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Windows 7: Partitioning Drive for Optimum Performance

15 Feb 2010   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BuckHunter View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by BuckHunter View Post

So if you move all your data to a separate drive (partition), would you then have to change all the default locations that all the programs look to for storing data? Also, would iTunes work any longer since it would not be able to find the library?

No, not if you do it as explained in my video. If you move them via Properties > Location tab, the system will change the path automatically.
whs,
I have a 1 TB HDD, how large would you recommend making the OS partition (with room for application installs and all).
50 to 60GBs should be ample - I have 40GB and my Win7 system with 1726 program folders is around 15GBs since months (no shadowstorage). For a data partition that is different and depends completely on your planned files. With e.g. videos, you can fill 500GBs in a few months. But then you can always offload to an external disk.

PS: I have my system on a 80GB SSD which I split 40/40 for system and high usage data. Other data is on a HDD.


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15 Feb 2010   #12
computersplus

Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit
 
 

if keeping things separate is what you really want to do having multiple partitions on the same physical drive is not the way the best thing to do is use separate physical drives if you put all your eggs in one basket and that one lone physical drive dies so does all your data partitions along with it have your OS on a drive of it's own also put your swap file on a drive of it's own and your user files on a drive of it's own
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15 Feb 2010   #13
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by computersplus View Post
if keeping things separate is what you really want to do having multiple partitions on the same physical drive is not the way the best thing to do is use separate physical drives if you put all your eggs in one basket and that one lone physical drive dies so does all your data partitions along with it have your OS on a drive of it's own also put your swap file on a drive of it's own and your user files on a drive of it's own
If you image like me (every second day) then this is a small risk. But if you have 2 big HDDs, you can also do a mirrored Raid1.
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17 Feb 2010   #14
BillW

Win7 64 Bit
 
 

I for one, have always been a proponent of multiple partitions (and even drives) in Windows for many reasons, primarily because I don't want to risk putting all my eggs in one basket.

I've found over the years that creating one partition for Windows and system related apps (antivirus, etc.) to reside in C: drive is the best insurance of a system recovery just in case a crash of C: drive happens. Further, to enhance performance (and reliability), I also create two small partitions (~10GB), one dedicated for the swap file (D: drive), and another dedicated to TEMP/TMP files (E: drive), internet browser caches, etc. I also use this for "temporary" file use, fiddling, and such, where the key use is "temporary".

Also in my disk management scheme, I then create several partitions for dedicated use, such as games, apps (Office, etc.), all personal docs and data, pictures, and music. This is really useful in keeping all these types of files manageable, and also makes backup of critical data easier to maintain. I round things out by assigning my DVD/CD drives as last drive letters, such as Y: and Z: drives. I also reassign temporary pop-up drives (such as printers with internal card readers) to the tail end as well (i.e. X: drive).

The dedicated swap file partition (D: drive) is (at least to me) important in that Windows creates, deletes, and (sometimes) resizes this file, and I really don't want it to interweave itself into C:. If you have a lot of RAM, this file may not even be accessed, but it just depends. Having the swap file as the only file in that partition, makes access to the file that much faster.

I also usually install a second physical drive used for very large files, and also as a pseudo RAID drive, just so I have a physically separate drive to store critical data. This is also a good spot to put your Windows system backup on. Additionally, if you have apps that do use temporary files at a heavy rate, placing the swap and temp partitions on the front end of the second drive will also aid in performance, where the system is R/W data separately from the application files on the primary drive, and not having the hard drive seeking data all over the drive (especially compared to one single monster partition.

Now, I'm not saying that works for everyone, but it works for me, and (ever since Windows for Workgroups 3.1) its saved my bacon more than once.

Finally, as for resizing and re-partitioning, my new Gateway PC came with a huge 1TB drive. In Windows 7, they do offer a method of resizing a partition, but it seems to have some serious limitations. On initial setup (after doing a first pass system backup), I tried to resize C: from the initial 1TB partition to 100GB (more than adequate of Windows and system related apps). Unfortunately, disk manager would only shrink it down to 500GB, way to big for its intended use. After much trial and error, the only option left was a third party partition manager app.

Knowing that this is really a one-time-only requirement, I looked at many apps, and found EASEUS Partition Master 5.0.1 Professional Edition as a good and reliable app for resizing and repartitioning for Windows 7. In fact, if you're running Win7-32 bit, they have a "home edition" available for free! For 64 bit, the pro version (the one I have) is $40. No, I have nothing to do with EASUS, just giving my review of it. It was worth the $40 to save all the frustration with Win7's built in disk manager.

I hope all this helps someone. It may seem like a lot of extra work, but it surely works for me.

