Partitioning a Harddrive



Hello guys n gals,

I am building a computer for a mate and part of it is a 160gb harddrive.
I have read this:

And so i know how to partition the harddrive into but…

What are the advantages of a partitioned harddrive?
Is it better to have a big 160gb harddrive or partition it into 2 80gb’s ones.



I have my 160GB partitioned at 30GB for the OS and programs and the rest stores data. That way the part with the OS never needs defragging and is Fat32, the data part is NTFS and has no problems with large files of over 4GB. I have a old 30GB that I use to image the OS part so if I lose that I can every thing that is important right back like is was before a disaster. Works good for me.


I used to have my 200gb partitioned to 40gb for operating sys etc. and 160gb for video, music backups. With the price of hard drives now-days I got a 40gb for my operating sys etc and use the 200 gb for back-ups.


Also if you partition a drive and if your operating system ever gets corrupted and becomes unbootable you still have all the data intact on the other partition and can reclaim it after doing a reinstall of Operating system on main partition.


The benefits of partitioning are data organization and flexibility.
Here’s a typical setup for me.

Partition C: 10 GB Operation System only
Partition D: 20 GB Programs and Games installations
Partition E and others: Data storage (Partition accordingly)

Should the need arise where a re-installation of the Operating System is required, the accumulated data will not be affected.


The only downside to smaller partitioning is that WinXP is faster over one large partition as opposed to two. If you like the benefits above, I would not say the speed loss is significant. Also, I have found it much less trouble to clone a smaller partition to a new smaller HD. You would think cloning 70 gig of data from a 160 gig HD to a 120 gig HD would be easy. Not so. Just don’t make the partition too small. If you need to do a major Win SP in the future, Windows needs a lot of space on the C drive to do the change, somewhere around 12 gig as I recall.


About the speed issue…

1.FAT32 is a little faster than NTFS.

2.Maximum hard drive read/write speed is achieved during the FIRST 10% of the hard drive.

You should not encounter any speed issue if you put the C primary active partition with WXP at the beginning of the hard drive. My WXP stuff is under 700 MB. Add about 3 GB of free space to update the Service Pack.

Experienced users keep ALL programs separate from the OS. A 10 GB primary C active partition with WXP would be my choice. Having a large block of unused space at the beginning of the hard drive will rob your system of the fast hard drive speed.

I only use WXP Pro SP1 with a firewall and e-mail antivirus scanner (no full-time AV protection). My WXP C partition is 3 GB. The pagefile is moved to the BEGINNING of the extended logical partition D (for programs). The E MISC partition is used for movies and other data. Finally, I keep my backup image files in the F partition.


I think i am going to do that so 40gb for XP and progs and 120gb for music/vids/etc. Ok thanks guys.

One thing?? I though that partitioning made the computer generally faster because when you access a file it only has to search/use that partition instead of having to search/use one big hardrive? maybe im wrong…


“One thing?? I though that partitioning made the computer generally faster because when you access a file it only has to search/use that partition instead of having to search/use one big hardrive? maybe im wrong”

In theory this may be correct, BUT a hard drive has the seek/write head/s which would have to go from the one partition to the other to access the data. With a two drive setup you have the seek/write head/s for each drive so in ensence you have more speed. Some savy ppl claim you get the maximum thru-put by having the two hard drives on separate controllers, ie you’re transferring data back and forth with two cable controllers instead of one. IMO this does make sense. However I have my two hard drives on controller one and my cd and dvd burner on the 2nd controller which has worked fine for me to date.