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Windows 7: Recommended number of partitions

14 May 2011   #1
ekliokys

windows 7
 
 
Recommended number of partitions

I have ordered a new computer with 2TB SATA disk. The first step I must do is to partition a disk.
As far as I have been reading tutorials on this site it is recommended to separate Windows/ programs and Documents into separate partitions. So I am going to create C- partition for Windows and Program Files of about 100MB.

What about the other partitions. Is it worth to create separate partitions for say for "Images", "Documents", "Development Projects". Or is it better to put all this stuff into one partition?

Advantage of multiple partitions, as I see, would be more flexibility for backup/recovery. From the other side, disadvantage of multiple partitions would be not optimal usage of disk space.

What are the other considerations?
Thanks for advice.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 May 2011   #2
StalkeR

Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

I think that will be good to have 3 partitions.
1. System
2. Data
3. BackUp.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2011   #3
ekliokys

windows 7
 
 

Thank you the insight.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 May 2011   #4
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ekliokys View Post
As far as I have been reading tutorials on this site it is recommended to separate Windows/ programs and Documents into separate partitions. So I am going to create C- partition for Windows and Program Files of about 100MB.
Obviously a typo there... you clearly meant 100GB, not 100MB, right?

At 100GB you'd have plenty of room (maybe much more than you need) for Win7 itself, which depending on how many and the type of programs you install would use probably 25GB-45GB. I'm guessing closer to the lower number for you, but I don't know.

Thus the rest of the space would be available for the \Users folder, which is the old WinXP "Documents and Settings", where documents and other data typically get stored by default (unless you specifically choose to save things from your work into genuine "data" folders you've created, maybe on other drives or partitions).

The advantage of putting "data" off of the C-partition is that it is more easily preserved should you need to reinstall (or restore from a "system image") just the operating system on C. Your "data" is untouched over on D. Of course if you had to replace the entire hard drive, that's another story. But that's what second internal or even external USB hard drives are good for, to segregate data from Windows to make it easier and more organized for you to backup and restore if you needed to, as well as a much simpler job of reinstalling the OS.

Win7's allows you to incorporate your external "data" folders into "libraries", so that you're not limited to such finite constructs as "My Documents" or "My Videos" or "My Pictures" living strictly in the \Users folder architecture on C. Of course, there's a strong urge to simply name these "data" folders elsewhere with more meaningful and "professional" and intutive names, other than "My ...something". Of course you can just navigate to them, for opening and saving... you don't even need to make them part of "Libraries" if you don't want to.


Quote:
What about the other partitions. Is it worth to create separate partitions for say for "Images", "Documents", "Development Projects". Or is it better to put all this stuff into one partition?
Mostly a matter of personal choice. There is no such thing as "better" here.

What IS better is definitely to get your data out of \Users and off of C, which is the first step most people take when then begin to outgrow a single-C environment.

Don't forget that part of the "maturing" out of single-C is also to be absolutely certain you have an adequate backup/recovery scheme in place, to preserve your critical data from destruction or loss. You don't want to be devastated and cry if your machine dies (especially if your one-and-only hard drive dies, if that's also what you were using for the target folders of your backup scheme).

External USB drives today are large and cheap, and are excellent solutions for a proper and reasonable disaster recovery plan. Windows provides its own built-in backup features (especially "system image", which is terrific for the C-partition) but you may want to investigate 3rd-party products that provide more extensive or elaborate and sophisticated backup/restore technology.


Quote:
Advantage of multiple partitions, as I see, would be more flexibility for backup/recovery. From the other side, disadvantage of multiple partitions would be not optimal usage of disk space. What are the other considerations?
See my remarks above.

I think a good investment would be another drive, namely an external USB drive, to be used for your backups. There's not much real security in using multiple partitions of a single hard drive for such a task, not to mention the performance hit of backing up from one partition to a second partition on the same physical hard drive.

Lots to think about.

You should definitely download and install Partition Wizard Home Edition v6.0, as well as the standalone boot CD version which you can burn from this ISO. This is the product to use, to accomplish everything Windows' Diskmgmt can do plus lots more.
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14 May 2011   #5
ekliokys

windows 7
 
 

Thank you so much for very comprehensive advise and links. Now I regret I didn't ask this question before I ordered a computer. Two separate disks make really sense, I would have taken 2x1TB. Yes I meant 100GB for a system partition.

For backup I am using Paragon on XP and I will continue to use it on Win7. An external 2TB should be sufficient to store the backups of internal 2TB disk and hopefully the probability that both disks fail at the same time is low enough.
Thank you.
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14 May 2011   #6
seavixen32

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

If it is any help to you I always create a separate partition for my personal data.

It keeps it away from the C Drive and is untouched if I re-install Windows or restore from an image backup.

Another factor you might want to consider is defragmenting and virus scanning. Smaller partitions seem less overwhelming than one huge hard drive.

I'm sure if you keep your system on one partition, your personal data on another and back up to an external hard drive you'll minimize your risk of data loss.
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14 May 2011   #7
Internet Badass

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

why wouldnt you just put it all on the main partition with folders and such, then you dont have to worry about running out of space and going through the steps to make a partition bigger
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14 May 2011   #8
ekliokys

windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Internet Badass View Post
why wouldnt you just put it all on the main partition with folders and such, then you dont have to worry about running out of space and going through the steps to make a partition bigger
Yes this is a very valid alternative. My only consideration is that it can take significant time to backup very big partition. In contrary, if I have let's say partitions "Images" and "Docs" and I have taken no new photos, there is no need to backup "Images" partition. It's enough only to backup "Docs". But it could be also only apparent advantage. Therefore I am here and asking.

I have seen also suggestions to put paging file into a separate partition. But again, the immediate question is what size the partition should be? And is it worth? If it's too small it could cause problems, if its too big - it's a waste of disk space.

As of now I am considering to create
  • C partition for Windows and Programs, may be 100GB. It's relatively big, as dsperber already has mentioned. But now on XP I have 35GB and only about 10% are free, it's already too small.
  • Partition D, a relatively small partition for personal data, may be aslo encrypt this partition (is it a good idea?)
  • and everything else in E partition

As a result I must maintain 3 backup archives. One slowly changing, C, and the other two will be changing more frequently.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2011   #9
MarkJ

Windows 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Just wanted to add some suggestions here. If you use back up software like Acronis True Image it takes incrimental back ups. This means the first back up would take an image of the entire drive which could take some time, then future back ups will only record additions and changes which is relatively fast, sometimes only a few minutes if not much has been done on the PC.

In my view the best set up is to put your OS in its own partition, then have one for your important documents, pictures, music, etc and have a third for all the software. If the hard drive goes south your system image will contain everything you need to start again and you only have to reformat the software partition and reinstall them all. The rest of the image can be left as it is. Most software can be installed on a seperate drive to the OS but there may be some that have to go on the same drive so you just need to leave a bit of room on the OS partition.

Using software like Acronis or Paragon does make the task of changing partition sizes relatively easy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2011   #10
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ekliokys View Post
I have seen also suggestions to put paging file into a separate partition.
Never a good idea unless this partition is on a second drive.

Otherwise, just leave it on the same Win7 partition.

You're better off adding memory. to minimize any need for the page dataset. Turns out you can't seem to eliminate Win7's apparent use of this file even with lots of physical memory available, but having sufficient physical memory to at least optimize Win7 performance is an absolute must.
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 Recommended number of partitions




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