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Old August 24th, 2005, 08:48 AM   #1
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partitioning external hard drive?

I'm adding an external hard drive and heard that partitioning can improve performance.

what's the purpose?

does anyone know the pros and cons of partitioning? what's the proceedure?

Thanks all ~

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Old August 24th, 2005, 09:45 AM   #2
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From the measley info I know about this, partitioning is like a poor man's "new" hard drive in that it turns your one hard drive into two. If you need two hard drives but don't want to spring for a new one, then you Partition your (hopefully large) hard drive, making it a virtual two hard drive system. Think of a partition as a brick wall that separates two "rooms" on your hard drive. One room is one hard drive and the other room is another hard drive.

Somebody rescue me if I'm wrong.

You can partition a hard drive through the Windows XP command on the media disk that came with your computer.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 10:12 AM   #3
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If you have an external hard drive, format it NTFS if it came preformatted as FAT32.

You don't need to partition it.

I would partition your OS/system drive, so that part of it is for windows and the other partition for other stuff. It makes Windows easier to re-install.
As well, you can keep fragmentation away from the partitions you store video on. Fragmentation usually happens where lots of little files get created, delete, or changed in size. If you have partitions only for large files, they will be less fragmented (which can help reduce the chance of a dropped frame).
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Old August 24th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #4
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Partitioning drives isn't really necessary any more. It used to be better when drives were slower, but no longer. If you want to do it for organizational purposes, I don't think it hurts much.

Oh, all of this is in the Mac World; I'm not sure about PC Land.

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Old August 24th, 2005, 01:38 PM   #5
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Partitioning actually allow the system to access the media faster and is really only needed when you are using one massive drive. Think of it as this; when the system is looking for particualr media on a drive, it's a lot easier for it to search through a drive that has been partitioned 2,3 or 4 times than it is for it to look on one massive volume. It doesn't create more space, it just spaces it all out evenly. We have 2 500gb drives on each system and we have partitioned them into eight partitions (4 per drive). It also helps when searching for corrupt media because you can quickly narrow it out by partition. We are running Avid Adrenalines ver 1.6 and although it's supposed to automatically quarantine the corrupt media unlike the older Media Composer systems, sometime one will slip through and a partitioned drive will allow you to root out that file faster. As far as a con to doing it, I see none. The only catch is, that the drive must be clean before you do it. You cannot partition with media on the drive. So make your decision before you digitize. Good luck.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #6
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If you're not going all hardcore like Greg above, don't partition, it won't help much, and chances are you'll screw yourself later when one partition gets filled up but the other has space left. What a pain in the @ss that can be. You're much better off seperating the OS from your work/swap space. Now THAT WILL make a difference. OS on one drive, work space on another drive. Other than that, I wouldn't waste your time. Although the ability to reinstall the OS onto one partition sounds kind of nice, you'll still be guessing at how big to make it, and at the end of the day if you're pumping data in/out of one drive, whether it's partitioned or not, isn't going to matter much. RAID or splitting the OS from swap space, those things make a much bigger difference. And, yeah, what he said about NTFS.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #7
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Actually fellas, you can re-allocate drive partitions with data on them via some third party applications. I used one such app on my office pc about a year ago because the C: drive was made small for the OS and the rest was left to the D: drive. I didn't set it up this way, I inherited it from another employee. Long story short, the software worked as advertised and I was able to allocate more space to the C: drive. I had to do this because the space on C: was so low that I couldn't install any new applications or Windows updates because the installer packages always want to use the C: drive for the temp files.

The thoughts on doing this were mainly related to FAT type partitions to keep the file allocation table smaller and help improve the OS's ability to access the desired data on the drive. Maybe less of an issue now with NTFS and indexing.

-gb-
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Old August 24th, 2005, 02:11 PM   #8
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Sorry for the confusion. I am only talking about the partitioning the media drive only and not the system drive. And yes I do agree that partitioning is really only meant for huge drives/projects.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #9
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you should not be having a conversation about partitioning without taking block size into consideration... drives that are dedicated for video use should have much bigger block sizes than a system drive, because video files are huge, and it's a lot easier for the o.s. to keep track of it because there will be far fewer blocks when the size is bigger... you'll also get less file fragmentation... so there is a very small performance gain in doing it that way.

the o.s. drive needs a small block size because the files are much much smaller, and using big block sizes would mean that many blocks would have empty sections with no data.

the point about swap space is a good one... in a perfect world, the swap space wants to be physically located at the fastest section of the platter(outside edge), and it should be unfragmented, which means that it'll want it's own dedicated partition, or better yet, it's own dedicated hard drive... you'll still need a very small swap space on your c: drive, but the vast majority is located as notated above... this situation is well documented on the 'net.

i believe that both winxp and win2k will allow you to set up your pc so that the swap space is deleted every time that you shut down the computer, which also helps to prevent fragmentation of the swap space... it's also a security issue, because every time a new swap file is re-written, it makes it more difficult to track the old swap file info.
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Old August 24th, 2005, 09:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
the point about swap space is a good one... in a perfect world, the swap space wants to be physically located at the fastest section of the platter(outside edge), and it should be unfragmented, which means that it'll want it's own dedicated partition, or better yet, it's own dedicated hard drive... you'll still need a very small swap space on your c: drive, but the vast majority is located as notated above... this situation is well documented on the 'net.
Windows actually puts the swap file in the middle of whatever partition winXP is installed on.

This is to reduce seek times, which is the main 'killer' of hard drive speed.

Anyways... partitioning doesn't matter too much. I highly recommend putting windows onto its own partition, so you can re-install windows easily. If you want to go through the effort, there's ways to move my documents and other things like that off.
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Old August 25th, 2005, 01:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Boston
Actually fellas, you can re-allocate drive partitions with data on them via some third party applications.
-gb-

Partition Magic is one such app. Recommended.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 07:26 AM   #12
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Thanks all. I decided not to partition.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #13
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i have not seen any evidence that winxp always puts the physical swap file location at the center of the disk or partition... if anything, it's been said a number of times that windows locates the swap file at the beginning of the partition... but i'd sure like to see solid evidence of it one way or the other.

the best solution is to put the swap file on a seperate partition from the o.s., if it can't be put on a seperate physical hard drive... in this case, the question would be whether it's advantageous to partition the video drive so that there is an ~2gb partition dedicated to the swap file... that would be the only reason i'd partition the video drive.
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Old August 26th, 2005, 11:20 PM   #14
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If you go into the windows settings and set it to keep the pagefile a fixed size, I don't think you'd need it on its own partition.

2- To kind of see where it is, you can try defragging your hard drive. The utility will show you where everything is, and it can't defrag the pagefile because it's in use. So it'll stay in the middle, and things will move around it.

If you don't have much data on your hard drive, you will see the pagefile sitting in the middle.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 07:23 AM   #15
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It is wrong to host the page file on the same physical disk as the video work disk no matter you dedicate different partition to it.
You better leave it on the OS partition and as Glenn said fix the size or limit it.
You can also use pagedefrag from sysinternals - a free soft that will defrag your page file (after restart) if possible (sometimes it is not possible). They have also contig (soft to make your files contigues) but it is comand line type and I couldn't figure it out. Probably has do be done from real DOS so you need bootable CD with DOS and than type the comands. Whoa just came up with that - I'll try it! (Ultimate bootable CD has everything you need)

No need of third party soft to partition drives (internal or external) from scratch - Win XP can do that. As others said partition only if you need certain file organization.

For example I have 2 big external drives and on each of them I allocated 20-30 GB second partition where I do my backups (OS and My documents, family stuff, photos etc.)
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