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Hard drive partitioning?

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  • Hard drive partitioning?

    I'm about to install a brand new system (using my fairly new, but used, hard drives - both 60GB.) I'll be installing Win XP Pro. I've been reading some of the threads on RetouchPRO (here and here) as well as a bunch of other websites on partitioning and am pretty sure I want to do this. I'm just really tired of having to reinstall everything every time I have a problem with my system. Perhaps I'll have better luck with WinXP, but with my luck lately, I'm not holding my breath.

    Based on what I've read, I'm thinking of the following partition scheme on my main drive:

    One for Windows
    One for Windows Swap
    One for Program Files
    One for User Data

    I've got a few questions about this though:
    1. How big should I make the partition for WinXP Pro?

    2. How big should I make the partition for the Swap File? I'll have 1Gig of RAM in the new system and I can't imagine that I need 2x that (or 2Gig) for a swap file, do I?

    3. Should the Windows swap file go on the same disk as the System files or my second disk? I've seen remarks that Windows will run faster if the swap file is on a different disk than the system files. BUT, the Photoshop scratch file is supposed to be on a different disk than the Windows Swap file. In the past, I've put the PS scratch file on my second disk. Does it really which disk the two swap/scratch files are on as long as they're different?

    4. I've read that the reason for having a separate partition for Program files is so that it's easier to wipe the system partition clean and reinstall. But, what happens to those applications which stick a bunch of stuff in the registry? Will they still run if the registry is wiped out and reinstalled? Won't I have to reinstall the programs anyway to have them show up in the registry?

    5. I'm thinking of getting Partition Magic 8. Sandra, I think you installed that recently with WinXP, right? How has it worked for you? Since I don't have it yet and I'd really like to get the new system up and running tomorrow, does it work to install it after the fact? If I use the WinXP feature to create the partitions, will Partition Magic recognize those, or will I have to start all over? (In which case, perhaps I'll wait to install? But I'm so tired of working on my current system which may crash at any time!)

    OK, enough questions for now. Yet again, I'm driving myself crazy. I think I think too much.


  • #2
    And another question. I'm also considering using Norton Ghost to image my drives. Though, I've got some cold feet after reading some of the disasters people have had in the reviews!

    I guess my biggest question is whether it works well with the partitions that Partition Magic creates - or does it only recognize partitions created by fdisk (a DOS program)? And since it is DOS-based, does it recognize NTFS volumes?

    And while I'm at it - what's the difference between a partition and volume? Are the two terms interchangeable or are there distinctions between the two?

    I'm going crazy now for sure!!



    • #3
      Hey jeanie,

      I hope XP pro works out well for you. If the problems weren't hardware problems, or they've been solved, you should definitely notice much better stability when you upgrade. I'll try to answer as many of your questions as possible:

      Your partition scheme looks pretty good so far, but here's my recommendation -

      1. Windows (maybe 10 GB) - disk 1
      2. Program Files (approx 10 - 15GB lots of space for big programs, plugins, games or whatever- disk 1)
      3. User Data (approx. 20 GB - you can never have enough space for data) - disk 2 (good idea to seperate data and programs / OS)
      4. Windows Swap (about 1GB) - disk 2
      5. Photoshop Scratch disk (about 1GB) - disk 2
      6. Temp / backups (approx 10 GB) I like to have an extra partition where I can copy stuff temporarily while I put together back up CD's or things like that

      1. well it sounds like you have lots of HD space, but it kind of depends on what (if anything) else besides the OS you're going to be putting on the C: drive. for my XP home installation, I made it a 7 GB partition and so far it's only half way full.

      2. the general rule for swap space is twice the swap is twice the size of the hardware memory, EXCEPT if you have 1 GB or more, in which case people normally make the amounts equal.

      3. I've got 2 40GB hard drives, and I always put my swap files on my second (slave) drive. (that's just what I've heard recommended, and I have noticed a speed increase, but that may be because my 2nd HD is 7200 rpm instead of 5400 like my old one.

      4. Yes, it's MUCH easier to do a reinstall if you have your programs on a different partition, but that doesn't mean that they'll actually work.. I've found that most small apps that don't rely on things put into your OS when you install them (DLL's registry stuff etc.) but most other's you WILL have to reinstall (but when I talk about a reinstall, I'm talking reformatting the partition, then loading again from scratch, not just using the reload feature on the windows CD, so I'm not sure if the programs would still function after a quick reinstall or not.

      5. Partition magic would be a good investment, definitely. but I would install it on your OS you have right now, then create the boot floppies and run it from DOS mode (then you don't have to worry about your OS crashing while you're partitioning, it usually runs faster and better, and when you have partitioned, you can just select the partition you want to install to when you're installing XP pro, and not have to use the awfull XP partitioning tool at all)

      hope that helps you out, and if something I said doesn't make sense don't hesitate to ask for further explanation.

