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Author Topic: Finally made it to Windows 7 -- looking for partitioning reccomendations  (Read 5180 times)
brotman
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« on: October 20, 2011, 12:11:14 AM »

[Note: this thread has been inactive for over a year!  the (currently) last post describes the configuration that I ended up with! see « Reply #18 on: Today (2013-05-23)at 02:04:12 PM »  Regards, Chuck]

Hi,  I'm switching over from my long holdout xpsp3 to windows 7 home premium 64bit on a new machine with 1.5TB hard drive.  On XP, I've always added extra partitions for special purposes.  I.E. c=Windows, D= Data, M= music, P=Programs, etc.  Not too familiar with the nuances of Win7, I don't know what if any partitioning makes sense.  Any suggestions from your experiences??? My main purpose for partitioning was to make it possible to reinstall windows with a minimum loss of my data & programs.   Since I have no Win7 disc, only the "recovery/restore disks" windows7 allows you to make, I wonder what makes sense fore a backup recovery strategy along with whatever, if any, partitioning I might do.  Have y'all had good experiences with win7 backup and restore system??  Any helpfull advice appreciated


Thanks,
Chuck
« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 02:16:31 PM by brotman » Logged

Chuck Brotman
40hz
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 02:15:02 AM »

I wouldn't go too overboard with partitioning. Segregating the drive into one partition for the operating system and programs; and a second partition for user data should be sufficient for general use. Basically this divides the drive between what needs to be reloaded from CD and everything else that will get lost if it isn't backed up.

Beyond that I'd just organize into general folders (music, my documents, etc.) and optionally take advantage of the Libraries feature if I needed to take it beyond that.

FWIW I normally create 3 logical drives in a single disk system. Drive C is for the OS and Programs. Drive D is user data. And Drive E is for special backups (hardware drivers, e-mail, browser stuff, etc.) and for storing the current system recovery image(s).

There's been previous discussions at DoCo that got into this in much more detail. The main goal was to have the hard disk set up in such a way that it was easy to backup user data to an external drive; and to allow for easy recovery of your complete system via disk images (with all your current programs and settings intact) in the event the system drive got screwed up royally. This is what's often referred to as a "recoverable without reinstalling" strategy.

And like most things, it's easy to do.



But the devil is in the details. And it's best thought about in advance when you're setting up a 'clean' system.

Does this answer your question or do you need more specifics? smiley
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 02:22:02 AM by 40hz » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 08:07:56 AM »

I got a Win 7 Pc a few months ago already and here is how it was after unboxing it :
Disk 1 : 3 partitions
- Dell Utility
- Dell Recovery
- OS

Disk 2 : 1 partition
- Data

Disk 1 and 2 are actually 2 Raid 0 arrays (2 virtual drives spanned on 2 physical drives)

Dell, in it's great and inspired vision, allocated around 1900 GB to Disk 2, and less than 80 GB to Disk 1.  Now, OS is almost full and Disk 1 cannot be resized without wiping both Disk1 and 2.  Thanks a lot Dell !

But were is what is of possible interest to you.

I re-partitioned Disk 2 as follows :
- Data (~100 GB)
- Downloads (Mostly software installers) (1/3 of the rest)
- Video (1/3 of the rest)
- Backup (1/3 of the rest)

I use Downloads to store ... downloads mostly,
I use Video to store DVB-T recorded content and post-processed content using DVD mastering software,
I use Backup to image locally Disk 1 and also Data. I also backup to an external USB3 HDD, because if one of physical internal disks fails, I lose both Disk 1 and Disk 2.

Hope this helps.
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Eóin
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 08:21:01 AM »

I re-partitioned Disk 2 as follows :
- Data (~100 GB)
- Downloads (Mostly software installers) (1/3 of the rest)
- Video (1/3 of the rest)
- Backup (1/3 of the rest)

I did something like this once, but that I found one partition was getting full while others had loads of space. These days I just use one big partition per drive unless I need to split one for dual booting. It saves hassle in the long run if you don't guess the partition sizes appropriately at start.
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allen
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 08:27:50 AM »

Dell, in it's great and inspired vision, allocated around 1900 GB to Disk 2, and less than 80 GB to Disk 1.  Now, OS is almost full and Disk 1 cannot be resized without wiping both Disk1 and 2.  Thanks a lot Dell !

