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Windows 7: why partition?

23 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
why partition?

============ EDIT ================
as i said before, i am reinstalling windows 7, when im in the screen where you delete format or create new partition, all those options are grayed out, except for the format button on my C partition and the hidden windows7 partition
============ Edit =================

:) hi all, first post here
not sure if this is in the right section, sorry if it isnt
i have always been wondering why to partition or why not (i dont know exactly which one i perfer)
today, i reinstalled windows 7 , so i decided to actually look it up
i have two hard drives, so i can have one for data and one for os+programs, if im going for no partition route
or, i can do the same, but make c:/ os+driver+anti virus only and D:/ games only and E:/ programs only and F (second hard drive) all the data, and backups)
i had been reading, but still not sure, some say that too much stuff in c drive can slow down boot up/normal uses or something, and some people say theres no point to seperate programs since formating c will resault in all programs not usable.
personally, i think it is prettier and more organize to have them partitioned, but is there really any advantage or disadvantage of partitioning? how do you sort your files?
thx for reading all that, any reply would be helpful, since i m leaving my other computer on the partition setup screen right now, doing notthing but wasting energy ):

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

but after installing, wouldnt all your programs stop working? since the regestry is all cleaned out and everything is gone, if you meant data, i will put that on my second drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #3

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

You might put your OS and installed programs on one partition and user folders on another. Sometimes people might like to segregate various types of data to partitions. This can be useful if imaging partitions.
If you dual boot you need other partitions.
It's a personal choice but you can go overboard if you confuse the use of partitioning with folders!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Jan 2011   #4

Windows 10 Pro x64

Yes you are right. All programs would need to be reinstalled.

What I normally tell people is to treat your programs as part of the OS. I have my main HDD (500GB) partitioned into a 150GB drive for the OS and programs (more than enough, but I have a bad habit of not uninstalling stuff) and a 350GB drive which has all of "My Stuff" on it. Ie all the stuff that would normally be in the "User" folder.

Effectively my D drive is my User folder. I have Windows set up to automatically redirect anything looking for a User folder to the 2nd partition. For example: I play The Sims 3 alot, which stores everything at C:\Users\Martin\Documents\Electronic Arts\Sims 3. Instead it is writing to D:\Documents..etc. and the program doesn't know the difference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

As a matter of principle, I do not partition my hard drives because doing so increases wear and tear on the physical mechanism.

Allow me to explain.

Have a look at the following graphic. It's a highly simplified representation of the internal structure of a partitioned hard disk. The Blue and Grey rings represent Partion 1, and the Green and Yellow rings represent Partition 2.

why partition?-graphic1.jpg

Let's say now for example, you want to copy files from Ring A to Ring 1. In order to accomplish this task, the drive heads must read from Ring A, move to Ring 1 to write them, and then back again to Ring A to read more data. While technically correct in operation, in practice it means the read/writes are moving more than they really should.

Now if you are using 2 physically seperate drives, each with only one partition, and you copy files from Hard Disk 1 to Hard Disk 2, the read write heads will remain in the relative same position on Hard Disk 1 during the read operation, thereby reducing the distance it needs to move.

I've been following this practice of not partitioning my hard disks for years, and my drives have never given me a problem. In fact, if you have a look at my system specs, the three IDE drives are the oldest I have, of which the 80GB is nearly 8 years, and still working strong as my system boot drive. There used to be two 80GB drives in Prometheus, but I've just recently replaced the one with a 320GB SATA drive, and am using the 80GB I removed as an external USB drive.

The 80GB drive is my system boot drive with Windows and all my programs and games. The other drives are all for data.

Many pros have asked me how do I get my hard disks to last this long without problems where they had the same drives I do, and have experienced problems when it was maybe 2 or 3 years old.

The answer is simple: I reduce wear and tear on the drive by not partitioning, and I try to avoid turning the computer of at all. I'm currently running at about 5 months without a power down.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #6

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE

The primary reason to partition is to protect data that you don't want to risk losing if there is a problem with the OS. How you should partition is strictly a matter of what best meets your needs. Beyond separation from the OS, it is also helpful for organizational purposes to divide data into categories by partition. Personally, I have separate partitions for files, download archive, music archive, video archives (1 for TV and 1 for movies), software archive and backup archive. Actually, for the purposes of redundancy, some of those archives are duplicated on other drives, to reduce the risk of loss. No one can really tell you whether to partition or how to partition, except yourself. But, you should give it considerable thought.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

THX everyone for such a quick reply, i guess i will not partition my harddrives now, with the reasons given by most of you.
but a question for Dzomlija, how is powering off the computer damaging the hard drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

a little update, i have read in my other post that having more partitions will benefit when doing defrag, backups, or virus scan. because you dont need to say, defrag the whole giant partitions, instead, you can just defrag the one that is heavly fragmented; same goes to back up and virus scan.
also, i got another question, i had been using this computer for almost 2 years, but windows always say that defragmentation is not needed. i guess thats a good thing, but i thought the longer you use it, the heavier the fragment is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64


I have ~15 partitions running right now- I know--- that's extreme---- but I'm anal...
I could list them all, and tell you about their particular purposes, but that is not necessary.

The reason I have them set up is for back-ups- I want to keep them under control.
I want to be able to backup anything, on nothing more than a couple of discs.

I have, for instance, a Pictures folder, that is about 8GB. This lets me image the entire partition on two DVD's (max).

If I were to have everything on one partition, say, Pictures, Movies, Data, Programs, etc, I would need a whole lot of discs to maintain my backups to get everything back to work- not to mention the time it would take. Ughhh...

If I ever have to restore my system, all I have to do is bring back the OS and the Programs- period- done deal. Maybe twenty minutes...
Instead of the hours and perhaps days it may take otherwise to restore all that stuff.

The idea behind partitions is that you can further organize your data, programs, fun stuff, etc... (beyond the concept of folders)

Partitions are great if you have the HDD space.

I have a lot of ideas regarding Partitions and the reasons for creating them; perhaps I'm a bit radical, but I'll tell you this- when it comes down to the crunch, I'll have my system running before you will if you don't have Partitions set up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jan 2011   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RoronoaDSanji View Post
THX everyone for such a quick reply, i guess i will not partition my harddrives now, with the reasons given by most of you.
but a question for Dzomlija, how is powering off the computer damaging the hard drive?
It's a matter of opinion really, and some may argue otherwise, but daily power on/power off (in my opinion) is stressfull to moving parts of a computer, such as fans and hard disk motors.

For this same reason also in Power Management, I tell Windows to never turn off my hard disks, and I set the BIOS to always run my fans at full speed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 why partition?

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