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Disk partitioning - to do or not to do?

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  • Disk partitioning - to do or not to do?

    I've had a new 60G hard drive sitting in my office for about a month now. I bought it before I realized I needed a new BIOS that would support a disk that size, so had to wait for the BIOS chip to arrive - which it did the day before I left for the Thanksgiving holiday and there was no way I was going to try to fool around with it in that short amount of time. Of course, returning from vacation, I had a few projects that I had to accomplish before I could get back to fooling around with my computer.

    I got the new hard drive because I keep filling up my current disk at an alarming rate and then get the "disk full" message in Photoshop (because the temp file has grown so large) and there's no way for me to save me work. Ugh.

    I finally installed the new BIOS chip and got everything working earlier this week. Since then, I've been trying to figure out if I need/should/want to partition the new disk. At first I thought I'd just add it as one big second disk to store all of my photo projects on (as well as use it for the Photoshop scratch file), leaving my current disk (13G) as the system disk. But then I got to thinking that I should use the new disk as my system disk because it's faster (and therefore the swap file access should be faster, right?)

    So, I thought that perhaps I'd make 2 partitions on the new disk: one with all of the system/program files and the second for all of my user files. In that case, I could use my current disk as a backup for the system partition in case the unthinkable happens. But if I do that, then what size do I make the system partition? I know it includes the swap file, but I want to leave enough room to add other applications - I just don't know how many that might be in the future. If I don't fill it up, then it's "wasted" space, but if I do fill it up, then I'm pretty much hosed. Right? And Tim's comment about having to live with my partitions for a "long, long time" has me rethinking my current strategy.

    I guess I'd like to hear other's experiences as to whether they've partitioned or not - and why. Plus, any other advice would be most helpful. My current file management scheme is through directories and has worked fine for me over the years. I can usually find a file I'm looking for pretty easily. So partitioning as a way to manage my files isn't particularly attractive to me. However, partitioning to make backups easier/simpler or to reduce disk fragmentation are positives in my mind (if in fact partitioning really helps with these things.)

    Thanks, Jeanie

  • #2
    Partitioning isn't nearly as important as it used to be. There used to be several performance arguments, but most of those have been eliminated by technology.

    Personally, unless you need different file systems (ie: on a multiboot system) or you have an application which would work better with it's own drive letter, I wouldn't worry about partitioning.

    You definitely want your swap files on the faster disk, but then you would want all your most-frequently accessed files on the faster disk. Unfortunately, many of these files (ie: the OS) must reside on your bootable disk (ie: c: drive).

    An option is to make the new drive the c: drive, put applications and swap files on it, and make the slower disk the documents drive.

    The order of the drives at boot and is the only decision that can't be changed easily at a later time. Nowadays you can even re-partition without risking data.

    Note: swapping out your main hd isn't just a case of trading cables. There are also 'master' and 'slave' settings on the individual drives.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      Thanks for the info Doug. I figured out that partitioning for better performance was pretty much a thing of the past. What I forgot to mention in my initial post is that I'm also trying to think ahead to when I might want to upgrade to Windows XP. I'm still at Win98. I was thinking that maybe having the "old drive" still bootable with Win98 might make the transition a little easier. I don't really want to make it the main documents drive as it's a quarter of the size of my new disk and that seems to defeat the purpose of getting the larger disk in the first place.

      I do know about the need to set master/slave on the drives. What do you mean by "order of the drives" not being easily switched at a later time? Do you mean the physical drives or the logical partitions?

      Thanks, Jeanie


      • #4
        I mean which one is c: and which one is d:, since that's a hardware setting.

        I'll bet the Mac users are feeling so smug right about now
        Learn by teaching
        Take responsibility for learning


        • #5
          I would leave it as one big hard drive under win98se. I really wouldn't consider upgrading to winxp until the second edition comes out for it is quite buggy and unsecure. Win98 is still by far the best OS even over ME which has a great deal of memory management problems


          • #6
            I use 98 and XP on a dual boot system. I haven't had any problems with XP although I've tossed a couple of patches at it. I never tried ME and from what I've heard haven't missed much.


            • #7
              hard drive

              The one thing to remember....

              The IDE bus is going to use the master drive to regulate speed.
              In other words, the speed of the access defaults to the lowest speed connected to the IDE cable. If your "old drive is an ATA 66 then the max throughput will be at 66MB/sec even if your new drive is an ATA 100 (which most of the new 60GB HDD are). A safer way of doing things would be to put the new drive as the boot drive, and put the old drive on the 2nd IDE cable as master with a CDROM as the slave. This way you will get the max performance from the higher speed new drive....
              I think I got that right....someone let me know if I didn't....

              Love this forum....relatively new to this



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