Partitions to optimize performance

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Partitions to optimize performance

Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:38 pm

Ok i'm getting a WD80 gig drive in a few days and I want to set it up right the first time.

I want to put my temp folders and internet explorer cache on its own partition to minimize fragmenting. Is it possible to tell XP to put the page file on this partition as well?

Also, how can I make a partition at the beginning of the drive not appear as the C drive, but as the D drive.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 6:11 pm

8) If you're using FAT32 (I assume for compatability with older OS) then avoid partitions bigger than 32.0GB, if using NTFS use any partition size. FAT32 is very wasteful, try to stay near AND UNDER the limits of each cluster size (eg 8GB, 16GB, 32GB). Only downsides of NTFS are poor compatability with older OS and it fragments more easily (because it is more economical).

:wink: From what most people advise you'd ideally want the first partition (OS) to be pretty small (16GB?). If you want some room for your Internet cache, temp folders and swapfile then 4-8GB is plenty. To set your swapfile up simply set a minimum size under the 'System Properties' (r.click my computer), Advanced, Perf, 256-512MB is probably best but do leave the maximum size alone as this should automaticly be the full amount of free space. You'll have to untick the other partitioons or drives manually if you don't want them included.

:P Doing all this will hardly give you a noticable effect (apart from setting a minimum swapfile size), it's always better to have a 2nd HD for temp folders, swapfile etc and certainly for dual booting. I personally hate partitions and don't think they're relevant any more but to each his/her won. Whatever you do, defrag and scandisk regularly.

:) If you want your boot letter for Windows to be D: you can plug in a harddisk on Primary then tell Windows to install on the HD attached to Secondary. Otherwise you could try things like installing on an extended partition or creating 2 Primary partns (WinXP handles this well). HTH.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 7:11 pm

I use fat32 on winxp (have use 2k and 98 as well) on a WD 80gig with a 10 - 70 partition. Never had any problems.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 7:43 pm

:-? FAT32 was never designed to handle HDs or partns this big, it was a stop-gap solution and as they go it was pretty good and does do the job to a large extent even on large HDs/partns but it's not ideal unless you need maximum OS compatibility. If using Win2000 or newer you really do want to be using NTFS. Anyway, choice is yours. The problem on FAT32 with a 10GB partn is that it will use double the cluster size to a FAT32 8GB partn thus wasting a LOT more space, this means you'll store very similar amounts of data on an 8 & 10GB partn, most of the extra 2GB is wasted. The cluster size doubles as you go over each border in FAT32 and you want to avoid this. You can see howmuch wasted space there is by r.clicking on your drive then selecting all folders & files and clicking 'Properties', on average each file you have will waste half of your cluster size. Another problem is that although FAT32 keeps 2 tables they are prone to corruption, esp on a HD/patn over 64GB as this uses more than the rec maximum amount of clusters (2million IIRC). There are also other limitations of FAT32, namely caching, amount of files and directories in folders (esp the root), size of files (although it is 2GB per file), security (inc sharing), compression, speed on large partns, all off the top of my head. Yet another problem with specifying a FAT32 partn over 32GB is that Windows XP will often fail (at the last moment) to install to that partition, something Win2000 & 98 don't suffer from (conspiracy?). Anyway if you want to keep FAT32 I'd be careful what sizes you choose.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:14 pm

Good quality info Austin. I think the main reason I like FAT32 is that when I have a serious screw up and I do often, (I jack with things) I push in the old win98 start-up floppy and format C:. I have finally made a W2k bootable installation CD, but I've been running XP for a while now. Maybe next time I'll try NTFS. Old dog new tricks.
Austin wrote::-? FAT32 was never designed to handle HDs or partns this big, it was a stop-gap solution and as they go it was pretty good and does do the job to a large extent even on large HDs/partns but it's not ideal unless you need maximum OS compatibility. If using Win2000 or newer you really do want to be using NTFS. Anyway, choice is yours. The problem on FAT32 with a 10GB partn is that it will use double the cluster size to a FAT32 8GB partn thus wasting a LOT more space, this means you'll store very similar amounts of data on an 8 & 10GB partn, most of the extra 2GB is wasted. The cluster size doubles as you go over each border in FAT32 and you want to avoid this. You can see howmuch wasted space there is by r.clicking on your drive then selecting all folders & files and clicking 'Properties', on average each file you have will waste half of your cluster size. Another problem is that although FAT32 keeps 2 tables they are prone to corruption, esp on a HD/patn over 64GB as this uses more than the rec maximum amount of clusters (2million IIRC). There are also other limitations of FAT32, namely caching, amount of files and directories in folders (esp the root), size of files (although it is 2GB per file), security (inc sharing), compression, speed on large partns, all off the top of my head. Yet another problem with specifying a FAT32 partn over 32GB is that Windows XP will often fail (at the last moment) to install to that partition, something Win2000 & 98 don't suffer from (conspiracy?). Anyway if you want to keep FAT32 I'd be careful what sizes you choose.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:57 pm

