Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

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Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:44 am

Subject: My new AMD build (first time builder)
DarkMikaru wrote:While we are on the subject of storage I'll let you in on a secret. You should create several drive partitions. Most every machine I build for clients, family, friends, etc has at least 3.

C:\Windows (Let windows do windows...don't put your useless crap here! lol)
D:\Programs (Create swap file first so it is at the front of partition: 1536 - 1536MB will suffice)
E:\Games (Install all your games here)
F:\Media ( Put all your music, videos, documents & pictures here)

Why? Very simple reason. Peoples computers get slow over time because everything they do ends up on the Windows drive(partition). Its like having a 5bedroom house and your only limited to using the Living room for everything! You cook, eat, sleep, watch tv, store all your crap in this one room. But over time its going to be a b&*^% to start looking for things once you have to much "stuff". Now, look at your house or apartment now. You keep your stuff separated and you can find it easier right? Thats my lame analogy for why I do it. But it works. I've checked out customers machines years later to find old Socket 754 Sempron machines still running as quickly as the day I built them. It won't make your machine faster, but will help prevent performance degradation in the long run.
I strongly disagree with partitioning your hard-drives. Separate your operating system and most-used applications by putting them on the SSD. Separate your user directories by moving them to the mechanical hard-drive (This is very easy under Windows 7 or Windows Vista). If you start recording TV or storing a ton of video, install a separate 2 TB drive like the Samsung HD204UI Spinpoint F4 for that. You won't have to worry about head seeks between all of those partitions making all of your disk access slower than with a single drive.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:52 am

IMO, there are a few reasons to create partitions. Either, to overcome file system limitations (FAT16, FAT32, MBR) or you want to boot several different OS from the same drive (virtual machines make this practically obsolete).
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:42 pm

Krogoth wrote:you want to boot several different OS from the same drive (virtual machines make this practically obsolete).

At first I objected to this statement, and then I realized I'm currently using a virtual machine and it's preventing me from needing to dual-boot.
Also, note that gaming is still an exception to this; perhaps it's the only one.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:48 pm

Another reason for needing multiple partitions is to when you have large number of files. There have been occasions when I needed to retrieve a file that I had deleted (and emptied from the recycle bin on Windows.) In that case using a file recovery program can save the day but it doesn't work so well if it has to go through a million files or more since it takes forever to process that many files. Plus it takes up quite a bit of memory. The only way to avoid it is to split the files between various partitions.

I realize most people won't have that situation but it does occur. Especially when dealing with code or large image collections.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:21 pm

I do not understand why I should configure my system so that it runs slower most of the time just to provide a smaller working set for those few rare events where I'm trying to recover a file that I deleted.

If I deleted it, I probably wanted it gone. If not, I should recover it from the backup instead of trying to brute-force it with a disk tool.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:40 pm

nanoflower wrote:Another reason for needing multiple partitions is to when you have large number of files. There have been occasions when I needed to retrieve a file that I had deleted (and emptied from the recycle bin on Windows.) In that case using a file recovery program can save the day but it doesn't work so well if it has to go through a million files or more since it takes forever to process that many files. Plus it takes up quite a bit of memory. The only way to avoid it is to split the files between various partitions.

I realize most people won't have that situation but it does occur. Especially when dealing with code or large image collections.

One word: backup.

Code? Heard of source control?

BTW, that quoted "suggestions" in the first post was kind of out-of-date. It used to be decent advice about 5+ year ago, when disk space was still sort of small and people needing to squeeze space for their data partitions. Also reformatting was common too. Pagefile on the outer tracks? Wow, do that on the same physical disk and watch your seek rate go to the toilet. :-?
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:59 pm

Agreed. Absolutely no need any more.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:12 pm

Pretty sure I havent partitioned a drive since 120 Gb was the norm
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:37 pm

Depends on the usage pattern.

Before a got a small 30GB SSD (which I have about 13GB free on), I regularly split the main boot drive into two: one small (max 60GB) boot partition, and the rest for general storage.

Since I don't need much storage on the C: drive, and hard drives have gotten so large, I'd be wasting the rest. If I didn't partition it, and tried to use the C: drive for storage, it'd be a PITA to transfer the files off if I wanted to re-format or otherwise restore the C: drive.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:41 pm

insulin_junkie72 wrote:If I didn't partition it, and tried to use the C: drive for storage, it'd be a PITA to transfer the files off if I wanted to re-format or otherwise restore the C: drive.

