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alternatives to partition magic/paragon?

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Unless you resource to expensive solutions (namely RAID 0 and/or fast SCSI drives), there's no much you can do, really. The 20% sounds like another myth to be (there are so much :() as I worked during years using a drive with a 15% of free space. It helps on defragmenting, but nothing else. There's some truth in trying to avoid the free space to fall below 10-5%, as the computer starts to feel much slower, but nothing else regarding specific free space percentages.

Carol Haynes:
20% free space is really only recommended to allow your drive to be defragmented easily. I have some drives that are just about full (files that are just read) and access is just as quick as on a half full drive.

Obviously if you have a near full drive disk writing will get slower as files have to be squeezed into randomly spaced gaps all over the disc - they are then slow to read again. It therefore makes sense to keep near full disks fully defragmented and organised properly - use a defrag app that runs every time the screensaver starts such as PerfectDisc, and regularly run a boot time defrag on the partition. It doesn't really help to use a defragmenter that doesn't do some organising too because you need the free space on the drive optimised into a single chunk if possible otherwise the first file write is fragmented again. The built in Windows defragger just defrags files and leaves stuff scattered all over.

I would also recommend keeping some free space on your system drive as programs are constantly wring temporary files on the system disc. You can move your temp files to another drive (See Control Panel > System > Advanced > Environment variables), point your browser cache to a folder on a different partition and move your pagefile to a partition on a different physical hard drive to the system partition. These will help somewhat with system speed - especially when it is under load - and reduce fragmentation on the system drive.

It isn't a panacea though as many programs don't behave well and use their own temporary files - usually stored in your user profile hidden "Applications" or "Local Settings" folders and I haven't found a way to move those off the system drive yet.

Ok thanks.
Actually, I should discuss my partitioning strategy here.
I have a OS partition, a data partition, a music partition and 2 HDs. Right now, OS and Data are in the same HD. These are the two most accessed partitions.

The idea is to put the music partition together with the OS partition on one HD and then the Data partition (pretty accessed) in the other HD... this should give me some faster boot times (well, not boot, but the entire HD activity frenzy once you log in) and general a faster-feeling system.

I'm not sure how much speed improvements I should expect or if it's worth the trouble. Any idea about this? these are 2 160 Gb 5200rpm drives (laptop).-urlwolf (September 30, 2007, 11:26 AM)
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I had that idea too.
Seeing as they say moving paging file to second hdd is faster, it seems logical to move your working files there too..
But I havent done it (yet) & dont know if it's worth the trouble
(I mentioned it at another forum & got no direct response to idea)

Also, any other recommendations for faster HD access overall? Is it true that you should leave 20% of disk space empty? I have a defragmenter running periodically already.-urlwolf (September 30, 2007, 11:26 AM)
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I put the paging file on first partition of second drive*,
a FAT32 partition & on the same partition I now have tempfiles & internet caches for IE & Opera (havent looked at FF yet)
Paging file is fixed size so no fragmenting

*(I also had small one on C drive but was having difficulty with some programmes &
hibernation till I got rid of the one on C..)

Carol Haynes:
Moving your working files (I presume you mean documents) to a separate partition will make your system less defragmented and so a bit quicker and also a bit quicker to run a defrag pass on. The only time moving stuff to a separate hard disc will make a huge difference is if you are dealing with enormous files (such as large RAW images from digital cameras and video files) - most other docs will be happy wherever you put them as there isn't a big overhead accessing them.

If you use software (such as PhotoShop) that uses scratch discs then it is worth have three separate hard discs - one with your system, one with your page file, and the third with a dedicated scratch partition (you could share the scratch partition between multiple apps). That really does make a big difference.

Imho there isn't much reason to have your pagefile on a separate disk - ideally, it shouldn't be used very much... stuff more RAM in your PC if it is.


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