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Windows 7: Separate Data Partition - Why???

10 May 2010   #31
Night Hawk

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

OK! But when going to work with the instructions with any guide or blog found make you sure you slow down a bit to avoid running into any new problems.

Some of the instructions need close attention to detail in order to see positive results. In some cases you may have to wait until you go over one or more other guides since some are rather skimpy on providing enough to work with. I've run into that problem a number of times where someone else had a better written instruction set to follow.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2010   #32

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
What I ended up doing...

Hello and thanks to everyone who participated in my process over the weekend. As an informational update, here is what I ended up doing:

1. Used Partition Magic to change my 110GB HD into 3 partitions, System (50GB), Data (30GB) and System Images (30GB)

2. Followed the video tutorial on Vimeo provided by whs, and moved my Documents, Favorites, Downloads, Music, Videos, and Pictures to the Data partition.

3. Because I was using the Documents folder to hold my Outlook.PST file, moving it messed up Outlook, even though I moved the PST file and redirected Outlook to it. I think that Outlook must store the email settings in another location, because the email would not work after the PST move. So, as per Darryl Licht and harpua, I deleted my existing email accounts, and reconfigured them. This solved that problem.

4. The other issue was that it seemed as if there were somehow 2 previously existing documents directories. One that got moved, and one that did not. They were almost identical, but not exactly, so I was able to identify the “old”/unused one, and deleted it.

5. One of the things I tried in the midst of these eventual solutions was restoring my HD system+data partition image from DVD disc to the newly created system partition on the HD, but it did not work. I have not had a chance to troubleshoot the error, but Macrium would not even recognize the system images I had on HD, nor would it restore the image from the DVD discs that were made. I tried putting in both the first and the last disc, and each time, it said they were not the full image and therefore could not complete the restore. I thought that was the whole point of making a system image to DVD discs; so that you could use multiple discs, but apparently not. Either that, or what it was really saying is, “I don’t like that you are trying to restore me to a smaller partition than what I came from.” Even though there was still more than enough space on the new smaller partition to hold the restored image…

6. As for backups, I am going to subscribe to Mozy online unlimited backup. I have been using the free 2GB version, and offloading my data to DVD discs periodically, and not backing up Videos, or Music to Mozy, but as I was advised by a wise forum member, just a small scratch could ruin these. (Luckily, I am fastidiously duplicative about these and always make 2 or even 3 copies, but nonetheless, it was a good point.) I like Mozy, so for the short term, backing up to that will be good, and with the unlimited version, I won’t have to worry about going over the 2GB limit.

In addition to making system images to the system image partition, I am also going to try and image with Macrium to Windows Live Skydrive, which was also recommended by a poster, and I found out last night that it can be configured to be addressed as a virtual drive. Whether or not Macrium will work with that I do not know.

In the “long term”, I am going to try and afford to acquire some external USB 2.0 HDs as the price drops due to USB 3.0 coming out. Then, I will start backing up to these instead of Mozy and Skydrive.

Well, I think that about covers everything. I’m very, very, grateful to EVERYONE who gave me their input. It was ALL very insightful and helpful, and put together as parts of the puzzle, made for a good “whole”.

Thank you everyone! :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #33
Night Hawk

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

Well we're glad you were able to get everything sorted out!

One thing about Macrium however and why I ended up sticking with the Backup & Restore as well as Windows Easy Transfer features in 7 was due to not being able to restore an image created of a previous Vista install on the last build when the RCs were on since that case saw 5 HDs originally seeing an XP/Vista dual boot.

Despite repeat attempts once the exact drive was free again for restoring the image Reflect came up with a message stating the images were invalid for some still unknown reason. This is when drives had been replugged in differently however and may have had a negative effect on the dating method used by that program.

Typically here the images now seen are stored on the same single partition seen on each of the two storage drives on the desktop here. Since you are working with a much smaller drive one idea for partitioning would have been seeing the 50gb OS Primary but with a single 60gb storage/backup partition rather then splitting the drive up into two smaller 30gb parts.

If you look at the system images created by the Windows option you will notice that those are contained in normal folders with a sub folder with the admin account's user name on that. For preventing any overwrite you'll notice I simply added a date at the end of the name on the earliest of the two shown there.

Attached Images
Separate Data Partition - Why???-rename-w7-images.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 May 2010   #34

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

Night Hawk,

The reason I went with Macrium and not Windows "backup" is because I tried to backup some files to DVDs using the Windows backup utility, and it started and processed for a while, then got about halfway through and sat at that point for over 45 minutes before I finally just gave up on it. I have had to use my Macrium system+data images once, and it worked beautifully, so I thought that Macrium was the way to go.

Your idea about using the same partition for my system images and data is good. Then I would not have to worry so much about the system images using up the 30GB I have assigned. Do you really think it is the ideal solution, and I should now combine the two 30GB partitions?