Unless I'm missing something key here, you shouldn't need to wipe either of them, there should be quite a few other options. Win 7 out of the box has a utility that can shrink and grow volumes non-destructively.
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MerleOne
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 09:13:22 AM »

Dell, in it's great and inspired vision, allocated around 1900 GB to Disk 2, and less than 80 GB to Disk 1.  Now, OS is almost full and Disk 1 cannot be resized without wiping both Disk1 and 2.  Thanks a lot Dell !

Unless I'm missing something key here, you shouldn't need to wipe either of them, there should be quite a few other options. Win 7 out of the box has a utility that can shrink and grow volumes non-destructively.

Volumes (C:,D:, ...) yes, Raid 0 disks no, AFAIK.  Sad
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.merle1.
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 09:16:35 AM »

I did something like this once, but that I found one partition was getting full while others had loads of space. These days I just use one big partition per drive unless I need to split one for dual booting. It saves hassle in the long run if you don't guess the partition sizes appropriately at start.

There is always (free) tools to resize partitions afterwards (Easeus, MT Solutions, etc.), this is what I do when needed, once every 2 years or so.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 09:21:29 AM »

OS Boot partition
Windows Partition (250Gb should be enough)
Data Partition (most of the rest of the disk)
Backup Partition (if you just backup Windows and Office eg. you shouldn't need more than 40-50Gb).

My plan would be install Windows 7 on blank disk, set the size of the windows partition within the advanced options and make the rest of the partitions once Windows is installed.

Once you have windows installed, activated and fully up to date (and any other essential programs) look at teh amount of drive C you are using and make the backup partiition 60-70% of that size.

Once Windows is installed create a Data partition (you can expand/shrink the size later to allow backup partition space - but it is easier to expand than shrink with windows tools because they aren't intelligent - they don't move data around).

Click start and then you user name and select all your profile folders - right click and drag them to the data drive - that way all data will be automatically stored on the data disk (except for the stuff that get hidden in AppData).

Before doing the backup run ccleaner and delete all restore points to reduce the image size, then use Windows Backup to create a system image on the backup partition.

FWIW I don't think it worth bothering with the extra expense, hassles and potential pitfalls of RAID.

If you have money to build a RAID system buy an SSD instead and put windows on that to get more bang for the buck.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 01:34:44 PM »

I've never understood why people go crazy with disk partitions. Some people seem to use them like one would use folders. There's no good reason I can think of to have a "movies" partition, a "music" partition, etc. 2 partitions, as 40hz said, boot and data, or at most 3, with boot, data, recovery/images. Of course keeping recovery/images on the same physical drive limits its applicability in the case of disaster. *Some* system problems can be recoverable that way (i.e. something that doesn't involve physical issues with the whole drive), but it's really better to keep sys images and recovery partitions on a separate drive IMO.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 01:41:21 PM »

There is always (free) tools to resize partitions afterwards (Easeus, MT Solutions, etc.), this is what I do when needed, once every 2 years or so.

That's true, I love the dedicated live Linux distro GParted myself. But still I find the process of resizing partitions with data on them to be scary, maybe it's not risky at all though.
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MerleOne
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 02:28:28 PM »

I've never understood why people go crazy with disk partitions. Some people seem to use them like one would use folders. There's no good reason I can think of to have a "movies" partition, a "music" partition, etc. 2 partitions, as 40hz said, boot and data, or at most 3, with boot, data, recovery/images. Of course keeping recovery/images on the same physical drive limits its applicability in the case of disaster. *Some* system problems can be recoverable that way (i.e. something that doesn't involve physical issues with the whole drive), but it's really better to keep sys images and recovery partitions on a separate drive IMO.
- Oshyan

