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Partitioning Hard Drive

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I have a Dell Dimension 8400 Pentium 4 with 2GB ram. and XP Pro SP2.

Recently after recovering from a hard drive crash, I replaced the existing hard drive, a Maxtor 250 GB Internal drive. I also Bought an additional Seagate 300 GB SATA internal drive for a second back up drive. Instead of leaving them in one partition each, I would like to set up a good back up system capability. I have heard it is best to partition both drives to get better performance and make it easier to recover. what would be a optimal way to partition both drives to ensure i can recover next time i lose a drive. and what is the best back up and recovery software to use.
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