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Windows 7: Win 7/HDD setup- separate partition for data?

08 Jul 2011   #1

Windows Vista 32 bit
Win 7/HDD setup- separate partition for data?

Need advice on Windows 7 64 install/HDD setp - separate partition for data?
Background, ect:
- 500GB HDD (Dell Laptop)
- Main goal: Backup/Restore versatility and ease, as well as performance considerations
--> I frequently install a lot of software and want a simple way to restore os if software slows down or conflicts with system...

* First, not quite 100% clear on some basic fundamentals...
Q1) Do programs get installed on boot partition or data partition?
Have read some guides that are suggesting programs go with data partition.
Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of isolating user data so OS could be restored easily?

Q2) With 500GB (notebook) and 750gb usb back up device
What sizes would you guys recommend I make the partitions?
Q2a) Is there ANY way to resize a given partition if running out of space on one of the two? (Use backup maybe to restore following repartition? Lotta hassle, no?)

Q3) Windows 7 Disk management capable and ideal to handle partition jobs?
If not, what software do you recommend and why?
* I do have access to Acronis Disc Director and Paragon disc manager


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #2

Win7 Enterprise, Win7 x86 (Ult 7600), Win7 x64 Ult 7600, TechNet RTM on AMD x64 (2.8Ghz)

Welcome coldengrey

Check this

SSD / HDD : Optimize for Windows Reinstallation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #3

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


Welcome to SevenForums.

Yes, you should keep your programs and system on one partition and everything else on other partitions.

The tool that we recommend for sizing partitions is PARTITION WIZARD.

There are tutorials here on Partition Wizard.

Be sure to put Partition Wizard on to a CD and boot from the CD when you get ready to change partition sizes.

But you will not need Partition Wizard, if you have NOT already installed Win 7.

There are also some excellent tutorials here on preparing your drive for the installation of Win 7 and during the preparation you will be able to create partitions as you desire.

The tutorials will present you with several possiblities.

I have a system partition with all of my programs in that partition. The size of the partition of 60 GB and I don't even use half of that.

I do "relocate" my libraries, for documents, pictures, videos, music over to another partition.

There is also a tutorial here on relocating your libraries.

Keeping system and data separate gives you more flexibility when you want to backup your system and/or your data.

I use Microsoft Backup and Restore exclusively for backing up my system partition. Although I could also use Windows Backup and Restore for backing up my data, I prefer to roll my own batch file and use the Robocopy command which is the modern version of XCOPY.

Some of the other chaps here keep the necessary links ready to just feed them to you.

I'm sure they will come in here with those links.

If you have further questions and questions arising from reading the tutorials, I'll throw in my two cents worth.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Jul 2011   #4

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

User Folders - Change Default Location
You can do as Karlsnooks does and use windows backup and restore, you can use copy/paste, robocopy. or I use free Microsoft Synctoy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #5

Windows 7 32 bit home premium

I agree with Karlsnook pretty much. Keep the programs and system together on the C: drive.

Evidently, 60 gig is a pretty good number for the C: drive. I was going to say 100, but I don't run the 64 bit version. You want to keep some extra depending on how much software you install. Even if you left 150 gig for the system drive, that leave 350 for data. That's a LOT of data!

I have found that Win7 Disk Management usually is sufficient. But, if you have been using the machine for awhile, you might not be able to free up the other +-400 gig because a file has left a portion of data on a sector near the end of the drive. In that case, you would need the Acronis Disk Manager.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #6

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider

I agree. I have an SSD and therefore to save space (among other things) So I keep a seperate data drive for user folders. My SSD has a total of about 25GB on it because I keep nothing but the OS and programs. So 60 to 80 GB are sufficient for an OS drive, unless you install an awful lot of programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit

It's a personal choice, but I always install programs to the Windows partition (Microsoft reckon on 40GB minimum for Windows x64, but between 100-200GB is more practical) and then keep all my personal stuff on a separate data partition.

You mention you install and uninstall programs on a regular basis so you might want to consider a third-party uninstaller such a Revo, which scans the registry afterwards giving you the opportunity to delete any file fragments left over. You can download the free version here: Download Revo Uninstaller Freeware - Free and Full Download - Uninstall software, remove programs, solve uninstall problems

I can't comment on Acronis or Paragon as I haven't used either, but Windows disk management will do pretty much anything you want in terms of partition sizes if the configuration is carried out during the Windows installation.

When Windows has been installed, the disk management tool becomes less effective.

Karlsnook has given good, practical advice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #8

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there

Tip -- W7 usually makes a small 100 MB (not GB !!) system boot partition - which some people consider a nuisance when they want a nice easy simple image to backup their OS on.

Here's how to re-partition and get rid of it WITHOUT re-installing Windows.

So what to do in this case is

1) BACKUP existing system and data with something like acronis. Ensure you have the BOOTABLE stand alone recovery program as you are going to restore from the bootable media.

2) Boot partition mamager from USB / CD / ext Disk.

3) CREATE A SINGLE PARTITION FOR THE WHOLE DRIVE and format it --- note we aren't going to leave it like this but for this phase it will prevent windows from creating the system 100 MB hidden partition.

4) Restore the backup you made in step 1 -- just RESTORE the C partition to the whole partition -- ignore the hidden system partition and any DATA partitions backed up in step 1.


If you don't do this then it won't work and you will be hosed up. If your recovery software doesn't allow you to set the partition as Active THEN AFTER YOU'VE RESTORED THE "C" DRIVE ( REBOOT the partition mamager and set the partition to active).

5) Now boot windows -- it will fail because W7 won't find the boot partition -- tha's OK because we then re-boot using the W7 install / recovery disk where it will create boot info on the "C" partition without creating another hidden partition.

6) finally boot Windows after the repair to check that it boots normally ---- we haven't finished yet as you don't want the entire disk to be a single "C" partition.

7) reboot the partition manager to shrink / resize the "C" partition to what you want --suggest around 50 - 70 GB is ample even for quite large W7 installations.

8) create "D" and any other partitions you might need and format.

9) re-boot windows and restore your data partition(s) (you can also do this after step 8 with the bootable restore program if you haven't got a windows version of it.

10) Job done.

Note you should always keep the OS in its own partition AWAY FROM USER DATA such as music etc -- that way re-installing the OS means you don't have to recover your private data.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #9
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

This video tutorial may help ( Data Partition ). And for the OS partition you will not need more than 60GBs (100GBs if you have big games). But Disk Management may not let you shrink the C partition sufficiently. For that you can use Partition Wizard that was linked earlier.

Besides moving the standard user folders (Documents, Music, etc.) to the new data partition, you can also create completely new folders for your files on the Data Partition and INCLUDE those into the corresponding libraries. I prefer this method because it has certain advantages and zero risks.

PS: Before you manipulare the C partition, I recommend to image it. There is always a risk that something goes wrong.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2011   #10

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

if, before running the Win 7 install, you partition you drive as needed for you, as example 60 GB for system and apps, and ALL OF THE REST for your data, than the Win 7 install is not going to create that useless 100 MB partition. The "recovery" there is nothing more than the System Repair Disc has on it.

I do recommend for all cases, after installing Win7, to make a System Repair Disc. There are disasters which can result in you not being able to boot from your hard disk. That System Repair Disc will save your bacon (and allow you to repair your system).

START | type System Repair | Enter key | Create Disc button
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Win 7/HDD setup- separate partition for data?

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