and if you have any drive full to the gills you are just wasting your time to try to run defrag. I finally did what they said and moved some of my larger applications to another drive to get around 33% free space on "C" and now I send my downloads to other drives so as not to make any one of them to full. When I defrag now, which is often--it takes little time and I get a lot better performance zip from it.

    Enjoy your new hard drive.

    defrag

  8. #8
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Thanx, Frag, but I have the full version of Diskeeper and defrag the swap & MFT.

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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Bruce--if you should ever need to defrag your page file--here's the workaround to do it. I think especially since you love to tinker and tweak--you (or anyone) should download the free full Diskeeper 7.0 and run it or set it--it takes me just a few minutes--and I have 80 GB divided into four partitions--now that I make sure I have at least 30% free space--and I the performance is definitely noticably better for me with the full one than say Norton Speed Disk in Sys Wks or the intrinsic XP defrag. IMHP it's one of the most useful pieces of software I have in my little bundle:

    How to Defrag your Page File Using Win XP's Defragger: (The "Work-around")
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    Ctrl Panel>Doub. Ck. Sys icon>Adv Tab(or Win +Pause Bk. Key>Adv.Tab)>Adv Tab of Performance Options Dialogue Box>Click Change Under Virtual Memory>From list of drives choose volume other than the one that holds your page file--this'll hold your temp page file.>Choose custom size>enter settings in Initial Size and Maximum Size boxes to match your current page file (which I advise you to kick up to 1000 or 1200 if you have 256MB RAM or double if you have 512--you can go up to 3000).>Click Set>Reboot to allow your system to stop using the old page file and begin using the new one>Defrag the drive that prev. held your page file--this'll consolidate the free space on that volume so the new page file will be stored in contiguous space>Repeat first 6 steps , this time creating a page file on the original disk and eliminateing the temp>Reboot and your newly defragmented page file will take over.
    __________________________________________________ _________________________

    You always need more than one volume available if you are going to recreate the page file in XP--the second to create a temporary page file.

    I thought there was no way to defrag the mft with the XP defragger, but I have found a way you can--it's long and entails two reg hacks--but you love those--email/PM me if you want it and I'll give it to you that way. I would just use the regular Diskeeper 7.0 to do this--and I believe it is well worth doing. It increases my speed.

    defrag

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    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Defrag,

    you (or anyone) should download the free full Diskeeper 7.0 and run it or set it--it takes me just a few minutes

    I have to ask where you find the above quoted free download. I search and only come up with versions to buy. I don
    H Lewton

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    I can answer that one. It's a licensing question, not performance. I have Diskeeper 7 on this XP Pro machine and it's on a small network. Diskeeper works just fine (every morning while I SLEEP!)

  12. #12
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Hlewton--
    Diskeeper 7.0 is trial ware for 30 days and it definitely will defrag your home network with your Linksys Broadband router. There is information on the site on this in detail:
    __________________________________________________ ________________________
    "The Diskeeper difference:
    Diskeeper is completely networkable and allows you to control fragmentation remotely across any size network. Superlative networking functionality. Can schedule groups of disks of any size on any and all disk volumes on computers, workgroups or domains throughout the network. Also enables direct connection to a specific computer on the network and remote execution of all Diskeeper operations including analyzing and defragmenting disk volumes, setting schedules, configuring exclusion lists and setting run priorities."
    __________________________________________________ ________________________

    You don't need any large server enterprise edition to defrag across a home network.

    Here's a comparison to XP's Defragmenter made by the same company:
    Comparison to XP's Defrag taken from KB231176:

    Give it a shot. Download here. Compare it to your Speed Disk.

    Here's a good reference Why Diskeeper? and here's a Free Bookefragmentation: The Condition, the Cause, the Cure.

    defrag

  13. #13
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Al,

    Do I remember that you also run Goback? If so, does Diskeeper cause it to stop because of massive disk activities?

    Thanks.
    H Lewton

  14. #14
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    Defrag,

    Thanks for all the info. I think I will give it a try.
    H Lewton

  15. #15
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Partitioning (XP Pro)

    No sorry, twasn't me - I don't use GoBack.

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