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Is there a downside to having partitions?


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#1
ginastu

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Hi,

Could you please tell me if having a partition for C drive (containing OS only) along with a partition for D drive (containing data only) causes higher wear and tear?

I have been told that it is better for the longetivity of a hard drive if there are no partitions.

I recently had a HDD fail that had 3 partitions, ie on 80 gig Maxtor IDE. I also had a 200 gig WD SATA. I now have an extra 2 of WD 320 gig SATA drives, one of which has my newly loaded WIN XP pro. The only thing is that initially loading win XP, the only option available was to accept a default maximum C drive partition of approx 130 gig. When I loaded SP2, my system could then see the remaining unallocated space on that hard drive.

If I desire to have the full 320 gig available as my c drive, I would have to build a slipstream version of win XP containing SP2 but I am not sure the time and effort would be worth it.
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#2
jaxisland

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I truly believe that this is a matter of opinion. On my servers I isolate the OS partition but not on desktops. The biggest difference I see is data on a seperate drive from the OS. I would say its a draw and a matter of what you like. But others may have a more technical approach.
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#3
Neil Jones

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All hard drives have at least one partition. It's not possible to store data on a drive without having at least one partition because it has to be formatted, and you can't format a partitionless drive.

The standard rule of thumb (for a Windows system) is to have one big hard drive partition, called Drive C and dump everything on it there. Having a separate partition can in certain situations create more work. Putting your Windows Swap File on a second partition on the same disk Windows is installed on, for example, is the worst possible thing you could do as that will generate so much work for the drive and Windows you will notice the decrease in speed almost immediately.

The thing you have to be careful about if you're doing a separate partition for stuff on a drive, is that Windows will present it as an entirely separate drive and treat it as an entirely separate drive. You have to remember that this is not the case and when the drive does eventually wear out, both partitions will go with it. I have seen systems that have been set up as Drives C, D and E, their Drive C doesn't work anymore and their important stuff is on Drive E.

Edited by Neil Jones, 03 July 2007 - 03:36 PM.

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#4
dsenette

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having multiple partitions on a single drive is common practice when you've got a single drive system....generally you will have a partition for windows then a partition for your data files (some people make a seperate partition for applications...but there's a reason why that's only good in theory and not practice)....

there are drawbacks to this setup...#1 as stated...this doesn't protect you from an actual drive failure #2 if you make y our system partition (the one with windows on it) too small....it can get hairy when it fills up

the advantage is that if you have a windows corruption...you can format JUST that partition and reinstall windows without affecting your data files (documents, music, movies, pictures etc..)

a MUCH better sollution is a multidrive system (as you describe)....where you put your OS on a rellatively small physical disk (12 gig is usually more than enough...though it's almost impossible to find drives smaller than 40 these days)...and have one or more larger physical disks for your data storage....

the advantage of this setup is that your data drives won't be affected if your system disk fails....you can also simply pull the data disk out and pop it into another computer to transfer files (if you buy a new PC or want to share ALOT of pictures or files with someone else)

with the pricing on modern HIGH capacity high speed drives...a multidrive system is the way to go for sure....and with the availabillity of easy to configure raid controllers having multiple disks can also allow for data redundancy on a home computer (something that was difficult if even available in years past)
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#5
ginastu

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Thanks everybody,
I think I shall run with C partition as defaulted by loading of win XP, ie approx 130gig and remainder as a 2nd partition (170 gig). I am already fairly committed to this as I have been loading applications into C drive. I will store all data on the other 320 gig HDD (no partition) including the "My Documents" from all the profiles.

Anyway, to prepare for the same event happening some time into the future, I am looking into ghosting my C drive, which I am assuming will include all the drivers and applications. I may even get myself a 40 or 60 gig HDD as Dsenette suggests, and plant the ghost image onto this.

Correct me if I am wrong but from what I have been reading recently, you can get better performance by having the swap file on a HDD other than the one your OS is on. Any comments?
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#6
jaxisland

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Yes moving it to another drive will help improve performance.
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