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HD partitions under XP

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Triggaaar, Aug 24, 2005.

  1. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I've now got a machine with 2 300Gb HDs. In the past I've split my drives into partitions, for multiple operating systems, and to help with the limitations of FAT.

    Now that I've joined the civilised world, and have XP, are there any advantages to partitioning hard drives?
     
  2. The Dude

    The Dude
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    For the first disk in a PC I always use a 40gb partition for the OS, and then just format the rest of the disk as one big partition.. two parts means you can always rebuild the OS without having to move the data off the PC

    the second disk, i'd def. just format as one big NTFS partition.

    with two physical drives, there's no real need for anything more than 1 big partition on each disk, as the only real advantages to partitioning things up these days are for defragging etc, which doesn't usually make a noticeable difference anyway..
     
  3. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks. The 40Gb partition you use for your operating system: Do you install motherboard, graphics, soundcard drivers in that section, or do you put those on the next drive?

    Also, is there a utility with XP for disk partitioning, or should I use something like partition magic?
     
  4. rdhir

    rdhir
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    after the fact (Installation) you can use Disk Manager

    Control Panel->AdministrativeTools ->ComputerManagement

    Then expand Storage and choose Disk Management


    Your disks wil appear, even unformatted/unpartitioned and you can now format/partition... It can do all this in the background while you do other things.

    Note that under XP drives are assigned letters, so that when a drive is re-attached, no matter which bus, it should pick up the same drive letter. This can be helpful or annoying. For example trying to replace the C: drive by installing your new one and copying the data across, then plugging it in instead of the old one does not work, if it was the D: drive when you first inserted it , it remains the D: Drive. Anyway there fixes in Microsoft to get round this should the need ever arise.

    You can do quite fancy things if you want in Disk Management. I believe it would be possible for example to create a logical drive which can span multiple disks, so for example lets say you had 260GB left over from disk 0 after the windows partition, you could then add this to drive 1 and have a single 560GB disk. The disadvantage of this is that should either drive fail, then both drives are hosed. Good idea if you need a lot of scratch (ie temporary space) or you have mirrored disks or similar).

    Totally agree on the partition. You should keep Windows, Swap, Temp all separate if you can, or if not put them all in your C: partition. Windows is not as easy to configure as Linux for this because "Microsoft know better and don't want you to manage things".

    If you use photoshop it will recommend keeping temp and adobe temp on separate drives.


    Cheers


    Rajiv

    PS Partition Magic will do all this for you, but it ismore of a necessity if you want to change partions after the fact eg increase the 40GB to 60GB. It will move the files, shrink the other partition and expand the one you want. I've got to say though that I have not used it in five years, not really had the need with XP and modern drive sizes.
     
  5. MikeTV

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    This is just my personal opinion - but with Windows nowadays, I've cannot see any compelling benefit in partioning, except in some obscure scenarios when then no other alternative (eg. perhaps backup strategies or multiple O/S installations) . Nevertheless, there is perhaps a performance advantage in putting the page file on a second disk (which can be done easily after installation - it's just a setting), however, the performance improvement will probably be minimal.

    But I can see drawbacks in partitions - not least of all, the administrative burden.

    A good strategy might be to place windows, your programs and your drivers, etc. on the C: drive, and your data/media on the d: drive.

    No doubt others may disagree with this advice, but I think it ends up being personal preference. I can't remember a situation when I have needed to restore my entire system from a backup image (even if I had an image to restore from!). If my system gets screwed up somehow (hardly ever) I can usually return to a restore point, or uninstall the offending software, or whatever, to get it back up again. And obviously you already have a backup of the O/s and any programs anyway - ie. the original distribution CD's.

    Ideally, I would like my drives to appear as one big drive, instead of two. This would give me the most flexibility. It's a shame windows doesn't support this by default. In this day and age, it is nuts that we still have to refer to devices as c: and d:. We were doing that 20 years ago. Anyway, I digress...
     
  6. lisag

    lisag
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    Interesting - on my main PC I have the master hard drive split into two partitions - one is for windows / programs / drivers / everything system related - the other for data. The second hard drive is one big partition and also has data and back ups of some important, changes a lot data, from the main hard drive.

    I think I probably end up re-installing windows about once a year, because I experiment a lot with new software, drivers, codecs, settings, updates etc... and inevitable it all goes pear shaped eventually!

    Then I just format C: and re-install everything, knowing that my data is all nice and safe and separate.

    I remember seeing a partition magic tutorial years ago which talked about viruses and trojans being contained to one partition if they got in, and not infecting everything?

    lisa
     
  7. rdhir

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    I agree with both of you. The primary value is to keep that Windows partition clean so you can burn ir down and rebuild it and not care. I keep meaning to slipstream an install which has the unattended file to shift documents and settings to the D: drive/partition. This would be a much better default install, and it has the advantage of shifting temp files to the other partition.

