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Windows 7: Partitioning a New Computer

04 Apr 2014   #1
27dgb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Partitioning a New Computer

What is the best partitioning arrangement? I have a new computer with a 1TB HDD and have created a partition for the Windows 7 OS and programs I install of about 300GB and another partition of about 265GB for data files.

1. I would like to know if this is the best arrangement and if not what is.
2. I would also appreciate advice on moving data folders/files to the new partition and enuring that is where they go in the future.
3. Is it advisable to move any of the user data folders to the new partition.

In anticipation, I appreciate all the advice I can get on the best and easiest way of doing the above.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #2
TanyaC

Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon | Win 7 Ult x64
 
 

There are lots of ways of partitioning drives, and there really is no right or wrong. It's really about what suits your needs best.

Having said that, Windows 7 will use about 15 - 20gb depending on several factors. Applications often around the same, depending on the number of installed applications.

I have allocated a 96gb partition for my windows and applications (This is on a 256gb SSD, the rest of that drive is allocated for media encoding work).

I have a 2tb spinner drive. It is split into 4 partitions. One for games, one for authoring of movies, one for temporary storage of media before I burn it to disk and one for other uses. I could have just as easily partitioned it as a single drive.

In regards to your user data.. I prefer to move this off the windows drive because it reduces the chances of me wiping it out if I have to reinstall windows (by forgetting to back it up), and reduces the writes to my SSD.

I have likewise moved my temp folders off the SSD (I have 32gb of ram so I have set aside 4gb of that for a RAMDrive where all my temp files are stored). Again, this reduces the writes to the SSD.

Moving the location of user data can be done with 3rd party applications or by tweaking the registry, or via this method.. Redirect a folder to a new location - Microsoft Windows Help

By default, most applications will then write data to the new location.

Of course, backing up your data to an external device, such as USB drive, is always good practice, regardless whether you leave My Documents in it's default location or move it.

hth
Tanya
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #3
27dgb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for the advice Tanya.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #4
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

The benefit of moving the User data folders off of C is that it makes the image of C smaller so that if Win7 becomes irreparable you can reimage C in 20 minutes and your files are current and safe in their separate data vault.

The only reason not to actually move the User Folders - Change Default Location to the data partition is if you want to use Win7 backup imaging which will deem the data drive a System drive and force it's inclusion in the image. So for this reason many of us prefer another imaging program like Acronis or free Macrium - Image your system

If you want to use Win7 imaging or otherwise need to leave your User shell folders on C, you can link copies of them from the data drive to their respective Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums and even make the data partition folder the default using Library - Set Save Folder - Windows 7 Help Forums.

I personally sort all of my files into User folders which works best for many reasons, then move them to the data partition where they are also sync'd to my other devices using this modern method to Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #5
DavidE

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

I agree with everything Tanya and Greg said.
To that I'll add, Defragging and Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware scans can be important considerations.
They can be time consuming and use a lot of PC resources.

i.e.
I use to use a 3rd party defragger - not anymore - I use the built in Win 7 defrag.
When I realized/understood the time spent defragging to "consolidate" 2 fragments for a 4 GB video, I thought "this is crazy".
I stored Videos in a separate data partition.
I quit using 3rd party defrag programs.
Windows defrag works for me ... it has intelligence to know what and when to defrag automatically.

also:
What AV/AM programs you use and how you scan can make a big difference ...

I have my data on "non-C" partition(s) using Libraries.
In some ways Libraries are not as good as what I did with XP "moving location" for my data, but in some ways it's better ...
For me the Pros out-weigh the Cons using Libraries ...

Just saying what programs you use for Defrag/AV/AM and how you use them can be important.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #6
27dgb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Thanks for your quick response and the information supplied gregrocker and DavidW7ncus. I will read up on the information about moving user folders and Libraries, but I must admit I find it very confusing. From what I have read so far it seems that Microsoft and many other people advise strongly against moving the default user folder C:\Users or C:\Users\David to another partition (i.e. I:\).

I just want a simple way of ensuring future data files relating to documents, misc, videos, photos will, by default, go to a relevant folder on I:\ so that I can regularly back up changes and if I ever have to re-install the operating system they are not going to be wiped out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #7
gregrocker
Microsoft MVP

 

I explained the only reason why one should not move the User folders. If you don't use Win7 backup imaging then there's no reason you cannot do this. I do it, many others do it. MS hasn't made any pronouncements on it to my knowledge.

If you have questions, feel free to ask all you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #8
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Generally speaking, the only partitions one needs are to separate the OS and programs from data. Multiple partitions for different kinds of data is both overkill and can limit the amount of space one has for data. Example: you have a 1TB HDD divided into two 500GB partitions (this is just an example so ignore the fact the formatted sizes actually will be smaller). One partition is for, say, photos, and the other is for videos. Overtime, you could fill up, say, the video partition while still having plenty of room in the photo partition. To be able to add more videos, you would either have to put them on the folder partition or resize your partitions (the latter not being without some risk).

However, if you had only one partition on the 1 TB HDD and instead, put the photos in one folder and the videos in another folder, each folder will expand only enough to hold what you put into it. As long as there is empty space on the HDD, each folder can expand into that space as data is added. That way, you haven't limited the amount of available space to only a specified part of the HDD, only the total capacity of the HDD.

One argument for having multiple data partitions is to simplify imaging for backups, especially when much of the data is static (does not change). However, for backing up data, imaging is not the most practical way of backing up data. A folder/file syncing program is much more efficient plus the data is much more readily accessible. A folder/file sync/program only writes or deletes data that has changed since the previous sync whereas imaging images the entire partition(s). Incremental and differential imaging can reduce the size and time required for imaging once a base image has been made but are not without risk.

Having multiple data partitions does have its uses. For example, some people like to have a small partition set aside for test purposes. However, mere segregation of data is not really necessary when folders can accomplish the same thing without adding additional limits to the utilization of available space.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #9
TanyaC

Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon | Win 7 Ult x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Multiple partitions for different kinds of data is both overkill and can limit the amount of space one has for data.
Well, I suppose I'm known for overkill

I like having my drives set aside for specific usages. And it seems orderly to my "obsessively over-organized" mind. Maybe I have OCD?

Though, I don't think I'm losing that much space. Let's see we have the mft, ntfs properties, partition table.. And in today's world of big drives (size does matter), it doesn't seem like worth worrying about.

Although... I did run out of letters in the alphabet, because I have over a dozen drives for my stuff on my server, until I found other ways to "map" them.

My machine is dual boot though, so there has to be partitions for the other OS.. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2014   #10
27dgb

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Thanks to all those who have provided suggestions on this subject to date. I am still having trouble coming to grips with the specific folder/s to be moved and the actual process to do so. I am learning, so please be patient.

gregrocker, if I understand you correctly I can move the user data folder and all sub-folders from C:\Users to I:\Users without harming the operating system and from then on all relevant files will go to the respective folders on the data (I:\) partition. My concern with using the first method set out under "User Profile - Change Default Location" is that every time I image C:\ containing the OSmy data partition (I:\) and all that is on it will also be imaged, creating a huge image. I also presume that if something goes wrong with the OS and I have to restore it from a previous image, that image is going to overwrite anything new in my data partition.

I am not part of a homegroup so I presume that method is not relevant to my situation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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