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Windows 7: primary vs extended partition

22 Jan 2011   #1
AndyH W7f

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
primary vs extended partition

Before I installed Win 7, I partitioned a new HD, using another system. Now I understand better how the process works, but there were no hints while I went along. I want a number of partitions for particular purposes: the OS, my data storage, large audio and graphics projects. I like to work on a project in its own partition so that, when it is completed and I delete everything, the partition is quite empty, not needing of defragmenting, and simple to organize for the next project.

Anyway, the partitioning process creates primary partitions, with no choice given, if one sets the partition size at less than what is available on the drive. Thus I have three primary partitions and one extended partition. I understand I could go back and delete everything except the OS partition and start over, making one extended partition, then subdivide that.

What I want to know is if there is any reason to do so. Should it make any difference to me, with no plans for multiple OS installations, if I leave the several primary partitions in place, or if the disk is changed to be just the OS partition plus a subdivided extended partition?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2011   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello AndyH W7f, welcome to Seven Forums!



There is nothing wrong or right with the way your partition structure is set-up.

You can create as many Logical drives within the Extended partition as there are available drive letters, the only limiting factor is the amount of available space to do so within the Extended partition.

If you would like, post a snip of your disk management drive map for us to look at to see if anything is out of order; use this info below to do so.

Converting a Basic disk to a Dynamic disk is a very bad idea if you have no need to do so.
information   Information

In the Windows start menu right click computer and click manage, in the left pane of the "Computer Management" window that opens click disk management and post a snip of that.

How to Upload and Post a Screenshot and File in Seven Forums



My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jan 2011   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Thus I have three primary partitions and one extended partition
Leave it as is. Nothing wrong with it. Just keep adding logical partitions if required. Just beware of more primary partitions which will run you into dynamics - and then you come to a screeching halt.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #4
AndyH W7f

Win 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Thanks. Apparently primary vs logical doesn’t make any difference for the kind of use I’m considering. Since that system has not yet been online, nor set up to go online, providing screen shots would be a big hassle. I think I’m familiar enough with the basic idea to feel comfortable that I’ve done the partitioning properly.

Right now I’m just trying to set up a decent system, and especially to find out if there is any way to get the OS up to date without downloading all those updates over this slow dial-up line. My preference is to get the OS fully established, then make a backup, before I start doing anything else with it. Downloading all the Win 7 updates on-line would probably take a year.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #5
Phone Man

Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center 64bit, Windows 7 HP 64bit
 
 

Because of the design of the MBR a disk is limited to 4 Primary partitions. A Primary partition is required for Windows OS to be bootable. So in theory you could have 4 different bootable OS on one drive, each on its own Primary partition. One of the Primary partitions can be designated as an Extended Partition. The Extended partition can then be subdivided into Logical drives and are not bootable and each gets a drive letter. If you plan to have only one OS then only one Primary partition is required and the rest of the disk can be an Extended Partition with multiple Logical drives. In your case with 3 Primary's and 1 Extended you are just fine with one advantage. If you want to add another OS to dual boot you just pick one of the other Primary partitions to use.
As to all the updates you need, SP1 should be release shortly and will contain the majority of those updates. If you are brave check out this thread Microsoft confirms Windows 7 SP1 RTM, released to OEMs today and download a copy of the leaked SP1 and install it. Then when you do updates there should be very few.

Jim
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #6
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Hello Jim, have a look at this one; multiple OSs on Extended partition/Logical drives can be run from a single, very small Primary partition.

System Reserved : Multi Boot from Logical Partitions


click to enlarge

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Right now I’m just trying to set up a decent system, and especially to find out if there is any way to get the OS up to date without downloading all those updates over this slow dial-up line. My preference is to get the OS fully established, then make a backup, before I start doing anything else with it. Downloading all the Win 7 updates on-line would probably take a year
Have a look at post #1335 in this thread: FREE Great Programs for Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #8
Phone Man

Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center 64bit, Windows 7 HP 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid View Post
Hello Jim, have a look at this one; multiple OSs on Extended partition/Logical drives can be run from a single, very small Primary partition.
System Reserved : Multi Boot from Logical Partitions


click to enlarge

Always happy to learn something new. If there is a way someone will find it. Thanks for the info. Technically speaking it is only booting from one partition and that is the System Reserved. Good work around.

Jim
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2011   #9
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Logical partitions are contained within an extended partition. The extended partition is one of the four allowed in the MBR (Master Boot Record) partition table. Within the extended partition are EBRs (Extended Boot Records).
My understanding is that the EBRs are linked in a particular fashion. This may make logical partitions more difficult to recover if you need to do a partition recovery.
Primary partitions are clearly defined in the separate MBR and not within an extended partition (or any partition). This possibly makes primary partitions easier to recover.
If this was the case you would use your 3 primary partition allocation and go extended/logical only if planning more than 4 partitions on the disk.

Edit: What this all means is that primaries may be a better choice until you need the extra partitions provided by logicals (ie. more than 4 partitions per HDD).

Any comments to the contrary?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2011   #10
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Phone Man View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid View Post
Hello Jim, have a look at this one; multiple OSs on Extended partition/Logical drives can be run from a single, very small Primary partition.
System Reserved : Multi Boot from Logical Partitions

Always happy to learn something new. If there is a way someone will find it. Thanks for the info. Technically speaking it is only booting from one partition and that is the System Reserved. Good work around.

Jim
Thanks mate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 primary vs extended partition




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