Good quality info Austin. I think the main reason I like FAT32 is that when I have a serious screw up and I do often, (I jack with things) I push in the old win98 start-up floppy and format C:. I have finally made a W2k bootable installation CD, but I've been running XP for a while now. Maybe next time I'll try NTFS. Old dog new tricks.

With NTFS you should still be able to do that if you run an fdisk first.

As far as the page file goes: there is really no reason to put it on a seperate partition if you're keeping it on the same disk. The pagefile generally stays the same size (you can force a specific size, also), and unless you tell windows to clear it when you shut down, it won't disappear.

You'd be better off putting it on a seperate physical drive if possible.
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Postposted on Wed Jan 29, 2003 9:42 pm

AFAIK, setting both min and max size of the swapfile to the same, may increase performance, as it never have to resize the file. Ideally it should be set on a defrag'ed partition or right after a fresh install. But of course, it isn't recommended if the RAM is sparse.

But I might be wrong, this is only what I've heard/read..

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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 8:40 am

;) You get a very tiny increase if the swap file is set to one size only (ie not variable) BUT then you run the risk of running out of memeory etc, if you set a minimum size you gain the benefits of a fixed size swapfile and the only time it will be slower is when Windows needs more RAM anyway for which the fixed method would simply cause an error message. In WinXP (and presumably Win2000) the defrag proggy will ensure your swapfile is unfragmented, in Win9x you had to use a diff approach. Firstly tell Windows to defrag, then tell it to DISABLE the swapfile (providing you have at least 128MB but pref more), reboot, defrag and then reenable the swapfile BUT set a minimum size of 256-512MB and leave the maximum set to the max available space. Having it on a seperate partition won't help speed but may help fragmentation when the swapfile grows, it is MUCH more ideal to have a seperate HD for temps, caches & swapfiles even if the 2nd HD is slower as at least they can be used simultaneously (pref use diff IDE channels).
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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:04 pm

I still have to understand exactly how splitting your drive into several partitions is going to help the slightest bit against fragmentation. Can't really see how that would happen.

What you may be talking about is swap-file fragmentation, but if you set it to a fixed size (twice your RAM, usually), it's both faster and won't get fragmented, presuming your drive was already defragged before you created the swap.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:41 pm

Does anyone know what the cluster size would be on a drive with NTFS? As far as performance I dont there is any difference at all between NTFS and FAT32. I've seen benchmarks on some sites such as xbitlabs and storagereview and pretty much performance depends on the drive itself not the file system.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 12:55 pm

Now we have insanely big drives, finding what to do with those partitions may be the problem (organization). Not for me ;) , as I install Linux (3 part /home / and swap), BSD(2 part /home, /) and Win2000 (2 part sys+app NTFS and data FAT32).

That's 7 partitions :D so I can easily waste up to 200Gb no problem hehe. With my CD burner and soon my DVD burner, I don't see how can I bloat it any more (yes yes Win XP but I'm not biting)
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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 3:24 pm

8) morphine, if you put as many of the temp files and similar on to a seperate partition then they won't effect the other partitions, if you have 1 big partition with lots of these files which switch and change regularly it affects all your files. It isn't dramatic but the improvement is there. Fixed size is only very minorly faster (again like NTFS vs FAT32 it's something which won't really show up) but it can and often will become limiting unless you're on about dedicating a 1GB+ of your HD space. 'Twice your RAM' doesn't cater well for a LOT of people. Those who have 64MB will want a lot more than 128MB and almost all users with 1GB RAM certainly won't need 2GB! What you should look for is your uses (eg. multi-tasking, user-switching and heavy DV editing reqs more than surfing the net) and OS reqs. For most users having 256MB is pretty generous for Win9x but WinXP will still be heavily reliant on the swapfile, so you'd probably want MINIMUM swapfile to be 128-256MB in Win9x but 512MB in WinXP.

