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Suggestions on HD Partitions

Hi all,

This might be a bit off topic:

I'm getting a newer bigger HD (240 GB vs. the old 60 GB HD) to replace my primary HD.

I also have a secondary HD for backups.

Any pointers to how to partition my HD?

I figure partitions for:

* Video Editing and my Virtual PC files

* Gold version of our commercially distributed software. (I.e., template for making CDs for customers)

* Programming data, projects, etc.
* Main O/S and programs.

Backup the second two with Acronis (v7, not 8. Read the recent horror story on JoS).
Mr. Analogy {Shrinkwrap ISV owner} Send private email
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Does everyone still partition their drive?  Isn't partitioning really just a hold-over from when you couldn't format a drive more than a few hundred MB in a single go?

I've got 120GB in one single parition and it's great.  Why bother with multiple partitions -- it usually ends up being more trouble than it's worth.
Almost Anonymous Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I think it is something to do with wasted space too. The bigger the capacity, the bigger the "blocks" have to be. The files are written to numerous blocks, not just a bit of the disc the correct size (to the byte). If you have lots of small files, they all take up one block, which may be 64k, so a lot of space is wasted.

I don't know if that problem still applies to the most recent file systems, but I think it was a perceived problem historically. Hence disc-doublers, like Drivespace, that were popular around the time of Dos 6.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Back to the original question. I would just have one big partition, as losing a few Gb out of 240 ain't going to hurt too much.

The whole point of folders (directories) is that they allow you to organise your files.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The most common reason for partitioning is to separate programs and data.

So, you have a system/program partition, which you ghost, and another partition for data. From there on, you can restore the initial state of your system in about an hour, while retaining your data.

Windows is a bit ugly in some places - the whole concept generally works better on other OSs.
Rhys Keepence Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I second Rhys' comment.  C: for windows & apps, D: for data.  May seem like more work initially, but it makes system restoration and data backup so much easier than not doing it.
Joe Paradise
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Well, I will do this way.

OS and and Programfiles on an NTFS partition as my C drive -25GB.
Movies and music on FAT -> 50GB
Projects and hobby softwares FAT -> 50GB
Mails and documents FAT -> 5GB

The rest I would leave for a linux partition. And mount all the FAT partition from linux too. And thus I will be sharing my mails on windows and linux.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I prefer physically separate drives.

40 - 60 gb drive C: for OS and apps
120 - 200 gb drive D: for data
muppet 2.0 Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
and one for swap
Aaron F Stanton Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I wonder if partitioning is worth it, at least with Windows?

So much of windows software has to install stuff in the windows dir on the C: drive that eventually you run out of sapce there, and have all this free sapce on your other partitions but can;t use it! very frustrating...

Also apps that assume only C: exists, or use C:\temp for temporary files and can't be pointed elsewhere...
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Honu makes the the best point for not partitioning your drive and Rhys the best point for partitioning your drive.

Out of my 120GB drive, I've been down to 5GB remaining.  If I need the space for data or programs, I can delete other data or other programs.  If I partitioned it along the lines described by Rhys, I'd be much more limited.

Nemesis said: "I think it is something to do with wasted space too. The bigger the capacity, the bigger the "blocks" have to be."

That's true of FAT file systems but not of NTFS.  If you're going to have one big partition, do NOT format it FAT32!
Almost Anonymous Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I vote for partitioning, and also having 2 or more drives.

I create a smallish (20 - 30 GB) partition for Windows; I think 10 GB is enough, but I like extra headroom, and the difference isn't very costly.  For any new programs, I change C: to D:, but some key programs I install on C.

Reasons for this:
1.  The first partition can be optimized so the heads need to travel the least distance, maximizing speed for programs used a lot.
2.  It's easier to defragment the smaller partition, again maximizing speed.
3.  I can ghost the C drive easier if it's not too big.  Trying to ghost a large drive is not really feasible.  The D-drive can be backed up easily or reinstalled, but the OS is much harder and more important (registry, desktop, etc).  And if the hard disk fails, it's easier to get back up and running if you don't need to restore an entire huge drive.
4.  I think there is still some waste with NTFS and large drives, just not as much as with FAT.  But I'm not certain about this.
Marty Fried Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
On my Widows box i use

c - os files only
d - volitile data that needs more frequent backup, like email and source/project files.
e - contains the software installers, and the actual installations for programs that don't demand to be installed on c
f - amounts to a scratch drive.  I put my browser cache, and page/swap files.  i download files to here. 

the advantages as i see them are.

i can ghost or otherwise save most of the stuff i am interested in, by backing up drive d.

other than a master backup of my installers directory
i don't need to back up drive e, as all of my installed apps, save there information to a directory on drive d.

i don't have to backup drive f at all.
Jan Slater Send private email
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
There was a time when I thought one partition was good. That was before I had to administer a box. I now even like my apache files split up and not all under /usr/local/apache Here is how caos suggested the partitions and I like it. BTW, I once ran out of space and I was able to add a new hard drive, move all data to it and then mount that directory on the new hard drive but it took a bit of work.

$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda2            2.0G  292M  1.7G  15% /
/dev/hda1            244M  6.2M  225M  3% /boot
/dev/hda5            7.7G  3.6G  4.1G  47% /usr
/dev/hda6            976M  484K  976M  1% /tmp
/dev/hda7              17G  3.4G  14G  20% /var
/dev/hda8            976M  79M  898M  9% /var/cache
/dev/hda9            490M  7.5M  483M  2% /var/log
none                  110M    0  110M  0% /dev/shm
/dev/cdrom            638M  638M    0 100% /mnt/cdrom

I only use windows for workstation and I use defaults for it.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I always partition large hard drives. It's saved my as more times than I can remember, especially for data recovery.

