View Full Version : Did I go Partition Crazy with my new Master Drive?
July 1st, 2004, 10:51 AM
The sudden urge for some PC "summer" cleaning hit me last night, so I hit the electronics store and bought a new 120GB HDD to replace my master drive (as well as an ADS USB2 enclosure for the old drive). Time to start a fresh installation of Win XP Pro on a nice, new, clean hard drive...
I thought I'd be clever and create multiple partitions on the Master drive this time around. I created an 8GB partition for the OS, a 10GB partition for Program Files, 20GB for Music, and the rest for video and all other files. (I already have a virtual memory/page file partition on the slave drive)
Was this too much? In particular, should I have just created one 20GB partition for both the OS and Program Files? It seemed like a good idea at the time -- keeping the operating system as secluded from everything else as possible. But as I was reinstalling some programs, they automatically installed in the C: drive (with no option of "browsing" to a new install folder). The C: drive is already using approx. 3.5GB of the 8GB available. How much free space will Windows need to "breathe" on that partition? Is it OK to have two Program File folders on separate partitions (as far as I know it is, but you never know...)? Should I just start over before I load on any more programs and files and create one large partition for Win XP and all the Program Files (plus the one for music and the one for video, etc)?
July 1st, 2004, 11:23 AM
Well I would stick the OS and programs on one partition
personally since if something stops working you would probably
want to re-install both. And if you need to re-install your OS
you don't have any need for your program files partition.
If the swap file is off the main partition then windows needs
little breathing room EXCEPT temporary space for internet
explorer (which can easily be 500 MB, check your settings)
and other programs that might need it.
The rest of the partitioning is fine. How large and fast is your
swap drive? And how much memory do you have? Depending
on your answers it might be better to just use that harddisk
for OS, programs and swap and use the 120 GB solely for your
data / video needs.
July 1st, 2004, 11:30 AM
John, you can get Partition Magic to modify the sizes of your partitions easily and without having to reload your system. The program is easy to use and works well.
July 1st, 2004, 11:32 AM
Jim has an excellent point which I wanted to make as well. But
I backed out for the following reason. This will break the programs
that are now on your "program files partition" since they no
longer are on the drive letter they expect to be on.
So I would at least un-install those programs before doing this
and then re-install them. But if you are just starting I would
wipe and start clean.
July 1st, 2004, 12:27 PM
Thanks for your responses
Both drives in my computer are now Western Digital 120GB drives with 8MB cache. Based on what I've understood, it's better to have your virtual memory partition on a separate physical drive than the OS. Besides, I've already got other stuff on the slave drive that I don't want to have to rearrange (virtual memory is only a 2GB partition anyway, so it's not taking up much space).
I assumed that I'd have to reinstall the programs anyway if I ever reinstalled the OS, but I also assume there would be a benefit to keeping the OS a self-contained as possible, just so there is as little "activity" going on around it as possible (program installs, app updates, etc). There was a post I found in this section where someone else wrote about having one partition for the OS and another for Program Files, but I can't seem to find it now. In particular, I remember s/he mentioned having a 20GB (!) partition just for Program Files. On my previous master, program files only took up 3.63GB of space, so 10GB seemed like enough...
Is there perhaps something detrimental about having a separate Program Files partition, though?
Jim -- At this point, I'd rather not have to fool aound with (or buy) Partition Magic. My point is to have as clean and fresh an install of XP as possible, so I'd rather just start over, as Rob mentioned. If I were asking this question in 6 months, though, I might consider PM...
July 1st, 2004, 12:50 PM
Good point Rob. I didn't even think of that gotcha.
My use of Partition Magic was to increase my C: drive because of the way Sony configures their new computers with a small C: partition and large secondary partition. I ran out of space quickly and needed to increase my C: partition.
July 1st, 2004, 01:29 PM
found the thread:
Near the bottom, Kevin King mentioned that his OS in on a 10GB partition and Program Files are on a 30GB partition. Maybe I can drop him a line and get his input on how that's working out for him...
July 1st, 2004, 04:28 PM
Hello all - I got your email John.
As stated, my C: partition for my OS is 10GB. The only files on the partition are windows and the very few items it installs be default in Program Files. I don't use my "My Documents" folder, but even if you do, there is an option in the OS somewhere to save your "My Documents" to a path and drive (partition) other than the default.