There is one situation where an extra partition is useful, IMHO : game installation.  For instance, my Steam folder is currently 35 GB big.  I have a dedicated partition for that.  If I had installed the steam folder on my system disk, it would have made images much too big, for files I can re-download anytime.
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 09:56:27 PM »

+1 for what 40 said:
Quote
I wouldn't go too overboard with partitioning. Segregating the drive into one partition for the operating system and programs; and a second partition for user data should be sufficient for general use. Basically this divides the drive between what needs to be reloaded from CD and everything else that will get lost if it isn't backed up.

with the added qualification mentioned by MerleOne:
Quote
There is one situation where an extra partition is useful, IMHO : game installation.
...basically anything that's so large that imaging it with the OS isn't worthwhile. Mostly games, but also includes CD/DVD dumps or virtual drives.



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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 11:53:30 PM »

Thanks, y'all, for the tips and opinions.  I'll look them all over and see how to best apply it to my system.

Quick question, for Carol Haynes: is having a seperate boot partition something you do manually or is it just part of a normal install???

Thanks again! now off to ponder and then to sleep
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Chuck Brotman
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 12:07:09 AM »

I have had set ups in the past with many partitions.  Mainly because I was big into multi-booting.  But another consideration was easy repair of the OS. Now though, with free imaging backup programs, and no real need to hide one OS from the other, I tend to go with a partition per OS. Unless we're talking Linux in which case I add at least one swap partition.

Now I tend to keep most of my data on external drives.  Also as the drives that came stock with the machine got larger, I found myself operating with more and more free space on the system partition.  It works well for me.  For example I'm on Windows Seven 32 bit now with 90% free space on the system partition.  I use "light" defrag programs to maintain the partition.  Defrag tends to take 1/2 hour or less depending on how many options I enable.  For that reason I defrag at least a couple of times a week.

If I had bucks for an SSD drive I might consider another approach.  But for conventional HD based OS I don't see the need on a user PC.

It's largely a matter of personal preference.  But I do remember frequently resorting to Partition Magic back in the days I was multi-booting.  The Windows system partition has a tendency to creep up in size more than you expect.

Even with installing most apps on another partition there's always a spoil sport that wants to put shared files,libraries, and other junk on the OS partition.

Plus these days with fast docking stations you can get internal drive speeds using external disks. It doesn't take forever to move your data over.


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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2011, 02:50:44 AM »

Quick question, for Carol Haynes: is having a seperate boot partition something you do manually or is it just part of a normal install???

If you install windows 7 on an empty drive the installer will create the main partitions you specify but also a 100Mb boot partition. It is part of Windows attempt to separate the boot information from the OS. It also includes some system repair tools for use in an emergency (used via the usual F8 menu).
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2011, 03:52:47 AM »

If you can manage it, having two internal drives is great - it gives you a lot more freedom and security.

My partitions are:

[drive #1]
  • OS
  • Backup: from second drive (I also do external backup)

[drive #2]
  • Temp folder / Page file
  • Files: Big Partition w. my files
  • Backup: OS-images / downloads folder

so at any (average) moment and time, only one partition on each drive is in use (normally OS, & Files)
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« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2011, 06:39:18 PM »

The goal of partitioning should be (or at least is for me) the ability to wipe and restore a partition without affecting others. Doing it for space/categories doesn't make sense because

1) folders work just as well. If you must, mount a folder as a drive letter
2) sooner or later you'll run out of space while another partition has free space

So what I do is make a OS partition (40-50gb is enough) and a data one. On the data partition are 2 folders - Data and Apps. Then I move my user profile folders into Data, so that all docs, music, pictures are in there. All portable apps go in Apps. Everything else is installed by default in c:\.

