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dan99t
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Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:07 am

Hi,

I have 9 partitions on a 500 GB SATA 7200 RPM HDD. I did this few years back to keep things in order. I was also not sure if individual folders instead of Partition would hold 40 GB Up to 100 GB or more data.

I am reformatting & Installing Win-7 ( 64 bit ) on this drive & would like to know if too many partitions would affect the performance or slow the pc down & should I reduce the number of partitions.

System is a Dell workstation T-7500 with following specs.

Processor : Intel Xeon E5645 @ 2.4 GHz

RAM : 12 GB

OS : Win -7 Ultimate ( 64bit )

What would you guys suggest ?

Thanks
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:05 am

There's nothing wrong with having separate partitions, but it'd be fine with just being in separate directories on the same partition. Partitions also eat up a bit of disk space, so if you have too many partitions you'll lose a bit of storage capacity -- not enough to make a difference in most cases, but you're using a lot of 'em...
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:21 am

As long as you're not using an archaic filesystem like FAT, there isn't really a practical limit on the size of a folder unless you are dealing with a huge (many terabytes) storage array.

The main downside to partitioning a drive that way to organize you data (instead of using folders) is that it is less flexible. Eventually you will run out of space on one partition, even though you still have plenty of space on one or more of the other partitions. With folders, everything comes out of the same free pool, so you don't run out of space until all of the space on the drive is used up.
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dan99t
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 6:49 am

My largest partition is 220 GB so a folder of that size would be ok ?

Also does system performance suffer from too many partitions ? What would be ideal no of partitions if I were to re organize my data into folders ?

And, do I get better protection from viruses if the data is in separate partitions rather than in few folders within one partition ?

Thanks
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:10 am

dan99t wrote:
My largest partition is 220 GB so a folder of that size would be ok ?

Yes, that would be OK. Even 2TB would be OK (if your drive was that large).

dan99t wrote:
Also does system performance suffer from too many partitions ?

If you are frequently moving data back and forth between partitions, or running applications which access data from multiple parititions simultaneously, performance may suffer because the head needs to seek farther (on average).

dan99t wrote:
What would be ideal no of partitions if I were to re organize my data into folders ?

If this is a data drive (no OS on it), I would say 1.

dan99t wrote:
And, do I get better protection from viruses if the data is in separate partitions rather than in few folders within one partition ?

In general, it should make no difference from a virus perspective. The only way I could see it maybe being beneficial is if this is your OS drive; keeping data on a separate partition from the OS *might* save your data if you get a virus that attempts to wipe the OS partition. But it won't do anything to keep you from getting infected in the first place.
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dan99t
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:23 am

Yes, this is my OS drive. So I have OS in C: partition & data in various other partitions. So that data should be safe even if my OS gets infected right ?

You brought up another excellent point & need your opinion on that. Here it is :

One of my stock market application stores the price data in its own folder. So application & data both are in the same folder & that application is installed in C: Partition. Now I have collected that data painstakingly spending one hour a day for last 5 years. ( 32 GB total ) So that data is at risk if I get infected right ? If so what is the solution ? ( I do back up that entire folder once a week on another HDD.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:25 am

IMO on desktop Windows there's no real benefit to making large numbers of partitions vs. just using a folder hierarchy. All you're doing is making your job harder and reducing flexibility.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:34 am

dan99t wrote:
Yes, this is my OS drive. So I have OS in C: partition & data in various other partitions. So that data should be safe even if my OS gets infected right ?

You brought up another excellent point & need your opinion on that. Here it is :

One of my stock market application stores the price data in its own folder. So application & data both are in the same folder & that application is installed in C: Partition. Now I have collected that data painstakingly spending one hour a day for last 5 years. ( 32 GB total ) So that data is at risk if I get infected right ? If so what is the solution ? ( I do back up that entire folder once a week on another HDD.