I'd wager that you need to rethink your storage folder hierarchy better if that truly is the case. Either that or move more of your content to a NAS/WHS.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:23 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
insulin_junkie72 wrote:If I didn't partition it, and tried to use the C: drive for storage, it'd be a PITA to transfer the files off if I wanted to re-format or otherwise restore the C: drive.

I'd wager that you need to rethink your storage folder hierarchy better if that truly is the case. Either that or move more of your content to a NAS/WHS.

Yeah... how hard is it to drag-and-drop the Documents and Settings folder? Or if you tend to put other stuff up at the top level, everything except the Windows and Program Files folders?
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:36 pm

The specific recommendations are outdated but making 2 paritions is still a good idea imo (whether they are logical partitions or 'hardware ones' - SSD/HDD for enthusiasts - isn't important.)

Parition 1: OS, programs, etc
Partition 2: data, save files, personal files, media, etc

That way if you want to simply reinstall or upgrade the OS (which ought to be done fresh imo) whether because you have to because the OS is hosed or you want to beause of an upgrade all your data is intact and you don't have to waste time pre-reinstall moving files about. Whatever way one accomplishes this its usefulness can't be denied.
Last edited by MadManOriginal on Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:46 pm

I've long created separate OS and data partitions. Since I got an SSD, though, I've had separate OS and data drives, as the SSD is only 80GB. But if the SSD were as large as the old drive, I'd partition it the same way. It just doesn't make sense to have a single partition on a large drive.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:47 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Whatever way one accomplishes this it's usefulness can't be denied.

But does that usefulness overcome the loss of speed or the inefficient use of space?
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:01 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
MadManOriginal wrote:Whatever way one accomplishes this it's usefulness can't be denied.

But does that usefulness overcome the loss of speed or the inefficient use of space?


So in the particular use case I mentioned you objected to (very little on the boot drive; I think I let things kinda go once and got up to about 40 gig used once when I was using mechanical boot drives), to use space most efficiently, it's better to get the smallest fast drive - usually about 500 gig these days - use 15-40 gig of it and let the rest sit there. Don't think we're going to agree on this one :lol:

What I usually did pre-SSD, is partition in two, and dumped my MP3s on the other partition, and told Windows to put the Users folders on the MP3 partition.

I could have dumped everything on one partition, moved all the files off if I wanted to re-format (not hard, but takes awhile and an extra step), but I preferred to just have the extra drive letter in Explorer.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:05 pm

insulin_junkie72 wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
MadManOriginal wrote:Whatever way one accomplishes this it's usefulness can't be denied.

But does that usefulness overcome the loss of speed or the inefficient use of space?


So in the particular use case I mentioned you objected to use space most efficiently, it's better to get the smallest fast drive - usually about 500 gig these days - use 15-40 gig of it and let the rest sit there. Don't think we're going to agree on this one :lol:

I was more referring to the fact that you can't take advantage of doing things like keeping frequently-access files at the faster parts of the drives if there are multiple partitions. The optimizers will only work within the partition.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:26 pm

Krogoth wrote:IMO, there are a few reasons to create partitions. Either, to overcome file system limitations (FAT16, FAT32, MBR) or you want to boot several different OS from the same drive (virtual machines make this practically obsolete).

if your still using FAT16 and FAT32, there are a few other innovations you need to be introduced to before partitions.

MadManOriginal wrote:The specific recommendations are outdated but making 2 paritions is still a good idea imo (whether they are logical partitions or 'hardware ones' - SSD/HDD for enthusiasts - isn't important.)

Parition 1: OS, programs, etc
Partition 2: data, save files, personal files, media, etc

That way if you want to simply reinstall or upgrade the OS (which ought to be done fresh imo) whether because you have to because the OS is hosed or you want to because of an upgrade all your data is intact and you don't have to waste time pre-reinstall moving files about. Whatever way one accomplishes this it's usefulness can't be denied.


