When installing Windows7 to a hard drive there is one difference that you’ll see depending on if you do the format and initial partition of the drive with the windows installation disc or if you install the new installation of windows 7 on a partition created elsewhere…
This difference is that if you partition the drive as a seperate, prior operation
the OS partition will be the size you choose.
If however you create a partition form a “Raw” or drive on which you have deleted all the partitions the OS partition that the Windows 7 installation creates will be 100mb smaller than whatever size you choose.
that 100mn isn’t lost, but the FIRST partition on the drive will be an unlettered
"System reserved space" / “Paging file” partition
As windows editions in general won’t let you create more than Three primary partitions, any additional partitions will be created as “Logical drives” nested inside an “extended partition”
But here’s a unique wrinkle, if you do your backups by a “Brute force” approach like I do, and that is to NOT create windows generated backups
but rather simply clone the entire hard drive, making the OS partition as
a seperate prior operation makes it easier to clone the drive and create a functioning clone is easier.
I’ve used only ONE cloning program that correctly clones a windows 7 operating system when it has the seperate 100mb Reserve partition, Clonezilla.
BTW, Vista and Win7 will only create three primary partitions (the unlettered partition counts) Windows XP will create a fourth.
So when I’m setting up a windows 7 OS on a notebook with a large drive
I tend to create what will be the OS partition as a seperate operation on
another computer (this blocks the creation of the seperate 100mb partition and includes it in the main OS partition) AND allows as many as four primary partitions (presuming that the last one will be created while the drive is connected to a computer running a Windows XP system.)
It is my impression that allowing that 100mb partition to be created allows a computer to boot just a tick faster than one where Windows7 was either
installed onto an existing partition OR installed as an “upgrade” over a previous Vista syste, but with sufficiently fast hardware the difference is less than the tolerance of my ability to measure the difference.
I’ve installed Windows 7 on a bunch of desktop computers using 500gb 7200rpm WD “blue” drives.
My habit is to use 65-ish Gb for the OS partition and the remaining 400gb
for a single large data partition Typically this is for non critical media files that are also backed up somewhere else (typically several “somewhere elses”)
Windows 7 simply doesn’t “bloat up” as badly as a Vista installation does
so more than 65gb really isn’t necissary.
For a DATA drive it doesn’t matter how it’s partitioned.
New Format technology drives are subject to the same issues with partition “alignment” as SSD drives are, but this only applies to OS drives.