Why not install the stock market application to a different partition, and point the storage location for your price data to that same partition (or a different partition, if you prefer)?

Caveat: I suggest this not knowing if the stock market application has to write entries to the Windows registry during install, but I'm not sure that would matter in your case for the following reason: Assuming the registry becomes corrupt/broken, and you can no longer run the stock market application, your price data should still be safe if it is stored on a separate partition (eg. other than "C:\"). In this case, re-install the application, or Windows (whichever is warranted), and point the application back to the price data once again.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:37 am

dan99t wrote:
Yes, this is my OS drive. So I have OS in C: partition & data in various other partitions. So that data should be safe even if my OS gets infected right ?

You brought up another excellent point & need your opinion on that. Here it is :

One of my stock market application stores the price data in its own folder. So application & data both are in the same folder & that application is installed in C: Partition. Now I have collected that data painstakingly spending one hour a day for last 5 years. ( 32 GB total ) So that data is at risk if I get infected right ? If so what is the solution ? ( I do back up that entire folder once a week on another HDD.

The only real protection in the case you get infected by a virus is to have the data on another drive that you remove from the system (ie USB/eSATA external).
The viruses out there will hit all your drives and data if they are targeting such.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:43 am

dan99t wrote:
Now I have collected that data painstakingly spending one hour a day for last 5 years. ( 32 GB total ) So that data is at risk if I get infected right ? If so what is the solution ? ( I do back up that entire folder once a week on another HDD.

Consider automated software for daily backups. Use good virus protection. Don't engage in risky practices. Consider making that computer work-only, and use a different machine for everything else.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:58 am

+1 Vote for a single partition.
With a single partition, the OS will be written near the outside of the disks (I believe) because it will be the first thing installed on the drive.
The unlimited flexibility of folder sizes on a single partition is a HUGE benefit that cannot be overstated. Like JBI said, partitions can cause you to fill one partition, but have loads of space on another.
Also, paritioning everything off isn't necessarily going to protect you from a virus. The best thing to do is to back up your data on an external hdd
It really sounds like you're using partitions as fixed-capacity folders anyway....
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:13 am

dan99t wrote:
Yes, this is my OS drive. So I have OS in C: partition & data in various other partitions. So that data should be safe even if my OS gets infected right ?

No, *all* data on any drives connected to the PC is at risk if you get infected. The only time having different drives/partitions helps is if the virus tries to wipe the system partition. But viruses can easily destroy or damage *any* data on drives connected to the system, including files that are accessible on a server over the network, regardless of how many separate drives or partitions you have.

dan99t wrote:
One of my stock market application stores the price data in its own folder. So application & data both are in the same folder & that application is installed in C: Partition. Now I have collected that data painstakingly spending one hour a day for last 5 years. ( 32 GB total ) So that data is at risk if I get infected right ? If so what is the solution ? ( I do back up that entire folder once a week on another HDD.

The solution is to keep backups (which you are doing). However, if you can't afford to lose even a week of data, then the backups need to be more frequent (daily).

Some other things to consider:

- If you connect the backup drive while the system is infected, you could lose the primary copy *and* the backup at the same time.

- If you are backing up the entire drive every week (instead of just backing up new files), and using the same external drive every time, then you are extremely vulnerable to corruption of existing files on the PC (due to flaky hardware or virus). The corrupted copies will over-write the good ones the next time you do a backup, and you will have no good copies left!

If this data is very valuable to you, you should also be periodically archiving everything to another drive (in addition to the existing backup drive), and that drive should get put somewhere safe.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:59 pm

As an old Amiga user, the use of partitions is second nature to me - and it's saved me a lot of time before now.

I always split my primary HDD into three partitions - Primary OS & main software, main data, and VMM - (I've always liked adding more virtual memory onto it's own partition).