:wink: I still dislike partitions and much prefer the folder approach. Anyway, NTFS will generally use 512bytes to 4KB cluster sizes while FAT32 tends to use 32K - 64K. Using my 50GB partition as an example this would mean NTFS using 4KB and FAT32 using 64KB, I have 65,000 files on it which means in FAT32 it would be wasting 2GB while NTFS would only be wasting about 128MB, in practice NTFS wastes much less as it manages smaller files even better. My 50GB NTFS partn wastes only 13217208bytes (12.6MB) and that's VERY nearly full and without user compression too. That's before looking at the issues of FAT32 like it's more prone to corruption, file size limits, root and other directory limits, poorer caching, no security and no compression. Only shortfalls of NTFS is poorer OS compatibility, slightly more prone to fragmentation and you can't really use a bootdisk (but gain the security by not).
Last edited by Austin on Thu Jan 30, 2003 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 3:39 pm

Thanks for the info guys.

BTW I'm doing an NTFS partition because i hate Win98 with a passion :lol:
Last edited by sativa on Thu Jan 30, 2003 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Jan 30, 2003 3:48 pm

If you set your swap file min and max to 1GB or higher, it is unlikely you will ever run out of total memory. If you get error messages like "out of memory," you probably have other issues such as a crappy program or bad hardware. There are few programs out there that will suck 1GB + your physical memory. Perhaps big time Photoshop, CAD, or video editing would, but if you have that problem you wouldn't be here.

Always use NTFS over FAT32 when given the choice. It is a superior file system. Unless you absolutely must physically plug in the NTFS drive into a Win9x system by IDE/USB/Firewire (i.e. dual boot, or to troubleshoot), there is little debate on which to choose.

If you need to read NTFS files from a Win9x machine, just network share it out. NTFS can be read directly by NT4, 2000, XP, and Linux, and can be read by everything over network protocols like Windows networking and FTP.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2003 1:21 am

Again, thanks for the replies :D .

i do have 1 question that remains though: is it possible to tell windows to set the pagefile in a certain partition, and if it is possible, how do i go about doing it.
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Postposted on Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:18 am

sativa wrote:Again, thanks for the replies :D .

i do have 1 question that remains though: is it possible to tell windows to set the pagefile in a certain partition, and if it is possible, how do i go about doing it.


OK, this is going to get complicated, so follow along (I'm assuming you're using XP):

Control Panel>System>Advanced>Performance Setting>Advanced>Virtual Memory Change

Once you get there, you can assign the pagefile's size and drive.
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Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2003 1:05 am

Thanks Ned. I figured thats how it was done but what confused me is how you can have multiple page-files. I guess you can use one per drive.
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Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2003 3:11 am

morphine wrote:I still have to understand exactly how splitting your drive into several partitions is going to help the slightest bit against fragmentation. Can't really see how that would happen.

What you may be talking about is swap-file fragmentation, but if you set it to a fixed size (twice your RAM, usually), it's both faster and won't get fragmented, presuming your drive was already defragged before you created the swap.


With common levels of RAM, you only need a swapfile that's double your RAM if you do RAM intensive tasks. The best judge on if you need more RAM or a large swapfile is to monitor your Task Manager (in Win2K/XP) andunder the Performance Tab, watch your Mem Usage & history. If your Mem usage often goes higher than you have RAM then you need your swapfile. Increasing RAM or swapfile space can help.
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Postposted on Sat Feb 01, 2003 11:45 am

if you partition, then you can defrag each drive individually. So if IE writes 10,000 temporary internet files to it's own drive, it won't screw up your mp3 partition.

morphine wrote:I still have to understand exactly how splitting your drive into several partitions is going to help the slightest bit against fragmentation. Can't really see how that would happen.
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