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Windows 7: Separate Data Partition - Why???

09 May 2010   #11

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Thanks, Nighthawk,

I currently have one HD in my notebook with 110GB, which was previously 80 system+ data and 30 for system backup images. Last night I used Partition Magic to expand my system backup images partition to 50, but now realize I do not need to do that if I am going to only image the system and not the data. So, I am going to use Partition Magic to reduce it back to 30, leaving 20 for data, and 60 for system. Then, for now, I am going to subscribe to Mozy online unlimited, currently I am using the Home (limited) version, and backup all of my Data + System Images to Mozy. Then, when I can afford to add hardware, I am probably going to add NAS, so that I can backup in the background over the network, like I now do with Mozy.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #12
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

Another place I tend to leave files believe it or not is the Windows Live Hotmail's SkyDrive! You can add files all day long and the storage will simply grow as well as managing online folders. Cloud is another thing coming in fast for commercial as well as private there!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #13

Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition

Isn't Skydrive pretty slow?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 May 2010   #14
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

I think moving around between folders there is the slow part since you end up reloading the main SkyDrive page while uploading docs and files go rather swiftly. If you already are using the Live Hotmail that's one option to take advantage of however rather then any paid online storage.

With SkyDrive another program someone mentioned sometime back is the Gladinet Cloud Desktop which allows you to have a virtual folder on your main drive for direct uploads into SkyDrive. That came in quite handy when first getting the XP Mode and other VM OSs up and running where only the XP Mode offered the integrated components support for direct access to your regular drives.

Have any files you need on a virtual hard drive but not in the XP Mode? That was a large help for seeing files uploaded and then transferred to the vhd. With something like SkyDrive you can also share things with your regular Live contacts including photos, docs, various files, etc. rather then seeing a file attached being too large to send. There is the size limit of 50mb per file however.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #15

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Retail)

Couple of points in regards to the OP's questions:

The tutorial referenced by another poster above, shows you how to move the location of the main user data folders (e.g., documents, videos, photos, music, downloads) without messing up the pointers (or whatever they're called) that let other programs properly find and interact with these folders.

There are several advantages for separating out the user data in those folders from the partition the OS is on. For one thing, doing so will greatly reduce the size of the OS partition enabling the user to migrate the OS to a smaller, much faster, SSD drive. Even if you don't intend to do that right now, you probably will want to at some point in the future when SSD drives become more affordable. So it doesn't hurt to get that OS partition down to a smaller size to be ready for migrating the OS partition to an SSD eventually.

Another advantage is that once the OS and the data are on separate partitions, you can backup the OS and the data separately on different schedules and, optionally, to different, storage media (perhaps making use of smaller backup drives that wouldn't be able to hold both the OS and data together).

For example, after I split out my user data folders to a second internal D drive, my OS (and installed programs) partition only contained about 80 GB of files. The data partition located on a separate drive contained about 180 GB of data. This enabled me to set up separate schedules and storage locations for the OS backup and the data backup. The OS gets backed up to an old 200 GB laptop drive I wasn't using which is connected to my laptop via a hard drive dock that connects via the esata port on my laptop. If the data was included in that backup, it wouldn't fit on that 200 GB drive. So breaking it apart like that enabled me to make good use of this old 200 GB drive. Also, because of the fast transfer speed of the esata connection as well as the now smaller size of the partition to be backed up, making a complete (not incremental) encrypted backup of the OS partition now takes less than 10 minutes using Acronis TIH. Since backups of that partition now complete so quickly, it makes it more convenient for me to set a more frequent back up schedule and to make more complete (i.e., non incremental) backups, which imo are more reliable than making numerous incremental backups on top of one complete backup.

Also, in my particular case (which might not apply to someone else) I don't feel the need to back up the data partition as frequently as I do the OS/programs partition, so since they are on separate partitions, I can have each of those backups running on a different schedule as appropriate.

If you use a good backup program like Acronis, Macrium or Paragon etc., scheduling these backups is easy and is not really any more complicated than backing up one huge partition that contains everything all in one (more time consuming) shot.

I'm sure there are additional advantages but these are the ones that jump out to me and that have made a real difference and convenience to me since I followed the above mentioned tutorial (thanks Brink) and put my data folders on a separate partition (actually a separate physical drive, in my case).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #16
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

That would work well for the desktop where you have the room for a second even 3rd or 4th and the last build here 5th HD to work with. Unfortunately juanantonoid is only working with a 110gb 2.5" HD in a notebook where only some portable units allow you to remove the optical drive to add in a second HD.

Compact is compact there unfortunately where most simply opt to buy an external usb drive for use as a main storage/backup device. The online option however eliminates the need to carry a portable HD around along with a notebook or laptop where you simply download and open or upload files to be saved until sometime later you can download them for local storage.

Here I invested in extra drives for more then desktop since I still keep XP and Vista updates and other files onhand for older builds in order to wipe their drives and restore them for use. for example one old XP case being set up for a new owner(student use) will first need to be cleaned thoroughly(entire drive wiped clean) once the updates stored locally on that drive no longer available are backed up first.

For preserving an entire drive like the new build's own and while both the Macrium Reflect and Acronis are great programs I have been creating full system images which will restore everything intact the way it was at the time the image is created. A large enough second D partition on a small drive or second drive will store the image until and if needed at some point later.