The main reason I use additional partitions on my additional drives, is to organise my music software and data - and we're talking 100's of GB's which would take a few weeks to restore from scratch, since only critical/music data is generally backed up (and that's big enough), (none of it is data I don't have on DVD - just lots and lots of them - and I don't have any single HDD big enough to store it all (3 1/2 TB of storage in total, about half full)). The last time I had a problem - (a HDD eventually died) - because of the way I'd set my system up, I lost very little - one OS partition went, followed by the MBR, eventually - but using it as an additional drive, I managed to salvage some data off the data partition which remained intact long enough for me to do so. If the entire drive had gone immediately - which would have happened with a single partition, then it would have taken me far longer to restore it all from the DVD backups I had at the time. (I didn't have an external HDD back then, and the one I have atm is only a 500GB.)

So yes - it's entirely possible for only partitions to go - get corrupted/die etc. - at least at first, which is when they're very useful to slow down the spread of problems.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:42 pm

Performance-wise, it doesn't matter how big the size of a folder is. What is going to matter is if you have a single folder with a few thousand files in it, so when you view that folder explorer might lag briefly while it has to refresh and sort all the files to display. With an SSD even that scenario doesn't really matter anymore.

Partitions are okay and there's nothing wrong with continuing to use them, but honestly with the exception of KeillRandor's point about insulating file system integrity across partitions, there isn't really much reason to partitioning drives. The old reason about partitioning for virus protection is no longer true, a modern virus or malware infection is going to be quite capable of accessing any partition on any disk in a system if it was inclined to do so. If doesn't matter where on the disk you install or keep your market data as it would be at equal risk, although from a performance standpoint generally it is recommended to keep the root C: drive clear of non-OS stuff.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:50 pm

Kougar wrote:
Performance-wise, it doesn't matter how big the size of a folder is. What is going to matter is if you have a single folder with a few thousand files in it, so when you view that folder explorer might lag briefly while it has to refresh and sort all the files to display. With an SSD even that scenario doesn't really matter anymore.

Yeah, but he's talking about folders vs. partitions. Either way, if you've got thousands of files in the same place, Explorer will lag.

Aside from some wonky edge cases, my recommendations for a Windows system would be: 2 partitions for a system drive (not counting EFI boot and/or recovery partitions, if present); and 1 partition for data drives.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 2:26 pm

Not a partition fan here.........of the 3 2TB HDDs in my gaming rig I have no partitions and folders with over 1600gb of files in them.

My 2 I3 2120 PC's have partitions for recovery on the original HDD's besides that the 3 other 1 TB HDD's in my HTPC's have no extra partitions.

I am guessing if you store anything on a HDD it has to have at least 1 partition.

But I do think 9 partitions on a 500GB HDD is a lot of parts.....Hummm that game will not fit on that partition or this other partition....maybe if i move this folder into this other partition my game will now fit on this other partition :P
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:16 pm

There are 2 things partitions give you:
1) Separation of OS and data across OS upgrades.
2) Protection of the OS disk space if an app goes rogue and fills a partition with data.

Against that I can guarantee that at somepoint you will find yourself with a legitimately full partition and tons of space in another partition, wishing you had partitioned differently.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 3:59 pm

dan99t wrote:
I am reformatting & Installing Win-7 ( 64 bit ) on this drive

I'm surprised nobody thought to suggest the OP buy an SSD to put the OS/Programs on and use the 500GB hdd for data only.
Last edited by DPete27 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:22 pm

Can you tell us more about the kind of data you're keeping on the other partitions? 9 is a lot and it's very likely that merging some of them would make it easier for you to organize your data.

Also, yes, an SSD. Even a 120GB one would be enough for the OS (or a couple of them if you care about multibooting). It doesn't even have to be a top performer to make your box fly.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:20 pm

Like what others have said, I can see having two partitions to separate the OS and user data. You could make a similar argument for just having two drives (and would see better performance with two drives). Unless you have special data storage and security requirements, there's really no justification for more than the two partitions when using a modern OS and file system.