      - David


      • #4
        I've also heard bad things about norton ghost (personally I refuse to use anything by Norton, I've heard bad stuff about pretty much every product they make - clogging up system resources etc etc.)
        instead of that I'd recommend something like PowerQuest Drive Image
        I've read good reviews on it, and you can do backups to CD, ZIP, a partition or various others.
        in answer to your question, yes, either of Norton ghost of Drive Image support the kind of partition you'd create with Partition Magic (most likely NTFS - which I'd reccomend for XP - or FAT32)
        As far as i know, volume and a partition are pretty much different terms for the same thing.

        - David
        Last edited by d_kendal; 11-17-2002, 07:20 PM.


        • #5
          I've had good luck with Norton Ghost. What I do after a fresh install is get my system customized the way I want it and install all of my baseline apps that I'll always want and then make an image. It really saves alot of time the next time you decide to reformat as long as you haven't changed hardware.



          • #6
            Thanks for your quick reply David! You've just been through this yourself fairly recently, haven't you?

            I can't imagine needing 10GB for Windows - esp. if that's all I'm putting in that partition. Granted, I've only had my current W2K system running for 3-4 weeks, but if I don't count my Program Files and my User Files, it's only 1.3GB. I'm pretty sure WXP is larger than W2K, but not that much larger. Perhaps I'll set it to 5GB. I just can't foresee the system files outgrowing that. (Famous last words, I know.)

            So, you have both the Windows swap file and PS scratch file on the same disk - but different partitions. Did you get an error from PS when you first loaded it about the scratch file being on the same disk as the Windows swap file? Just curious.

            Thanks for that tip on downloading Partition Magic to create boot floppies. Having never used the program, I didn't know that option existed.

            Interesting you should mention Drive Image. I also looked at the user reviews for that on CNet and there were even a larger number of horror stories about Drive Image than there were about Norton Ghost. I'm almost paranoid to put anything on my system b/c now I just don't trust anything!

            Rich, my problem in the past has been that I always seem to upgrade this or upgrade that - so by the time I might need a disk image, it's out of date. (Luckily, I've never needed one.) And, if I want to re-image my disk after installing the new HW, then I'll be imaging user files, etc. b/c by then they're installed. Perhaps with my new paritioning scheme, that won't be as much of an issue, since I'll have user files on a separate partition?



            • #7
              Yup, I just did a complete reload a couple weeks ago (still working away a reinstalling programs as I need them.. )
              For your WIndows partition, now that I think about it, yeah it's a waste of HD space to go bigger than 5 GB, but I wouldn't make it any smaller than that.
              For the PS scratch disk, I haven't noticed any errors so far anyway.
              No problem! PartitionMagic gives you that option when you're installing the program, then you just put the floppy in and reboot and it'll automatically boot up PartitionMagic.
              As for automatic back up programs, I never use them my self, I prefer to go the old fashioned way and just burn anything I need backed up directly onto a CD R.

              - David


              • #8
                If you are planning to use partition magic 8, I'd suggest you use the program that comes with it (PowerQuest DataKeeper), it is quite easy to use and will allow you to backup your photo files from your primary drive (or any other files you'd wish to backup). This will be done in the background, automatically, without any thought on your part. Keep in mind, the only files you really need to backup are your data files. Using PartitionMagic, you have many options that you can change at will, including partition size and location, which you can do on the fly. In other words, if your scratch disk is too small, you can make it larger (without reformatting your hard drive and no data loss "or" loss of time).


                • #9
                  Re: Hard drive partitioning?

                  >>4. I've read that the reason for having a separate partition for Program files is so that it's easier to wipe the system partition clean and reinstall. But, what happens to those applications which stick a bunch of stuff in the registry? Will they still run if the registry is wiped out and reinstalled? Won't I have to reinstall the programs anyway to have them show up in the registry?

                  The programs that don't use the registry will run okay, unless they place shared resources on the C: drive. The ones that use the registry will need to be reinstalled. But there is still an an advantage to having these on a different partition. Sometimes you can reinstall a program on top of the previous one, and you get some of your important settings back. This can be an incredible time-saver with some programs, like email clients, usenet readers, and anything that syncs closely with data files.


                  • #10
                    Wow - thanks for all of the helpful advice David, Lqqker and Andrew! I really appreciate it.

                    Just when I thought I was ready to dive in setting up my system, I started thinking about partitions today and it opened up a whole can of worms. I really can't wait to get going on my new system, but want to do it right from the start so I don't have to go through this again any time soon!!!



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