Images can also be stored on several blank dvd-rws if you have the time and the blank disks onhand and lack the drive space for them. That's one good thing first seen with Vista Ultimate and now in most editions of 7!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #17

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Retail)

Actually, I'm on a laptop that has two internal hard drives, plus I'm using a combination of external USB drives (in their own enclosures) plus a Thermaltake 3.5/2.5 inch hard drive dock that connects via either esata or USB 2.0.

Btw, I highly recommend getting a hard drive dock that supports both desktop and laptop sata drives because the docks are inexpensive and they allow using bare desktop or laptop hard drives which are also usually less expensive than buying external hard drives with their own enclosures. The bare drives pop in and out of the "dock" like bread in a toaster. Very convenient for backing up and keeping the drives off (i.e., out of the network) when not actually engaged in backing up.

Also, if the user gets one that has an esata connection as well as USB, one can make use of the much faster esata connection, if available on the user's current machine. I guess USB 3.0 will soon be another commonly available fast connection option.

Anyway, these hard drive docks are really very inexpensive. Newegg had a good one (the same one I'm using) on sale last week for ~$24 after MIR with free shipping to the continental US. But they normally cost in the $30's with free shipping from Amazon which is still very inexpensive for such a useful and versatile piece of equipment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #18

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Followed instructions, now need help.

Hi all,

First, thanks a lot for the discussion about all of the methods of making backups. I ended up breaking up my 110GB HD into 3 partitions, c: for the OS+apps (50GB), d: for windows 7 recovery system images (30GB), of which I will keep 3:first, fresh stable install, latest stable install, and the install before that, and j: for data (30GB). Periodically, I will delete the previous system image and create a new fresh install image. For the short term, I am going to subscribe to Mozy unlimited for backing up both the data and images. Then, when I can afford to buy storage space, and figure out how I want to do it, I will backup to external storage instead.

Now, having "moved" all of my "data" files from c:\users\antonio to j:\, following the instructions in the whs video tutorial to the letter, I have a problem.

This is how I started:

I looked at my C: drive libraries, they each had "folders" in them named My Documents, etc. (from now on when I say this it also applies to Pictures, Videos, and Music as well). So, I went to the new J: partition and created My Documents, etc. folders. [As directed by the video tutorial.] Then, when I went to the properties of the My Documents folder, to "Move Location", and the existing folder location was named simply Documents. So, I renamed the destination folder to Documents, to follow the instructions in the video to the letter. Then I moved the Documents from the C:\users\antonio\documents to J:\documents.

Here is the part I do not understand. the folder in the J: partition is named "My Documents" instead of just Documents. It seems as though the procedure was correct, but somehow the system thought on its own to rename the folder My Documents. (See the attached image of my C: and J: directories after the move.)

I know that the "My" structure was created (I think) by Microsoft when it came out with some version of Windows a while back, but I thoght that I read they dropped the "My" with Windows 7.

What is correct? What should I do?

I also checked in the Documents folder in the tree on the right side and it still has files in it, but as you can see, it no longer has the Documents icon on the folder. Also, when I go to properties, it says they are in the C:\users\antonio\ directory. It appears that they are not the same files. I just created the ~Antonio folder in the C: (right hand side) and it did not appear even after refreshing the J: (left side). Also, the "Auto Purchase 2010" folder is missing from the right side C: , but it is correctly listed (I think) in the left side. Help!

The other folders (Music, Video, Photos) in the C: drive, are empty. But the ones on the J: partition contain the correct files. I also checked in DOS (otherwise known as command prompt) and these are indeed separate file folder structures.

How did I get a "duplicate" copy of my documents, albeit not the current one, and can I delete the one on C: if the one on J: is correct, or is there some operating system redirect that is not apparent, and I will end up deleting all my documents?

Also, why did it leave behind the empty folders Music, Photos, and Videos, in the source directory? Can these folders be safely deleted?

Please let me know your thought; I appreciate hearing from you all.


Attached Thumbnails
Separate Data Partition - Why???-hard-disk-file-sturcture.png   Separate Data Partition - Why???-hard-drive-documents-structure.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #19
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

The default folder name under your user account name in 7 is "My Documents". Apparently one attempt saw Windows name the duplicate folder on the other partition correctly. You don't want to delete the one presently found on C however. Any empty duplicates on the other partition are yours to decide on there and if found empty are rather useless if the original still shows files there.

For hand picking individual items like files and folders the Windows Easy Transfer is the tool for selective backups like that while creating a System Image with the Backup & Restore option in the Control Panel takes a snapshot of the entire OS drive or partition actually turning everything into an archive in the location you driect it to.

Note when going to restore an image everything presently seen on C is wiped in order to unpack the image previously created. But you should find all programs working as they had been at the time the image was created. I ran a test on that lately to revert the system from it's March condition back to what was on at the beginning of the year and that was what was seen!

For saving more then one image you can add a letter or number onto the name of the folder name so that the next image won't simply overwrite it since you will be using the exact same location(D) for each new one. Eventually however you have to remove one or more as the 30gb fills rather quickly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #20

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Need Help with Outlook Error Also...

I also moved my Outlook.pst file, but I'm getting an error when I try to check email. (See attached Outlook error message.) What can I do to fix this?


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Separate Data Partition - Why???-outlook-error.png 
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Separate Data Partition - Why???

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