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     
  8. The Dude

    The Dude
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    and I agree with all of us.. :D Holy crap, we should work together!! :rotfl:

    I've never actually bothered moving docs&settings either, maybe one day!
    I always make a point of moving each users 'My Documents' to a folder on the D drive after setting up the profile... just in case I get careless in a drunken rebuilding frenzy one dark moonless night... :devil:

    to my mind, as long as there are two partitions available, whether on one disk or two, I'm happy that I have a dude-proof capable system.. just as long as I remember to fully dude-proof it, and hide the admin password from myself...:D

    and as for pagefiles... haven't had one of those to worry about since my last RAM upgrade... :devil:
     
  9. KraGorn

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    I keep my C: (boot) partition to no more than 10Gb. Main reason is that I can use Ghost to image Windows so that device driver updates, patches etc can be rolled back .. System Restore is not a 100% solution in some cases.
     
  10. The Dude

    The Dude
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    fully agreed there too... you can't beat a ghost backup, I make one before making any system changes (drivers,patches etc) just in case.

    Ghost doesn't worry about slack space though Kragorn, you can make your C: partition as big as you like, it's only the amount of data in there that affects the size of the ghost image... unless that's why you keep it small..?

    I never use system restore either, I turn it straight off. Just more disk space wasted in my opinion...

    XP runs absolutely fine with no Virtual Memory in 512mb in case anybody is interested..?
    You'd probably need a gig or more if you use FFDshow etc, but for a basic PC VM died a death as soon as big RAM chips came on the market..;)
     
  11. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    All sounds good advice. Now that I've got XP installed, can I use XP's Disk management to chop my main disk into 2 partitions, or would I have to re-install everything? Or is there any shareware that can do it for me?

    Thanks
     
  12. The Dude

    The Dude
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    no, you cant do that within windows mate , I wouldn't bother trying to be honest.. you have a second disk,
    I'd just use this as the location for 'my documents' ( to move the my docs folder, right click, properties, move etc.. very easy) and then just carry on as you are... it's not really worth chopping partitions around unless you really feel the need to, there are apps that will happily do this for you, but none are shareware so there will be a cost involved.

    If/when you reinstall XP it's worth doing, but not really worth the effort if you've just built the new PC..?
     
  13. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    It's not MyDocs I'm thinking of. PC will be used for my CD collection (FLAC format, so half size ish), an ever growing photo collection, and sky+ recordings. So if (when) XP goes wrong, I'd like to be able to re-install it (or replace with an image) without losing data.

    So I've now got a few questions:
    It won't take me that long to start again. Or...
    1) could I copy an image of XP now, to my 2nd disk, then re-install XP with the correct partition sizes, then copy the image back?
    This is assuming that when I install XP, it allows me to partition the disk?
    2) Also, would I need to buy the ghost image software?

    Lastly
    3) if I were to re-install, what anti-virus software should I go for?
    No one here seems over keen on Norton, and I understand replacing one brand with another can often cause problems, so if I'm re-installing, maybe I should get a new anti virus at the same time.

    Thanks
     
  14. The Dude

    The Dude
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    yep, if you take an image of the system now, and save it on your second drive, ghost allows you to resize the target partition as you load the image back on..

    Ghost rocks, basically!! :thumbsup:


    I swear by McAfee AV, but AVG is very popular and works really well apparently... you'll need somebody else to confirm that though, never use it myself but only because I'm a 'strictly McAfee' guy..
     
  15. KraGorn

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    Yes, it's the image size/time to take that is my reason for keeping it small, I know it analyses the allocation tables/MFT and only backs up used space. :)

    I use Ghost solely as a Windows system backup, including registry etc., I use Second Copy for backing up user-space things like "Documents and Settings" in C: as well as backing up all other partitions .. and the Ghost images themselves .. to other disks and network drives.

    I use the older version which boots into DOS to do the backup, I never did like Drive Image's on-the-fly backup method which Symantec rolled into Ghost 9, that to some extent drives my desire to minimise the size/time of the image but even if I used on-the-fly I think I'd still do it like this. What I'm doing is protecting my bootable system. other backup methods deal with file backup.

    The other 'must have' tool as far as I'm concerned is Partition Magic, the number of times this has allowed me to alter things which otherwise would have been impossible or require major reinstallation are legion.


    To the OP: get Ghost and Partition Magic, you'll wonder how you lived without them. :smashin:
     
  16. eviljohn2

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    I run a dual disc drive system as you plan to Triggaaar, 80GB (split into 50 Win 98 + major applications and 30 for SuSE) plus another 120GB slave for all of my data and it works really well. I've actually got a 10GB partition at the end of the slave for the swap file and the Windows temporary folders but I've set the autoexec.bat to clear it all out on every boot. :cool: After getting my machine running the way I wanted I ghosted a copy of C: onto D: and then vice versa so I'll never lose too much (thanks Dude). :smashin:

    When I was only running a single drive it was godsend that I'd partitioned it as the boot sector failed so I couldn't run the OS but was still able to save everything from the data partition - a pair of drives is even safer though.