My installations have all been single partition since about the time when Windows XP became stable (SP2-ish). The only time(s) I've "lost" data, it was to a drive failure. Having multiple partitions won't save you from failed bearings, bad controllers, or a head crash. If you're worried about data integrity, a good backup regime is the only solution. I know that's not why you created the multiple partitions to begin with; but, it's worth a mention.

edited to add last comment
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:28 pm

I used to micro-manage my hard drives this way, particularly back in the days when Windows was less stable, particularly in response to significant hardware changes, and FAT corruption could be sandboxed to a partition. Win2k put a serious dent on those issues and Windows 7 has virtually eliminated them. Apart from certain specialty applications, fragmentation is really the only reason to make sub-partitions at all.

These days, I would divide a 500GB HDD into two partitions at most -- somewhere around 120GB for OS/programs and the rest allocated for storage. However, as has been said, you could really fly with a 120-240GB SSD as your OS/programs drive and the 500GB spinner as your data drive.
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:56 pm

The main benefit to having many partitions is when you have gargantuan amounts of data and you need to keep the amount of data for each partition under control so that you can complete your full backups, antivirus scans, and defrags (on hard drives) within the time-frame that you have decided you can tolerate.

For me, that time is from 3 am until about 8 am on any given night.

Incremental backups run very quickly unless you've just installed new software or just copied a lot of data to the partition being backed up, but I also take "full" backups on most of my partitions once or twice per month, depending on the type of data stored there.

My VST instrument sample libraries are HUGE I have about 1.5 TB for these sample libraries (just on my cut-down laptop), which would take hours to back up if all on one partition. Unless I am messing with them (like I am now as I install the newest version of Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate), the contents change very little, so incremental backups are fast; only a couple minutes each.

But the monthlies are killers if you try to back it up all at once, so to control this, I split my VSTs onto 4 or more partitions, none over about 500 GB, and I've scheduled these backups to take place on different days during the first week of each month. This way, I'm assured that each partition is backed up as one complete unit of work and any full backups outside of the OS and APP partitions are always done by 8 am.

I also have a rather large 3D object content library, as well as a sizable application partition. The 3D content library is about 60 GB, so that shares some space on one of the aforementioned VST partitions. The apps partition is on its own, but usually gets backed up just before the system partition so that the two always go hand-in-hand.

My laptop has two 1TB spinning drives in it, so I still run a defragger. I'm thinking of sourcing a third drive since I've only got a couple hundred TB free. If that happens, then the new third drive would go into the SATA bay currently occupied by the DVD drive.

That's just my laptop! My workstation is a bit more complex, because it has multiple versions of some software packages and VST libraries. So the numbers are all bigger, but the time-frame is the same...3 am until 8 am.

I use Macrium Reflect for backups, Windows 8.1 built-in virus scanner, and PerfectDisk defragmenter, which will do TRIM for SSDs and defrags for HDDs.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:49 am

I find that I don't worry at all about OS partitions. Don't even back them up. When they crash (or (hasn't happened yet (that I've noticed)) get infected), I trash them and reinstall.

All data that I care about is on secondary partitions. All applications that I'd consider reinstalling are at-the-ready either on my book-shelf or the latest versions of the installation media is backed-up. All secondary partitions are encrypted (most via Truecrypt <= 7.1a). The only non-encrypted secondary partitions that aren't encrypted are those that are self-encrypted, e.g., disk images from LUKS encrypted VMs, or those that never need any encryption, e.g., games.

The few things that only go in my OS partitions (on Windows) like my Firefox/Thunderbird profiles, are separately backed up, mostly via tar.gz's of the profile directories, and my home/desktop directory.

If I only had a single machine, I might think differently, but 2 home machines cross-backed-up, along with an off-site backup of the important stuff is plenty.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:55 am

just brew it! wrote:
dan99t wrote:
My largest partition is 220 GB so a folder of that size would be ok ?

dan99t wrote:
Also does system performance suffer from too many partitions ?

