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Windows 7: Separate Data Partition - Why???

08 May 2010   #1

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Separate Data Partition - Why???


I have been reading about creating a data partition and an OS partition, but I cannot understand why one would want to do this because even with the system "image", the data files still need to be backed up. Why isn't it okay to back up the data files wth the system image? In my setup, the OS and program files take up more space than the data files I have, and the configuration of the program files changes regularly, so I couldn't just make one system image and stay with that forever. I must make regular system images, as well as backup my data, so why not do it in one process?

Please forgive my confusion. I would appreciate any enlightenment. I am trying to set up my disc so that I have a backup to go to in case a progam or settings change makes my system unusable or unstable.

Currently, I have a 110 GB HD, and am using 25.9 for my system & data, 27.22 for 3 images of my system & data (1 image of original install, 1 or a stable install with all programs, and 1 of the latest configuration).

I have the "full" version of Macrium, which I use for images and backups.

Thanks for your help!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #2
Night Hawk

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

Here I run multiple hard drives and have the backup situation already solved with two drives designated for storage only. When things were first on the new build now in use the first image made was slightly renamed so that the now 3rd could be saved on the first of the two storage HDs.

The second not wanting to overwrite the first right away went to the second storage HD. With a regularly scheduled image being seen that would overwrite the previous image automatically and kept that upto date with your present software environment.

Just prior to the new build an image made during the first week of January was restored bringing everything back to that date except for files stored on the other drives totally isolated from any changes. With the Macrium Reflect program that dates each image created allowing multiple images to be stored on the same partition or drive where you simply select which one will be stored while those created using the Backup & Restore feature in 7 would simply overwrite the previous without renaming that.

The main idea behind any backup to start with is to prevent any catastropic loss of personal data and files. This is why many with a large capacity OS drive will often split it up into two partitions often seeing the second as D or of opting to use that for the optical drive F,G,H, or another work for backups made.

For those that opt to buy a second internal or an external HD spliting up the Host/boot OS drive wouldn't typically be seen especially with small capacity drives unless planning a dual boot setup with another OS if not older version of Windows. If you lack a second drive then a second partition on a large enough drive is often the choice made to preserve the present installation and files on that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #3

Windows 10 Pro x64

well for me personally, its like this: If windows goes south (and unfortunately it happens :'( ) then i dont want to lose all my personal data, so I have my OS set up like this.

Primary HDD - 500GB: split into 2 partitions, 200GB for Windows and Programs and 300GB for Data
Secondary HDD - 140GB this basically does my backups, because im nowhere near filling my 500GB hard drive, so at the moment total data usage is below the 140GB threshold.

in other words, I can reinstall, uninstall put a new OS on, system image what ever, and all my data will be safe on the Data partition, and if the primary Hard drive DOES fail, its all backed up onto the secondary hard drive anyway
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 May 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition

Heres my setup -

C: 60 gig ssd containing win 7 ultimate and 2 programs that run too slow on spinners. 60 gig is not a lot so my data is on the next drive. Its is recommended to not exceed 85% capacity so I stay well below that level. Runs nice and fast!

f: 320 gig spinner - I moved my profile to this drive ie my documents, my pictures, etc. Also any other data and programs are contained here.

G: 320 gig spinner. Copy of f: Each night I auto run a batch file to copy any new or changed files from f: to G:

If there are issues with C: I prefer to reinstall the OS rather than an image.

F: and G: are identical so if one of them fail, the other contains all of my data.

I am thinking about getting a 1t drive. Then I will raid 0 the 2 320 drives and copy to the large drive each night.

If you copy your data to another partition on the same drive and the drive fails, well you know the rest of the story.....

Just my $.03
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1 clean install

jrjr, why don't you set up a software raid 1 (mirror) on your windows 7 rather than copying data over night?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition

Raid can go bad too... then all can be lost without a backup. Mirroring is fine for some things but my way is more foolproof. Only better way to backup is to backup to another machine or better yet, offsite.

I did have these drives set up in raid 1 before building this new machine and am familiar with raid. I worried all the time as it was not backing up to another drive. This was my solution until I get another drive. I have a web server on site as well that I use for some things but prefer not to rely on that for backups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #8

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Thanks for all the help!

Thanks everyone for all the help everyone! Great insights into data management.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #9

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
Primary or logical partition?

Hey all!

Thanks again for the help. I was going to partiton my HD so that I would have a data partition, and I need to know if it should be a primary or logical partition? I don't understand the difference. If it makes any difference, my file system is NTFS.


P.S. I currently have 2 primary partitions, one C: for system+data, and one D: for system recovery images. I am going to reduce the size of D: by 20GB for data, then follow the tutorial to move Documents, Pictures, Video, and Music to the 20GB partition. But what about the Outlook PST file? I currently have it in C:...\Documents\Outlook Data. Furthermore, since Windows depends on the C:\users\username\my [documents/pictures/video/music] convention, won't it screw it all up if I move these to another partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2010   #10
Night Hawk

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

How large was it to begin with? You are not working with one of the larger drives while you could still more then 20gb for D depending on how large and how much will be put on your C primary.

As far as partition types Windows and any other OS generally go on a primary type partition while extended partitions to add one more when reaching the 4 partition limit hard drives see or when installing a different OS like Linux where some distros easily run off an extended or you are creating a swap partition used for virtual memory by the other OS there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Separate Data Partition - Why???

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