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Windows 7: General Question Re Partioning

23 Oct 2009   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64 Service Pack 1
General Question Re Partioning

I have never formatted a hard drive before. I have never installed an operating system before. I have never even thought about partitioning my hard drive. But I notice that a lot of people here have partitioned drives.

Could I ask some of the knowledgeable people here to explain the advantages of partitioning a drive? Is there any significant advantage to my doing it when I install Windows 7?

I do not intend to dual boot or anything like that and I have a single 500GB internal drive plus a 500GB external drive.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2009   #2

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

Some users like to have there Operating system on say a 50gb partition & there progs & files on a second partition for safety if they need to reinstall the OS.

I presently have this one all on a 500gb HD since the beta version in early 2009

" Doc "
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2009   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64 Service Pack 1

Thanks Doc. Is it possible to set up partitions during the Windows installation procedure? At present I just have one 500GB drive but I might want to partition it when I install Windows 7 when my disks arrive and it would be nice to do the whole thing in one go.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Oct 2009   #4

Win7 Build 7600 x86

I must add to (or deduct from) Doc's post that installing the programs to a d: drive is rather useless since they won't work after formatting and re-setup of the OS on the c: drive
This is due to registry entries being lost after reinstall.

Saving your files (doc's, mp3's, video's etc..) to a second partition (d: drive)
is highly recommended and quite franckly the only way to set it up.

This will ensure your files won't be lost when your OS runs aground and needs to be re-installed.

There is a way to relocate the user folders like My documents, my music, favorites (is not ie favorites), downloads, pictures etc.. to another partition.

There is a tutorial in our tutorial section that explains how.

But the best advice I can give you is to get a more experienced friend over to guide you through the process of installing.

A lot can go wrong, believe me.

Good luck
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2009   #5

Windows 7 x64 HP, Windows 7 HP, Windows 7 Ult

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SquonkSC View Post

... But the best advice I can give you is to get a more experienced friend over to guide you through the process of installing.

A lot can go wrong, believe me.

Good luck
I second SquonkSC - Partitioning a hard drive is not difficult IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING (sorry for shouting). If this is your first shot at it, you have two options: (1) read up on what partitioning means and what the advantages are; and/or (2) talk to some folks about what you want to do.

For (1) Windows 7 has a good partitioning program built in that will help you with the more basic stuff - make a separate partition for data or backup, etc.

A good place to start is here - Partition or Volume - Create New (Seven Forums has a lot of good tutorials, this is just one.)

For (2) Feel free to ask for more help here - that's what this place is all about... :)

P.S. - Don't worry about "never" - almost everything we do has to involve "never" at some point...:)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2009   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64 Service Pack 1

Ok, so I have a 500GB internal hard drive. If I set up a 150GB partition will that be enough for the OS and programs in the medium term? Then I would just have one other partition of 350GB for data storage.

Would there be any advantage to installing the OS on a smaller 50GB partition, programs on a 100GB partition and a third partition for storage? I read on one site that if you install the OS on a first smaller partition it speeds up the computer slightly because the system files can be accessed faster. But I am not knowledgeable enough to know whether this is correct or not.

I am just a kind of regular home user who also does some high end gaming. I have a fair few programs installed and a lot of media such as music and photos but I don't do anything esoteric with my pc. What would be a useful partitioning strategy for my single internal drive?

And I just wanted to clarify: can I set up two or three partitions during the Windows 7 clean/custom installation process? From reading the excellent installation tutorials here I think I can but I just wanted to be sure.

Many thanks in advance for any assistance or advice offered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2009   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64

You can set up partitions during a Clean/Custom install.
Clean Installation with Windows 7
In this tutorial on step #8.

Or you can add partitions before you install using Disk Management,
Partition or Volume - Shrink
Partition or Volume - Create New

If disk Management won't let you setup the partitions the way you want you can try the free program Partition Wizard. It's easy to use and has How To's on their site.

The consensus seems to be to put the OS partition first on the HD. Then each person has their own preference as to how many partitions they require. Minimum, one partition for your personal files/Data.
If you are going to put your programs in the same partition as your OS then add that amount to about +30 GB for the OS. My OS partition is 80 GB, lots of extra space for everything. Will depend on how much free space you have or how much you plan on using, if your always d/l'ing music or movies.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2009   #8
Microsoft MVP


Simply stated, boot into the WIn7 installer and choose Custom>Advanced Tools then delete any partitions (be sure data is saved), Create new one's to your heart's content, then format the first one to install Win7 (format others later in Disk management, most likely to be logical if no OS is planned to go there).

Good on you for studying the tutorials, especially Doing a Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version which has every possible pitfall by now.

Just remember when the job is finished with data all settled into partitions, use Win7 Backup Imaging to save an image externally so you never have to do a reinstall again - just reimage the disk in 15 minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2009   #9

Windows 7 Professional x64 Service Pack 1

Thanks for clarifying some points. I kept looking at that step of the clean install tutorial over and over without really getting it. I had it in my mind that I needed to "create" partitions whereas all I could see was information about "extending" partitions. It is amazing how much confusion failing to understand one item of terminology can cause.

So, let me try and get this straight in my head: when I start installation and reach step eight I will see one big 500GB partition. I can use the "extend" option to shrink this down to 50GB? This action will then leave another 350GB partition? Then I format the first partition and install Windows on that. Then I can format the 350GB section in disk management once the OS is up and running, right?

If I am talking nonsense, I apologise in advance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2009   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Frolix: You can do it one of two ways, as Dave mentioned: 1: shrink your current C partition using the "disk management" function in your current system (Vista I assume?) BEFORE you begin to install 7. If you now have 500 gigs for C, you might want to shrink C to 60 or 80 (assuming your current C has only 60 or 80 occupied). That would leave 420 to 440 as "unallocated space". You could then make a D partition out of that unallocated space then and there within Vista. After that is done, then begin your 7 install. 2: Don't fiddle with your partitions within Vista. Just dive into the 7 install. When you come to the screen about partitioning, choose "custom". Then choose the C partition and delete it. That leaves 500 gigs unallocated. Then make a new C partition of 60 or 80 gigs. That leaves 420 to 440 unallocated. Then make a new D partition from all of that unallocated space. You now have C of 60 or 80 and D of 420 or 440. Then choose C as the destination for the 7 install and continue. Either way works well. If you have no experience with "disk management" in Vista, I'd probably just go with method 2. Needless to say, copy ALL of your data to your external drive first--bookmarks, email, pix, video, mp3s, whatever you have. Whatever you now have is going to disappear from C if you do a "clean install", which is the preferred method. C and D is plenty of partitions. The advantages of putting an operating system and its programs on separate partitions is minimal at best. Back up everything to your external drive after you finish the Windows 7 install. Sorry about the single paragraph. For some reason, the reply function won't acknowledge my paragraphs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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