I run XP Pro, and my OS partition is currently 5.05 GB Used, 4.07 Free - so an 8 GB OS partition should be fine.
My applications partition is my D: drive, and it is set to 30 GB. I have the entire Adobe Suite installed, plus DreamWeaver, Flash, and a handfull of other medium sized apps installed, and they only fill up this partition to about 7 GB.
My last partition is for data and fills the rest of my system drive. I keep all my files, business stuff, downloads, etc, on this drive. I have a couple of other drives in the box exclusively for video capture and storage.
So how does this work for me?
I've been in IT as a tech for many years, and I've always made it a rule to install the OS and Applications on different partitions, this is for sevreal reasons. The main, is that once in a while Windows goes nuts. An install goes crazy, get a virus, registry gets corrupt, whatever - and for some reason you have to reload your machine from scratch because windows is FUBAR.
When this happens, you simply re-format and re-install windows on your OS partition. The data on your other partitions is still intact. You re-install all your apps with their install progs, point their install directory to the directories the programs already exist in on your apps partition. MANY programs will realize the files are already there and simply update your windows registry to regain function of those apps.
In the worst case, the original app files are over-written, but usually, preference files, filters, presets, plugins, and so on are not over written, and thus you can imediately use them again when you open the app under the fresh install for the first time. (Ever had to re-install plugins, presets, actions, etc, for an install of photoshop you've had running for 2 years? You'll be there for a while).
Also, defrags are much faster. The OS partition becomes fragged pretty quickly, but application files are fairly stable and won't need as much defrag - so when you do defrag, doing only the OS partition is much faster than doing a big partition with lots of large apps on it.
In operation, I don't think you'll see any difference one way or the other - this is just something I've learned in the 'school of life' about making a complete failure a bit less painfull.
July 1st, 2004, 07:51 PM
If you use Norton Ghost you can quickly bring your computer back to life. Norton Ghost makes a copy of a hard drive partition and compresses it to another partition. You can wipe your hard drive clean and put the copy of the partition back on in roughly 10 minutes.
However, Norton takes some time to setup. Check the Radified Guide to Norton Ghost.
This is mildly helpful. In environments with multiple computers with the same image, Ghost is very, very useful.
2- I find it helpful to create an installs directory on your hard drive. Just put all your installers here, and maybe create text files of all the various serials you need. This is really useful if your computer is networked and you want to get another computer up and running quickly.
July 3rd, 2004, 05:49 AM
John: in my opinion using a seperate drive is not that usefull
anymore these days (I usually do have it for a server, but that
is for other reasons). Let me elaborate:
1) current drives are pretty fast these days
2) once you are working in a program the OS/program drive does not have _THAT_ much to do anymore.
3) most PC's have at least 512 MB and don't use a swap file that much anymore
Point 3 depends on how much memory you have and which
programs etc. you are running. My current machine has 1 GB
of ram and a 2.5 GB swapfile to be safe. But I rarely see it
being used. Windows does allocate memory from it to probably
have handy when needed....
So personally I would not use a different swap partition or
drive anymore. Now if you are running XP on 128 MB it might
be a different thing. But I suggest in this case to get much more
July 10th, 2004, 09:24 AM
Sorry to jump back in so late, but I was feeling like a hypocrit: I e-mailed Kevin to thank him for posting his answer as oppossed to just replying to my e-mail, leaving this thread unanswered for future readers (don't you hate it when you search a forum for an answer to your question, only to find threads that trailed off without ever following up on the original question?). Of course, now I feel obligated to drop in with my own follow up.
Decided to reformat the drive again and give the OS and Program File partitions about 3 more GBs each, just to be safe. Moved My Documents to a separate "Music" partition. Seem to be happy with the results.
By the way, the $50 ADS USB2 enclosure for the old master drive has been a big help, too, especially as I forgot to backup all my fonts and my IE favorites. And while I don't think I'd use it for capturing video, once I'm ready to wipe it clean, it'll make a good storage space for alot of my data and backups, clearing up room on the drives I do capture with.
Rob -- I seem to find the swap file useful, particularly when using After Effects and Photoshop. Even with 768MB of memory, the swap file seems to help, particularly with larger, more intense processes in AE or when working on print design in PShop.
Thanks for everyone's help. Let's meet again for the next project: Building a faster PC for video editing...when I get the money. :)