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Windows 7: Partitioning Drive for Optimum Performance

19 Feb 2010   #21

Win7 64 Bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
@BillW, you have quite an elaborate setup and I am sure it works well for you. But other than extra security, what does it really buy you? I am in favor of a Data partition. Amongst other things, it allows me to share the data between the differnet systems (Vista and Win7) in the same box. But for security, I do images every second day (system and data). I find this to be easier than an elaborate setup because I would have to do it for 5 PCs.

Your experience with Easeus is interesting. I once used their free edition and mucked up the whole system. I am sure it was my mishandling of Easeus. The fact that Windows Disk Management cannot move the MFT and therefore not shrink beyond about half of the disk space is a nuisance. But I always wondered why they would not move the MFT - there must be a reason.
Well, again this is what works for me as far as using many partitions. In my unique case, I have many pursuits that I use the PC for. Besides the typical day to day web and Office use, I also am a photographer, musician, and recording engineer. Right off the bat, you can probably guess that this means a lot of files. In fact, between all 20 drives, I have to over 318 GB and over 390,000 files on my current XP-PC, that I'm in the process of migrating over to my new Win7 PC.

It would give me nightmares just thinking if all those files were in one drive. Besides being a huge reliability risk, it would also be almost impossible to back all that up short of a second drive configured as a RAID or a drive setup to just mirror as a backup.

Yes, 20 drives is a little over the top, but my current XP-PC, is really a multiple upgrade all the way back to Win98, so there are some relics lurking on the PC, but its anyone guess what and where they are.

My new Win7 PC has a 1TB primary, and a 500GB secondary drive, which I will use for backup and very large files. I paired my primary down to about 10 drives, and the secondary to 5 drives (3 for storage/backup and 2 for the Swap and Temp drives). Again, the large number of primary drives is really driven by the large volume of files. Besides, I still just like manageable drive sizes.

As far as Easeus, because I'm running Win7-x64, I have no experience with the 32-bit version, only the 64-bit Pro version. The user interface looks like a direct Chinese to English translation using the usual Chinese western font, but in the end, it did what I needed it to do, so in that respect, it worked for me. I also looked at the Acronis software. It looked more polished, but it was also more expensive. Again, because this is really a one-shot effort (resizing my pre-installed Win7 installation), I had few options.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2010   #22

Win7 64 Bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mat420 View Post
@whs. "what does it get you billw, besides better security?"

BillW stated "Further, to enhance performance (and reliability), I also create two small partitions (~10GB), one dedicated for the swap file (D: drive), and another dedicated to TEMP/TMP files (E: drive), internet browser caches, etc. I also use this for "temporary" file use, fiddling, and such, where the key use is "temporary". "

im going to go with bill on this one, i i think but i dont think i actually saw enough of a performance increase to bother doing it all again (who knows though, id have to compare side by side and thats too much work)

new question that id like to not have to start a new thread for please is
1. if i create one partition for windows and one for EVERYTHING else, can i reinstall windows and when i boot up everything will be exactly the same? (considering i dont format the partition during windows setup) ?

2. does reinstalling windows after time (1-2 years) create better performance? im not sure what it is but windows xp and under always seemed to slow down after years (even with proper maintenance)

3. if i were to put my pagefile and such on a separate partition, would fat32 be the fastest moving partition for it?
As far as performance gains, I will admit that with the current crop of dual/quad core CPU's, its not near as evident as it was/is with standard Pentium CPU's. However, over time and especially if you are a moderate to heavy user, the single drive setup will get badly fragmented, and as that occurs, there is a larger risk of file corruption. My scheme is more of an insurance policy rather than a necessity.

To your other questions, ...

1) If you do not do a "repair", and go with a full installation, you will usually be given two options on re-installation, A) create a new Windows folder (leaving the original one in place, and booting to the new install), or B) install over the existing installation. If you go that route, you will overwrite all the existing files to the ones on the installation disk, which many are almost always out of date due to updates. Also, you will overwrite the existing registry, so any previously installed software will have to be reinstalled. In either case, this is considered a "last option", when all else fails.

Of course, this does assume that you have the original Win7 installation disks. Unfortunately, most new PC's do not come with them, and on first use, you are "encouraged" to do a full backup, using your own disks. This is all well and good, but this scenario only puts your PC in its original state at the time of the backup. You don't have the options as I noted above.

2) You PC will perform better, but it will also be virgin (in its original state), and you're in the same boat as noted above.

3) To my knowledge, Win7 only supports NTFS, so don't attempt to introduce FAT32 in a Win7 environment. As for a separate partition for the Swap/Page file, that's always a good move in my opinion. However, you must keep in mind that the mechanics of hard drives always wants the head(s) to start at Sector 0, and work its way down the drive.

If for example, you have a large drive, and you have one very large partition, and a small partition at the end of the drive for the swap file, this may do more harm than good, mainly because the head(s) will physically be seeking a long way every time the swap files is accessed. It will put undue wear on the hard drive, and will in this case, reduce its long term reliability, and will slow down the PC (not recommended).

