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Windows 7: Separate Partition for OS and Apps?

06 Oct 2010   #1

Win7 Pro 64-bit sp1
Separate Partition for OS and Apps?

BarefootKid is going to reach through the cloud and kill me I know but...

I made 3 partitions on a 128G SSD. I installed Win7Pro64 on the first partition. Now I'm ready to install some programs and I just realized, I don't really want to change the default directories at all...I think that's just asking for confusion and trouble.

I was so convinced I needed a separate Programs partition. Well I got it, thanks to a lot of help from BFK and Dave and others. But honestly, now I don't know what to do with it!

Can anyone tell me if there's a good reason to have a separate partition for your programs?

Thankfully since it's empty it's easy to change - I'll just extend my OS partition.

I guess....

Thanks for any comments, suggestions, advise - or poisoned pen letters in the case of BFK - you want to send my way! Seriously, I'd really appreciate any thoughts you would care to share.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP


It is never a good idea to put programs on another partition. They write keys to the registry which intergrate them into the OS and should be on the same partition backed up in the same image.

User files, yes. Put them on a separate partition (preferably separate HD) linked to the Win7 directories so that they become their own data vault protected in case OS becomes irreparable. Then you only need to reimage a compact OS/Programs partition and your files are still in place ready to go.

User Folders - Change Default Location
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #3

Win7 Pro 64-bit sp1

thanks G - I'll go through the links and see if I can learn what you mean by "linked to the Win7 directories." I've just started using Win7 and it's really quite a bit different than XP - the directory structure I mean.

I haven't looked into imaging a disk yet but I understand that's the best way to create backups. I have always kept my working files and assets on a separate HDD, but when the OS drive goes I've always just suffered through reinstalling Windows.

It sounds like creating an image is a simple solution - and much quicker to restore.

thanks again Greg.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Oct 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP


Glad to help.

Here's a video that shows another view of changing User files location: Data Partition
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #5
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello again, now where did I put that cloud; fancy meeting you here.

There's no problems, do what you're comfortable with, your SSD is large enough to install all your programs/apps to without being concerned over available space.

I needed to work out those commands anyway, I've been meaning to take the time to do it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #6

W7 Home Prem, Vista home Prem

Hi there,

Gregs reply is of interest to me' too as I'm just about to consider the structure the op was querying.

When Greg says it's never a good idea to separate programmes from the os, I'm guessing that this not only applies to things like an os app but would it also mean a game for example? Like doom3?

I've tended to keep games on my d:/ but every now and then a game autoninstalls to c:/ and ends up in programme files (under vista) and sonny system is a mess of good intention and bad programmes that don't ask the user at install.

So don't separate os apps, games basically anything that you 'install' onto the os? That about right?

Data drives are for data only like word docs, spreadsheets, photos, movie etc?

Lastly - any suggestions for a free diskimager? I'll buy if I have to but if there is a respected and capable free one then I'll save a buck!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP


Hi IcarusII -

Yes, exactly, keep the programs with the OS and data on its own partition.

The built-in Win7 Backup Imaging program works fine for me: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Others prefer free Macrium Reflect which offers a little more flexibiity but isn't built-in. Try and compare if you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #8

Win7 Pro 64-bit sp1

Hey BFK -

I wanted to get your opinion about backup images - system/program images - where is the best place to save it, and when is the best time to make it.

I always thought a "real" backup had to be saved to a disk. Nobody seems to think that way anymore though, like the tutorial you linked to. Backing up to disk is just another option but the author doesn't recommend it over other locations. Do you think it's safe to keep your backup on a HDD or an SSD?

Also I was hoping to get your advice on the best time to make an image of your OS - is right after you install Windows a good time to do it? Or after you've got your programs in there too (all on the same partition of course)

Or does it even matter when?

As always, THANK YOU for your recommendations and for sharing your time helping us out. I know we all sincerely appreciate it!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Separate Partition for OS and Apps?

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