If you are frequently moving data back and forth between partitions, or running applications which access data from multiple parititions simultaneously, performance may suffer because the head needs to seek farther (on average).

If you're actually moving the files rather than copying isn't it just about infinitely worse ? A move with the same filesystem can't it just update the metadata(small fixed cost) and be done with it? vs. a move across file systems having to do both a full read and a full write of the file with speeds reduced because it can't just do one or the other it's having to run back and forth between the partitions(cost scales with filesize).
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:28 am

Yes they are. You won't be able to install games that are large in size, like Wolfenstein new order or the new Evil Within.
Although it really depends on your needs.
 
dan99t
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:13 am

Seems like lots of great ideas so I will have to rearrange lots of data.

With my limited knowledge this is what I have been doing to keep my data safe & all of this might be pretty armature for all pros that have posted very up to date strategies.

I clone my 500 GB hard disk ( with OS + 8 data Partitions ) twice a week so on Monday I have two spare disks besides the one I am using. I reinstall OS & all Programs every 3 or 4 months with any software updates if necessary.

I also back up the entire folder of stock market application data ( 32 GB & counting ) on separate 3.0 TB HDD once a week. This drive stays connected to the same machine. I cone this drive too once a month ( 2 copies of it, that is 2 other 3 TB HDDs which I keep outside of home. I also put important data in an encrypted locker created by " FolderLock" software every week on this 3 TB HDD. ( That raises a question if that Locker can get infected or not ? )

Now this might sound ridiculous to many of you but that is what I came up with self taught knowledge of computers.

After reading all the posts, it seems there are many holes in my method so I will let you guys seek them out & suggest the changes necessary.

I Really appreciate all your posts.

Thanks
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:15 am

Your backup strategy is nothing to frown at, you got several things right. It's important to keep multiple copies of your data, at multiple locations.

It's not just infections that can damage your data. There are also application errors, human errors, and bitrot (random undetected errors while data is processed in RAM or stored on disk, see this thread). Such errors may remain undetected for months or years, so keeping some of the older complete backups forever is a clever thing to do too.

However, why do you need to reinstall Windows and programs every few months? Windows doesn't get corrupted so easily unless you install *everything* you can possibly find on the web, and you probably aren't doing that on a machine that holds valuable data.
 
dan99t
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:53 am

Great idea of keeping an older back up forever. I used to do back ups on DVDs few years back but with so much data it was a real hassle writing so many DVDs. So I now do cloning which takes only 90 minutes for full 500 GB HDD.

Any idea how long a HDD can last if stored without using it ?

When DVDs came out the buzz was that it can last for decades but that is not true anymore.
 
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:12 am

dan99t wrote:
Any idea how long a HDD can last if stored without using it ?

Highly dependent on storage conditions. If kept dry (sealed container with dessicant), and not subjected to electrostatic discharge, mechanical shock, or temperature extremes, they should remain readable for many years. But note that the "design lifetime" of most HDDs is on the order of 5 years, so once you get out beyond that you're technically on borrowed time.

dan99t wrote:
When DVDs came out the buzz was that it can last for decades but that is not true anymore.

Yes, unfortunately the "race to the bottom" on media cost/quality has made them an iffy long-term storage option.

For absolute data retention security, the only bulletproof option is to periodically re-copy the data to new media, and employ an additional layer of checksums/hashes on individual files to protect against bitrot and other corruptions which might otherwise go undetected. I've had DVD drives which would appear to burn successfully, and the disc would even read without reporting errors, but the contents of files were corrupted. Scary.
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dan99t
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Re: Are 9 Partitions on a 500 GB HDD too many ?

Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:45 am

Many Thanks "Just brew it! "

Your posts have been extremely informative, up to date & very useful.

I really appreciate them.

Oh, how do I employ an additional layer of checksums/hashes on individual files ?

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