So, unless you planned out your hard drive layout on first install, you're better off plucking down $50 and pickup a second 300-500GB drive, and put the swap and temp partitions at the front end of that drive.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my old XP-PC has an enormous number of files. However, it is also important to keep on top of files loaded into memory, especially on upgraded systems that have file structures that are several years old. A lot of times, a driver, such as from an old printer install, may be left on your system, and may still be loading, with you not knowing or realizing it. The best thing here, is to use utilities that clean up and defrag the registry, so that (hopefully) these old drivers and apps are removed from the registry (not your hard drive though) and not loaded.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2010   #23
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

BillW, You certainly have a lot more files than I have ever seen. In that environment, your setup seems to make a lot of sense. Seperation of risks is a good thing. That's why I use 6 external disks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Feb 2010   #24

windows 7

sounds good thanks alot bill. i think what im going to do is see if win7 is even worth keeping and if it is do a reinstall with my pagefile partition already made.

anyone have step by steps on how to assign temp/pagefile to another partition?

i mean im working with only 1.25gb, but i havent even really seen any upsides to using win7 besides I like that it asks me are u suer (and lists open files) when u go to shutdown

i was hoping itd be more stable, and was going to keep it just to avoid having to close explorer.exe ever again but, i right clicked on a 6 gb folder and explorer froze up on me.
gave it a few mins to try to recover but nothing.

id like to think (and i may try to fix first) the fact thats its 1.25gb, only .25 above recommended ram (or minimum? w/e), but the system runs pretty damn good.

i just cant justify, what i assume HAS to be a downgrade in speed (no matter what amount of ram u have, just because win7 uses more resources itself), for a system that isnt anymore stable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2010   #25

windows 7

no? no one? ;\ bump
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2010   #26

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

You would most certainly see a increase in performance with more RAM.

Regardless of what it says is Min. , IMHO 2GB should be the bare min. on any Win7 machine.
With 4GB being the sweet spot.

Assuming we are talking about mechanical drives, as far as moving the Pagefile, this can offer benefits.
However, moving the Pagefile to another partition on that SAME Physical disk will only hurt performance. In fact make it much worse with the amount of RAM you have since you will be using the PF often.

With 1 Pysical Drive, I would have 1 main Partition with:
Win7, the PF, and all apps. Moving DATA such as Pics, Vdeos, Music etc to another partition to reduce fragmentation.

With 2 Physical Drives:
1st partition of the 1st Drive for: Win 7 and all programs
1st partition of 2nd Disk for: Pagefile, Temp Files, Downloads

And then moving games and DATA to other partiotions on those 2 drives.

the less the heads have to move to seek out DATA the more responsive things will be. if the PF is on another partition of the same Physical drive, it must seek back and forth to different partitons often, hurting the drives performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2010   #27

Win7 64 Bit

I entirely agree. The primary performance improvement is (and always has been) use the most RAM you can afford. At one time, RAM was quite expensive, and that's where page files came in (not that hard drives of old were any cheaper).

Going from 8-bit, to 16, 32, and now 64 bit OS's has really been a power users dream. As for Windows 7, if you're running 32-bit, the most RAM you can have is 4GB, whereas with 64-bit, Win7 supports up to 192GB!. However, the most you'll really see being able to be installed on consumer PC's is between 6-8GB, still more than enough for most of the programs you'll run, and that your page file hardly, if ever, would be accessed to use its storage. Of course, I would assume that some of the super graphic intensive FPS games take all the memory you can throw at to store graphics/maps to keep game lage to a minimum.

I also have tried to note that besides multiple partitions being a solution to increased system stability and manageability (if you choose to do so), placing the page/temp files separately from C: is best done on a second physical drive, as the first/second partitions on that drive, so that drive seek times are as fast as possible, and still kept seperate from your may physical drive.

In my past experiance with Win98 and even W2K, where I was dealing with minimal available hardware resources (512MB-1GB RAM), I did find between 25-50% improvement in performance (on a single drive) by creating seperate partitions, just for the page/temp files. If I upgraded/added to a second drive to the system, even a small one (~40GB), as previously noted, the front end of the drive would be dedicated to the page/temp files.

Keep in mind that Windows deletes and creates a new page file every time it shuts down and boots up. This is to provide a clean file (really a physical extension of RAM) on each new startup. The problem here is that this file generally likes to be one big continuous file (to keep addressing it simple to manage). As such, over time, as your drive gets fragmented (and they all do), the that page file (and temp files too for that matter) keep creeping further and further down towards the drive's physical end location. As such, page/temp file access takes longer and longer, especialy if you're lite on RAM.

So the bottom line is this: 1) Add more RAM, minimum of 4GB for Win7 for best performance, 2) add a second drive (and place the page and temp files into separate partitions at the beginning of that drive, 3) do both.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Mar 2010   #28

windows 7

thanks so much.
last question

With 1 Pysical Drive, I would have 1 main Partition with:
Windows 7, the PF, and all apps. Moving DATA such as Pics, Vdeos, Music etc to another partition to reduce fragmentation.

would "windows 7 and all apps" include the desktop" i actually had my desktop located with my data on M:\

or would it be better to have desktop with data (separate from the OS)?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2010   #29


I really wouldn't be overly concerned with fragmentation:

at what % do I defrag?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Mar 2010   #30

windows 7

yeah thats the only reason or it right? avoiding defrag?

i would like to stop defragging though its a pain in the ass since im suppose to not be on the computer, so someone answer my question still please

thanks though!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Partitioning Drive for Optimum Performance

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