Since my hard drives now contain 20 + years of work and data, the first thing I do is build another separate computer, clone the existing drive with Copy Commander, and then insert new drive in new computer and install everything and then use cloned drive to copy over data and such, that way if I pull a brain fade its the clones partition or new drive partition I toast and not my original. System reinstall work the same.... Clone first.. work with the clone. If its a suspected drive problem, clone, and then clone the clone, that way you don't have to touch the original more than you have to, you can just keep copying the 1st clone and trying different "fixes".

Multiple partitions is a guarantee that one day your are going to screw yourself out of some important data. You are either going to install the OS on the data partition, trashing your data, or your false sense of security is going to let you take down a whole drive with your data going with it.

I don't even start to manually partition a drive anymore.... Unless its a situation where I am migrating a system copy from multiple hard drives and absolutely have to.

The option in Copy Commander that says "Automatically copy to empty disk" will not copy empty data over my original, but I have been tired enough to copy the empty disk over the original before.

Managing partitions is an unnecessary complication. How do you size them? Are you talented enough to resize them and move data when one maxes out? Believe me, its going to happen. I consider myself a former partition victim, and if you are going to be one, get the right tools...http://www.partition-recovery.com/, Copy Commander(or your favorite clone tool), Acronis (whatever the latest is), and a couple versions of Linux and windows and partition you little heart out. Screw some of them up, put data on them, delete them, resize them, and the recover them..... let me know how much fun that is.

Nice new large HDD's are like $100 now, my software maintenance is over $5,000 (maintenance BS, it a yearly fee for updates) per year, and I probably spend $10,000/yr buying new software, buying 10 or twelve new hdd's every year is not that big of a deal, its the time managing them that adds up.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:50 pm

I don't believe I ever said partitioning is a replacement for a true backup. Any other number of things could happen without a backup that will 'lose all your data' including a simple drive failure.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Wed May 16, 2012 7:11 pm

First of all, I find this kinda funny that someone found my post and created a new thread about it. Maybe I should be flattered? Only reason I found this is because I was doing a search for an old newegg review on the old sempron 140 CPU's.

"I strongly disagree with partitioning your hard-drives. Separate your operating system and most-used applications by putting them on the SSD. Separate your user directories by moving them to the mechanical hard-drive (This is very easy under Windows 7 or Windows Vista). If you start recording TV or storing a ton of video, install a separate 2 TB drive like the Samsung HD204UI Spinpoint F4 for that. You won't have to worry about head seeks between all of those partitions making all of your disk access slower than with a single drive."

We are all entitled to our own opinions and experiences on what works for us and what doesn't. But without a doubt having multiple partitions maintains system performance over the long haul. It's simple logic. You clearly haven't maintenances as heavily fragmented cluster bombed machines as the ones I've encountered. Horrible performance is natural when you have 200GB+ of crap mixed in the same pot as the OS. Granted, with as fast as HDD's are now it may not be that big of a deal. But another benefit is being able to easily find your files (as long as the user keeps it up). Sure, Windows 7 has a search index system but what if you forget what you named that file. If you know it was a document and you've trained yourself to put things where they belong you'd find it quickly & easily.

"You won't have to worry about head seeks between all of those partitions making all of your disk access slower than with a single drive." Really? Ok, tell ya what.. I'm willing to bet you money that I can run CrystalDiskMark on any of my 5 partitions and read speed differences will be negligible.

Another point I like to make, and probably my main point as I believe someone else pointed out - System Restore. If you are hit with a bad virus, faulty software, or plan to upgrade/clean install the OS for any reason you can easily do so without having to worry about reloading all your personal files. Matter of fact, if you have a clean registry file you can import that and have instant access to all your previously installed software also. Done. My new system has a Samsung 830 64GB SSD, 2x WD Green 500GB, & 1 WD Green 750GB drive. The 500's mirror each other and the 750 is the catch all. Anyway, having as many partitions as I have may be to much for the average user. But you would still be hard pressed to say that keeping files in different places doesn't have its advantages.
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Re: Are multiple disk partitions worthwhile?

Postposted on Wed May 16, 2012 7:21 pm

>1yr thread necro!

Oh, and JAE hit it on the head. Use an SSD + HDD.

I used to partition drives out too- and it made sense, as an enthusiast constantly updating software, drivers, and being exposed to viruses, being able to nuke the OS partition from orbit and perform a re-install was extremely convenient.

However, with Vista and now 7, I haven't been able to actually 'break' an Windows install, and viruses have been a non-issue.
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