I am a little confused right now because I just had to reconfigure the Outlook/Office user dictionary location (CUSTOM.dic) so that it would find it in my Documents folder on my new partition. Part of me wonders if having a separate data partition is such a good idea, then why doesn't Windows just set itself up to work that way? Then I answer, well it is Microsoft, and they are often not the most practical/logical thinkers. I wonder how Mac handles this, or even UNIX? Surely, by this time in computer usage, there has got to be a better way. It just does not make sense. It almost seems like DOS was more user friendly, in a way. Or at least more user controllable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #35
Night Hawk

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

When going to see a second image created and you have slightly renamed the first's main folder like adding a date to prevent that from being overwritten the two will end up side by side like any two other folders. Since each will ne named the same besides the date you add they will simply appear as any other two folders.

The idea of one larger storage partition works better in that you lose less space between partitioning info kept in the partition table as well as those few extra mbs along with having D continuous. A 30gb storage partition is almost nothing these days once you start placing files on it. The larger single partition will allow you to expand into that space as needed for storing additional files.

In basic terms why tie up 30gb for images only when you can also utilize the same space along with the other 30gb? Once you decide on a second HD if one can be added in or using an external drive as the main storage device for local storage and of course you increase your online capacity the new 60gb could even be shrunk down some if you find you need more space available for C.

At present you will want to look at the best possible layout for the 110gb total you have available there. Much will depend on how much actual space you need for storing files on the drive as well as later adding on new programs that will consume more space on C. Then some even consider having a small OS primary and a larger D partition for seeing the software folders placed there keeping C free of a volume of them.

The screen I posted there is actually on a 3rd drive set aside as one of two storage drives and shows the contents of one image as it appears once you open the user account named sub folder under the main you see at the left. Kind of looks like any other folder with sub folders doesn't it?

As far as the Macrium Reflect program that gets a good rating as well as that seen for Acronis and a few other older softwares like Norton Ghost. When trying out the option for creating a full image in Windows I ran into a problem not having enough blank dvd-rws needed for the 130+gb of drive space used out of the 920-930gb available after partitioning and formatting a 1tb drive. The option for use of removable media is available with the Backup & Restore feature in Windows too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #36

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Retail)

Going a little OT here but aside from online storage options for backups, I really think the OP should consider getting a hard drive dock and one or more extra bare hard drives to back up to. Bare drives are cheap and even the slowest of them connected via the ubiquitous but slow USB 2.0 would be much faster and more reliable than burning DVD's or backing up online for that matter.

The primary advantage of online storage is that it's offsite, so that's probably a good idea in any case, but as a practical matter, it's still also important, imo, to be making backups to local external hard drives. And, if you use an inexpensive hard drive dock, you can also use relatively inexpensive bare hard drives (i.e., without additional external enclosures) to back up to. There are HD docks available that offer both USB 2.0 (slow) and Esata connections (very fast) and that accept both laptop and desktop bare hard drives, so they are very vesatile. The bare drives pop in and out of the dock just like bread in a toaster.

Don't recall the OP's machine specs right now, but if you are using a not too vintage desktop machine, you can add in an esata port to be able to take advantage of the faster transfer speeds to an external sata drive located in one of these hard drive docks rather than a slow USB 2.0 drive in an external enclosure. These add in esata ports (for desktops) can be purchased at Newegg or Ebay for less than $10, iirc. If you have a recent vintage modern laptop, there is a good chance you may already have an esata port available to connect to. I know most HP's laptops these days come with esata ports built in.

Anyway, whether you have an esata port available or just plain old USB 2.0 (which is much slower but still works fine), you can use a hard drive dock that offers both esata and USB 2.0 connection options so that in the future if you ever get a machine that has an esata port, you will be able to take advantage of it. Drives connected via esata are so fast in most cases it's just like having another internal hard drive which is awesome for making fast backups.

If concerned about having some off site backups, you can store one of your back up drives off site, at work or a relatives or friends house, if you want, and occasionally swap the drives so there will always be a fairly recent backup stored off site. Also, if using Acronis (not sure about Macrium and Paragon), you can encrypt and password protect your backups so they will be secure.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 May 2010   #37
Night Hawk

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

Good point on the HD dock! harpua I talk with a few laptop users running the 64bit 7 in fact that prefer something along those lines for the increased local storage and backup options those can provide at a much lower cost. juanantoniod has a laptop presently with a 110gb drive.

In fact I now have to consider reassembling the old usb 2.0 enclosure for the 500gb HD I installed internally for an extra test drive last year for transferring files between two or more desktops! For a dock you may want to get one that takes both 3.5" as well as 2.5" drives for the added capacities that would offer.

At some point you will want to get into a desktop if not having one now and that can serve well for laptop/desktop transfers along with the online storage. As far as USB 3.0 at the present time the latest boards are now seeing at least a pair of 3.0 ports while the devices are a wait.

We're all still running 2.0 drives for the most while 3.0 adapter cards are now being listed at various shopping sites as well as 3.0 card readers. For docking stations a few by coolgear can be looked over at
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Separate Data Partition - Why???

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