    WRT Antivirus I used to use Mcafee until the license ran out and never had any trouble with it but AVG does pretty much the same for free albeit with a clunky interface. :)
     
  17. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I've used Ghose and Partition magic before, on a previous system, but as discussed above, there may be no need for partition magic now (for most of us).

    If I'm to start this today, are there any trial downloads (inc McAfee)? Otherwise I'll have to order evreything, and can't start for a day or two. I've got the free version of AVG on my 98 machine. The machine has so many problems, I'm not sure how good AVG is.

    Seperate issue, please advise
    I'm now typing on my old machine, because explorer keeps crashing on XP. I've downloaded SP2, and there's so little on my machine, it's difficult to imagine there should be anything wrong. I haven't downloaded any software (except SP2), I've only installed what came with the PC. Any ideas?
     
  18. The Dude

    The Dude
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    crikey... I've never encountered so much agreement in a PCs thread ever!! :D

    DOS ghost (6.5) for me too mate... I've used 9.0 but dont like it.. besides, you cant beat a standalone .exe that you can run from anywhere... :thumbsup:
     
  19. The Dude

    The Dude
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    I'd try re-applying SP2 and see if that fixes things... sounds like some of the supplied software is using old versions of some windows components...

    always a good first port of call when you're troubleshooting OS problems..
     
  20. probedb

    probedb
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    For me I use a separate partition for the swap file which seems better than taking up room elsewhere on another partition but totally agree about having one partition for the OS then whatever else you want.
     
  21. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Running Windows Update thoroughly might find it too, also making sure that you've got the latest drivers and things. :)
     
  22. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Where can I get Dos ghost (6.5)?

    Re my XP problem - although I only installed SP2 yesterday, the advice is to try windows updates again, rather than re-installing (if I re-installed, I'd get SP2 before installing graphics drivers etc). And re getting latest drivers, which ones should I update (motherboard, graphics card)?

    Thanks everyone.
     
  23. The Dude

    The Dude
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    I'd just re-run XPSP2, honestly... it won't affect any drivers etc.

    you should always re-run the latest windows service pack after installing any software, just in case.. it can't hurt anything, and may just sort things out..
     
  24. The Dude

    The Dude
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    did you get anywhere with the explorer problem mate..? sorry if i was a bit brief earlier, was on the way out of the door.....
     
  25. MikeTV

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    I suspect, if I were changing the configuration a lot, I'd be doing similar things to everyone else with partitions, and perhaps using Ghost too. But someone has to be contrarian!

    I tend to replace my drives from time to time, and usually that's when I consider reinstalling the system. (a "courtesy reformat/reinstall" :)

    And my thought process is, if a drive fails, having neat partitions may not help much.

    If I want to separate my system and data, I put the data in a folder or second drive. Obviously, backing-up data, in any case.

    But perhaps this is because I try not tinker too much. I get enough of PC's at work, and so don't want to mess about at home.

    On the Anti Virus issue, I scan, maybe once a month (using Norton, as it happens). However, if behind a hardware firewall, and not downloading dubious software, or opening strange attachments, you should be pretty safe. So I have the AV software entirely off, mostly - it just slows everything down. I also fully patch Windows XP at all times. I also do spyware scans, at similar intervals. When I remember...
     
  26. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Not at all, thanks for your help.

    Due to the trial version of partition magic apparently allowing you to do everything but partition your drive - and the fact that my dvd and card reader take up drives d to h (meaning my data drives would be i & j) - and SP2 hadn't installed, I started again.

    With a new installation of XP, and drivers for ethernet connection only, I then tried to install SP2. Virtually impossible. I went to microsoft, and select 'download and install SP2' about 4 times. Each time, I switch automatic updates on, or tried custom, and it forgot about SP2 and gave me other updates. Eventually, doing the same thing, I have installed SP2, so hopefully I'll have a more robust system.

    I won't bother with partition magic, as I don't think I'll need to create new drives. I just need to choose the cheapest ghost/image program to back up the OS drive.
     
  27. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Now installing AVG Free, and I'll pop Spybot on as well.

    Should I use the Netgear router as a firewall, or the AV software, or both?
     
  28. The Dude

    The Dude
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    use the routers firewall definitely, it's one of the best out there.. I'd say it's only really worth running a SW firewall to monitor any programs phoning home etc.. consequently I don't bother with SW firewalls at all.. others will disagree though.. :D
     
  29. eviljohn2

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    I don't use a software firewall, just the hardware Belkin router which seems to work well enough.

    AVG doesn't have any firewall capabilities - it's just an Antivirus program.
     
  30. rdhir

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    I AGREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

    Software Firewalls are a complication for most people. A router will block most things when combined with AV software.

    Cheers

    Rajiv
     

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