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Optimum partitions

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Optimum partitions

My PC will have a 320 Gb hard drive, How should it be partitioned?
Would 5 or 6 equal partitions be best.
After only having around 10 Gb the new one seems vast !
Does the partitioning have to be done when the PC is being set up or can XP pro partition it
14 REPLIES
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Optimum partitions

XP can certainly partition your hard drive during installation. As for partitions themselves ... that's more personal choice, you could have a 4Gb partition for Windows, a 20Gb partition for your applications and the rest for data (not necessarily as a single partition!). At least if you have to reinstall Windows, everything else should be safe.
shermans
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Optimum partitions

That is interesting because I have always partitioned my hard disks along the lines you suggest. My data partitions are usually about the size of a CD which means that all the data in a partition can easily be mirrored on a back-up CD. I hoe that might help.

However..................., I have a subsidiary question. I am still running Windows 98 and I am about to buy a complete new system, presumably with XP. I had understood that the new NTFS format (or whatever it's called) does not allow you to partition the disk, and had therefore assumed that I was going to have to change my ways. Have I got that wrong ?

If a hard disk can still be partitioned, and if it can be done by XP, can it be done AFTER installation of XP or must it be done PRIOR to XP set-up ? My concern is that if I buy an off-the-shelf system, it is likely that XP will be already loaded. Does that mean that I have to start from scratch ?

And these days, do OEM versions of XP usually come with a complete set of XP set-up disks ? My old hardware did not, and I had to go and purchase 98 separately because the OEM version could not be re-installed without new disks. But that was some time ago, and such bad practices may have hopefully changed.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Optimum partitions

NTFS is a filesystem, not a partitioning system. Partitioning is independant of the type of filesystem. You only choose the filesystem once a partition has been created. Also windows also has the concept of logical drives where a single partition is split up into a number of separate drives/filesystems and see as separate drives by windows.

NTFS is just an enhacement of the FAT/FAT32 filesystem used on earlier versions of windows.

If you want to partition the disk properly just buy a copy of partition magic pro and you can repartition any existing disk or logical drive and increase/reduce partition/filesystem sizes.

New systems with XP installed often come with recovery disks which can restore the system back to the factory settings and will only work on that syustem or model. They don't come with OEM Windows XP disks. The reason is it stops people from being able to copy the CD and use it elsewhere.
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Optimum partitions

Holly computers say they supply both an installation XP cd and a recovery cd.
However I have just ordered from my local PC shop as the same spec PC was £120 cheaper. I expect to get an installation cd that is a OEM XP pro. They are charging arround £100 for the cd with licence
shermans
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Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Optimum partitions

Thanks guys. That is helpful.
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Optimum partitions

Just to add, if your going to create partions, I would add one for the swap file.
shermans
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Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
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Registered: 07-09-2007

Optimum partitions

Quote
Just to add, if your going to create partitions, I would add one for the swap file


So I am not quite as old fashioned as I thought I was ! I have always had a swap file partition to stop fragmentation of the Windows and Programme partitions, but I assumed that with hard disks of 80 Gb and more these days, it would probably no longer be necessary. But I was obviously wrong again.

Quote
Also windows also has the concept of logical drives


I assume that logical drives, however, do not avoid fragmentation because they are really all one drive. Presumably, one cannot re-format a logical drive as one can a partition to clean it up either, as it would format the whole hard disk and not just the logical drive. So presumably, partitioning is still better than logical drives.
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Optimum partitions

Is it better to have the swap file in a different partition than the OS.
Does the swap file need to be the same size as the RAM, in my case that would be 1Gb. So is it recomended to have a partition that size.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Optimum partitions

I think you may have misunderstood what I mean by logical drives.

When you create a partition, you can set it as a primary or secondary partition. You can boot off primary partitions but not secondary. A secondary partition can be setup to have a number of logical drives - what this does is split the partition space into a number of areas, and each area is treated as if it was a different drive and windows assigns a different drive letter to each one. Each logical drive is treated as if it was a physical disk and can be formatted separately to others and a filesystem can be added. You could have one logical drive set to FAT, another FAT32 and another to NTFS filesystems.

Fragmentation is a feature of a filesystem and has nothing to do with how the physical drive is partioned / formatted. Each logical drive is treated as a separate drive by windows and each one can suffer fragmentation.
shermans
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Optimum partitions

The logical drives were available under W98 and W95 which is what I have been using. I misundrestood and thought thast XP had ome new feature which allowed logical drives by re-directing as you used to be able to do with DOS !!!!

So actually there is no change when running Windows XP from W98 ? That is what I already do, I already format the various partitions from time to time to clean them up.
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Optimum partitions

You will only see performance improvement if you put the Swap File on a different physical disk to your OS. Putting it on the same disk in a separate logical partion is of no benefit.
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Optimum partitions

That is only if you intend to use the swap for a best performance environment.

I have a crappy old 1GB drive I use for swap-space in photoshop, but I might as well be using a single drive for the performance gain.
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Optimum partitions

A swap file can become fragmented if it's size changes, but this won't happen if it's within it's own partition.

In addition for performance reasons, its always best to place it on your fastest drive.
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Optimum partitions

I just wanted to point out an interesting fact at this juncture in the conversation that Linux automatically uses an entire partition for swap space. In fact if you're going to have such a massive hard disk, I'd recommend squeezing Linux on the end somewhere - it's worh it.