I have different partitions for the system, programs, miscellaneous documents, source code, images, MP3s, etc.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
I don't know.  I used to always partition my HDs.  Now I think that I'm a proponent of having multiple drives.  One small drive for the OS, all programs and small incidental files (Office Files and other files that I'm working on that will be in my My Docs directory).  And a second large drive for data (preferably RAIDed).  Drives are cheap.

If I were only limited to one drive, I'd just have one partition... this seems to be the least inhibiting. 

Kiwi Send private email
Thursday, September 16, 2004
"Why bother with multiple partitions -- "


Because my backup software (Acronis True Image) will only backup a WHOLE partition.

So, I'd rather not backup the 100 GB of raw video footage and the 20 GB of our production CD (commercial software we sell.)
Mr. Analogy {Shrinkwrap ISV owner} Send private email
Thursday, September 16, 2004
> If you're going to have one big partition, do NOT format it FAT32!

Depends.  My big FAT32 partition has MP3's, which in my case are about 1 meg/minute (192kbps).  And my music tends towards longer songs, 5 minutes or more.  I really don't care too much about wasting all but 1 byte of a 32k cluster when saving a 5 meg file.  Nowhere near as wasteful as having 2 copies of each MP3, one for Windows and one for Linux.

Sure will be nice when the linux-NTFS project is done....
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Just my 2¢...

1) FAT32 is an obsolete abomination; any Windows partition should be formatted NTFS.

2) The main reason for partitioning is to make your file store more manageable, so for example backups of the C: system partition can be done more often than huge amounts of data in data partitions, some of which might not need to be backed up at all.  Cluster sizes (allocation units) are always small in NTFS (at least, compared with FAT32) so that is NOT the reason for partitioning; also I would not go overboard with creating many partitions for reasons of data organization, as that can be done equally well with directories.

3) Partitioning should generally go hand-in-hand with multiple drives if possible, for reasons of both performance and data security (my most important files are replicated on the second drive more or less daily or even more often – sort of a manual selective mirroring).  Windows is such a pig for disk activity that splitting the load over two spindles is a major performance boost.  When using 2 spindles with XP, don’t forget to set up pagefiles on both drives; XP is quite smart about paging to the disk with the lowest level of activity.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
I run RAID 0 on my home system. A Promise controller is built into the motherboard. The difference (from ATA) seems phenomenal.

Ideally, I'd have a separate drive for the OS.I'd then move the swap file to the RAID.

It already seems pretty swift to me though.
I am Jack's filesystem fealty
Friday, September 17, 2004
I only partition drives for UNIX machines.  If it's Windows, I just don't see much point in partitioning.  Your important data doesn't belong on the local drive anyway, that's what network fileshares, source control, and Sharepoint are for.  This makes backups simple since the only stuff you need to backup is on a handful of servers.  Redirect MyDocuments to point to the user's space on the fileshare.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Separate partitions and separate drives.

Never put anything on the boot partition that doesn't have to be there.

boot - system files and stuff that insists to be there
apps - partition with apps
boot2 - back up boot partition on 2nd drive
cache - partition with swap files and caches
multimedia - big music and video files
me - personal files
dev - compilers, development tools
prj - source directories, project files

there are some more partitions as well but I'll stop now
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Drive c: OS(s) (and drivers)
Drive d: Data (souce code, mp3s, etc)
Drive e: executables (VS, MS Office, etc)
Drive f: Temp (temporary files, download directory, Browser Caches, etc)
muppet XP
Saturday, September 18, 2004
I have a partition for software, one for data, a "backup" data partition that I copy everything over to regularly, and a software RAID 0 partition for video and stuff.

Unfortunately, with the way that windows software is, it's very hard to have a seperate data partition.  The goal is to have everything in the "Documents and settings" folder, because that's where Windows is happiest.  You can have mount points in Win2k/XP "like unix", but Microsoft fumbled the ball and they are a little tempremental.  The trash bin doesn't work, for example.

Or, you can have certain older poorly-written apps complain and tweak the registry so that it knows that all user profiles are stored somewhere else besides c:\Documents and Settings\ .  Next time, that's what I'm doing.

Really, the "best" way to run things is LVM + Partitions + Mount points under Unix.  This way, you can make sure that your log files don't clog up your mail spool directories, etc.  And you can upgrade to a larger drive with greater ease and fewer reconfigurations.  Plus, with LVM, you can adjust the size of a partition as you need to, instead of making an exact decision right away.
Flamebait Sr.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Probably the biggest question I have is what OS, and how many?

I used to use System Commander so I could have multiple OSs in multiple partitions. I've since switched to VMware for this capability. Much nicer for a couple of resons.

First, Windows NT and 2000 were sensitive to the partitioning. System Commander couldn't do a good job of hiding other Windows partitions from them. So they usually ended up with the System folder on E: or some such. If I tried to reorganize the partitions, or copy a partition to test some trial software, it messed up the drive letter mappings and its a real pain to get it to work again. And anytime the partitioning changed, the drive mappings got reset again. Linux can have the same problems, but at least you can boot from floppy or CD and eaily change the /etc/fstab of the offending partition to fix it.

Second, VMware makes it much easier to copy/clone the virtual disks, and back them up and restore them.

On the down side, VMware makes it a pain to try and resize a virtual disk.
Dave Lathrop Send private email
Monday, September 27, 2004

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