This allows me to reinstall Windows or restore an image of the OS partition without affecting my data. I try to use portable apps, and if not (e.g. Visual Studio), reinstalling is simple. Data gets backed up as usual, and I don't worry about data on c:\ since by definition it is expendable.
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2011, 07:23:09 AM »

I wouldn't go too overboard with partitioning. Segregating the drive into one partition for the operating system and programs; and a second partition for user data should be sufficient for general use. Basically this divides the drive between what needs to be reloaded from CD and everything else that will get lost if it isn't backed up.

Beyond that I'd just organize into general folders (music, my documents, etc.) and optionally take advantage of the Libraries feature if I needed to take it beyond that.

FWIW I normally create 3 logical drives in a single disk system. Drive C is for the OS and Programs. Drive D is user data. And Drive E is for special backups (hardware drivers, e-mail, browser stuff, etc.) and for storing the current system recovery image(s).

There's been previous discussions at DoCo that got into this in much more detail. The main goal was to have the hard disk set up in such a way that it was easy to backup user data to an external drive; and to allow for easy recovery of your complete system via disk images (with all your current programs and settings intact) in the event the system drive got screwed up royally. This is what's often referred to as a "recoverable without reinstalling" strategy.

And like most things, it's easy to do.
 (see attachment in previous post)
But the devil is in the details. And it's best thought Duplicate File Cleaner will help you about in advance when you're setting up a 'clean' system.

Does this answer your question or do you need more specifics? smiley

Designate one of the four standard partitions as an extended partition an extended partition is a special partition that can be divided into additional. Alden bates weblog: software recommendation: partition magic update: you might also want to check out the amon_ra recovery image which will automatically partition your sd card this article is for people with rooted android. Statistics collection recommendations for teradata 12 teradata back when i set up my current computer, i partitioned the 250gb hard drive with a 20gb partition for windows xp and the rest as a separate partition for my data. Partitioning your esx host - part ii - yellow bricks i have searched, googled, etc, but i can not found a recommendation on partition size what class sdcard for a class 4/6 that seems pretty good it really depends. Partioning recommendation the 2 gb recommendation is conservative (if you boot more then 1 distro you should share the swap partition)options /home: this is helpful if you need to re-install.
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brotman
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« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2013, 02:04:12 PM »

Hi,

I'm the originator of this thread. so I thought I'd top it off with an explanation of what  partitioning I finally ended up with, FWIW:

Disk 0 internal 1,5TB
  drive C: [200gb]  Win7
  drive D:  [500gb] Data
  drive K:  [200gb] "spare" windows partition
  drive P:  [500gb]  Programs

disk 1 internal 1TB
  drive B: [1tb] Backups
--------------
drive C is for the OS and MS office programs and files and others that "like" to be on c:  hibernation file, swap file Windows Folder, system,  Boot sectors  and  other  reasonably small base utility programs

DRIVE D  is for personal Data, email files, Music, downloads, etc

DRIVE K was created as a recover win7 installation, and I've kept it spare (and Bootable)

DRIVE P is where the rest of the programs go, especially big ones, like Desktop publishing, dictionaries and other references,

DRIVE B  is for Backups of programs and data as required, note it's on a separate internal hard drive from everything else, for better recoverablity.

Additionally there are two "recovery partitions" (~20gb total), left over from the factory install and a couple of external drives used for extended backups and data

This setup works for me and has certain advantages (I'll go into more detail if anybody cares enough to ask...

Your Mileage may vary...

Thanks to all who answered here! I hope someone may benefit from this thread

Chuck
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Chuck Brotman
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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2013, 11:10:26 PM »

Backups should be on another drive for both performance sake and reliability; therefore, I would have K and B on another drive.  Using D for a HDD probably meant changing the letter for your optical drive so I would have used U for user files instead.  I cannot think of any reason to add P instead of the default C drive. 

Using separate partitions is not as popular as it once was.  Many of the utilities for backup, recovery, cleaners, etc. do not work well if programs and files are in a separate partition.  Just remember that when running such tools.


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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 08:51:55 AM »

It may be wise to have a USB stick to boot into your recovery programs.
Maybe a USB for each recovery program, assuming your computer can boot from a USB stick.
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