Bill
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17 Feb 2010   #15
monkeys breath

windows
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Well, in win7 you have to be all NTFS. FAT32 will not work, especially for the system. It may be OK for some data, but I would not do it.
I would not make all those partitions. Tthere is nothing to be gained in terms of performance. If you want better performance from the disk, get a SSD.
With that said, I would, however, make a seperate data partition. For the integrety of your data, I always recommend keeping your user data in a separate partition - separate from the operating system. That has the advantage that your data is safe in case the operating system goes on the blink and is not accessible. You can then either reinstall the system without having to worry about your data, or access it with e.g. a Linux CD and move it to an external drive. See I made for the purpose.

PS: there is no way I would ever touch XP after 1 year of Win7

not quite true. 7 just like 98, xp, and vista will search through everything on the c drive to make sure it did not miss anything needed for bootup. if you install your prgrams in another partition or hard drive everything needed for bootup is located in your c drive. other than the winsx folder your program files folder has the most files in it. windows not searching this during bootup does save time.
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17 Feb 2010   #16
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by monkeys breath View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Well, in win7 you have to be all NTFS. FAT32 will not work, especially for the system. It may be OK for some data, but I would not do it.
I would not make all those partitions. Tthere is nothing to be gained in terms of performance. If you want better performance from the disk, get a SSD.
With that said, I would, however, make a seperate data partition. For the integrety of your data, I always recommend keeping your user data in a separate partition - separate from the operating system. That has the advantage that your data is safe in case the operating system goes on the blink and is not accessible. You can then either reinstall the system without having to worry about your data, or access it with e.g. a Linux CD and move it to an external drive. See I made for the purpose.

PS: there is no way I would ever touch XP after 1 year of Win7

not quite true. 7 just like 98, xp, and vista will search through everything on the c drive to make sure it did not miss anything needed for bootup. if you install your prgrams in another partition or hard drive everything needed for bootup is located in your c drive. other than the winsx folder your program files folder has the most files in it. windows not searching this during bootup does save time.
So the issue is bootup time - right? How much can I save from a 15 second bootup and is it worth going thru all those hoops.


@BillW, you have quite an elaborate setup and I am sure it works well for you. But other than extra security, what does it really buy you? I am in favor of a Data partition. Amongst other things, it allows me to share the data between the differnet systems (Vista and Win7) in the same box. But for security, I do images every second day (system and data). I find this to be easier than an elaborate setup because I would have to do it for 5 PCs.
Your experience with Easeus is interesting. I once used their free edition and mucked up the whole system. I am sure it was my mishandling of Easeus. The fact that Windows Disk Management cannot move the MFT and therefore not shrink beyond about half of the disk space is a nuisance. But I always wondered why they would not move the MFT - there must be a reason.
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17 Feb 2010   #17
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Instead of relying heavily on partitions...I have a box running in my house that is a dedicated file server. It's on 24x7, and I don't monkey with it...don't run apps from it, don't install software to it, it just serves up files. Inside of that server is 2 identical drives. And every 6 hours they synchronize my shared folders so I have 2 copies in that box. Every week or so, I attach an external USB drive to that server and I synchronize my internal drive to the external drive. I actually have 2 external drives and I always keep 1 offiste in case of fire, theft, or other disaster at home.

My workstation doesn't hold much of anything except for installed applications and games...which I can simply reinstall. All of the data gets stored on mapped drives on my server. But I keep my OS on an 80GB SSD drive and have a 1TB drive that I use for storage and scratch space...so I usually image my C drive right after the Windows install and activation..so that I can quickly restore back to that point in time. Reinstalling a dozen or so apps doesn't take long at all..so I don't find the need for frequent backups.

The thing that I like about using a dedicated file server box is that I know that it's always online and my wife can access from her laptop or my laptop...even when i am screwing around with my desktop and take it offline.
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17 Feb 2010   #18
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

That sounds like a nice setup. If my systems were not in 3 locations thousands of miles apart, I would go for that too.
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17 Feb 2010   #19
AussieGuy92

 
 

i have a similar set up i have my laptop with an 80gb hard dirve with windows 7 64 bit and keep all my important documents and files on a 120gb maxtor portable external hard drive and back up my important photos and other files on disks. it works for me.
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18 Feb 2010   #20
mat420

windows 7
 
 

@whs. "what does it get you billw, besides better security?"


BillW stated "Further, to enhance performance (and reliability), I also create two small partitions (~10GB), one dedicated for the swap file (D: drive), and another dedicated to TEMP/TMP files (E: drive), internet browser caches, etc. I also use this for "temporary" file use, fiddling, and such, where the key use is "temporary". "

im going to go with bill on this one, i i think but i dont think i actually saw enough of a performance increase to bother doing it all again (who knows though, id have to compare side by side and thats too much work)


new question that id like to not have to start a new thread for please is
1. if i create one partition for windows and one for EVERYTHING else, can i reinstall windows and when i boot up everything will be exactly the same? (considering i dont format the partition during windows setup) ?

2. does reinstalling windows after time (1-2 years) create better performance? im not sure what it is but windows xp and under always seemed to slow down after years (even with proper maintenance)

3. if i were to put my pagefile and such on a separate partition, would fat32 be the fastest moving partition for it?
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 Partitioning Drive for Optimum Performance




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