Rate my partition scheme

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by Tanatz, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Tanatz

    Tanatz Limp Gawd

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    Windows XP SP2

    Partition 1 - 5gb - Windows XP SP2, updates, drivers, etc.

    Partition 2 - ~remainder of a 320gb hard drive - everything else. Apps, games, media, etc.

    1) is 5gb enough space for the OS itself and any drivers? Ever forsee in the future needing more than 5gb for just the OS and drivers?

    2) is it a bad idea to keep games on a separate partition as the OS for performance reasons? i.e. any performance hit for keeping games on a separate partition?

    My goal in this, since I reformat often, is to make the whole process as painless as possible. Rather than installing the OS, drivers and every freaking program I use, I'd rather just install the OS and drivers and be done in a fraction of the time.
     
  2. Antheus

    Antheus Gawd

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    if it's the same drive there should be no difference which partition the programs are on. 5 gigs should be fine, just as long as you make sure to keep it clean. I had a similar partition scheme and somehow my xp partition became 9 gigs and i have no idea how. Also might need to turn off things like system restore, and possibly even move the page file...5 gigs should be enough as long as you keep it clean. As far as programs and data on a separate partition, I tend to prefer to just keep data on it's on partition, reason being that if you ever decide to reinstall windows some of your programs might no longer work, and then you have no easy way of getting formatting your programs partition. Data (music, movies, pictures, office files, etc...) will always be there and won't depend on registry or anything like that, so it's generally a good idfea to keep it all on a separate partition than programs. For recovery purposes it won't make a difference, but it's cleaner
     
  3. enelson125

    enelson125 Limp Gawd

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    You're forgetting our good friend the registry, every time you reformat windows is going to think that no programs are installed. You will either have to perform a repair/reinstall for each program or just pray that it works correctly without registry entries. So basically this isn't going to save you much, if any, time in the end.
     
  4. HHunt

    HHunt [H]ardness Supreme

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    5GB might, at some time in the future, become a bit cramped. Stuff accumulates on the system partition, even if you don't intend it to. If you've got that much space available, you might as well double it to 10.

    One thing that sounds like it might be a good idea if you reinstall that often is to make an image if the windows partition in some suitable state (before you've installed any drivers that are likely to be outdated by the time you want to reinstall would be a good choice), and restore that image instead of reinstalling windows. I'm sure some people here can come up with a good way to do this.

    enelson125: Suprisingly many programs and games survive, so (entirely dependent on which ones he uses/plays) it might save him a bunch of time.
    And remember: If even one game survives, it can be a significant time saving. As an example, WoW handles a windows reinstall just fine, and takes forever to install/update. Even if I had to reinstall everything else, that's still worth it.
     
  5. MorfiusX

    MorfiusX 2[H]4U

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    I'd give at least 30gb to your system partition and keep your apps there. Use the second partition for all of your storage.
     
  6. HHunt

    HHunt [H]ardness Supreme

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    ... and those games you know will survive a reformat. Not a bad idea either.
     
  7. wasdqr

    wasdqr n00b

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    Yeah, you just re-install your apps from the secondary partition. I do this, it's good :cool:.
     
  8. br0adband

    br0adband Limp Gawd

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    I'd say 15-20GB for the system partition is adequate. 5GB is too small, seriously. You'll be coughing up space for the pagefile (and it'll be there, regardless of what you tell Windows), and then installing some stuff will bump the Registry as one other poster already said. It's just too small for a system partition. For 2K or 98SE, sure, it's fine, but 5GB for XP - no way. 15-20GB, or even 20-30GB is perfect, especially on such a large drive.

    In your situation, if it was my machine, I'd do:

    20GB system partition

    100GB storage partition for stuff/etc

    100GB partition for movies/music/media files

    and the rest for games/etc (if I played games, that is)

    Just my $.02
    bb
     
  9. Sarekai

    Sarekai n00b

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    you could always do this scheme.

    c:\ 5GB - empty
    d:\15GB - Windows Dir.
    e:\rest - games, data whatever

    that way, if any script kiddies or virii hit your machine and target c:\windows, it'll fail. Unless of course they gofor %systemroot%
     
  10. MorfiusX

    MorfiusX 2[H]4U

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    This is security through obscurity, which isn't security. Besides, if they have access to your file system, you are already screwed.
     
  11. MorfiusX

    MorfiusX 2[H]4U

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    My server and second machine has mirrored 320gb drives. I set the system partition to 10gb and the rest for storage. I really wish I had made it 20-30gb. With the page file, I am down to less than 500mb free. I had to move the page file to the second partition.
     
  12. Bullitt

    Bullitt 2[H]4U

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    I used to try a 6gb partition, but ran out of space for temp files (winrar/winzip/etc) decompressing/joining iso's were a PITA.

    10gb is a nice round figure for me. Otherwise, you suggest what I do, so, I'm all for it ;)
     
  13. wasdqr

    wasdqr n00b

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    10 gigs is the magic number for your average joe, I've used 10 for ages with XP.
     
  14. OC_LeGeND

    OC_LeGeND Limp Gawd

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    right now i`m using 8gb on windows

    C:\ 55GB - windows
    D:\ 40GB - music
    E:\ 120GB - anime
    F:\ 1.5GB - back up (stuff like installers so i dont have to redownload em all)
    G:\ 20GB - anything else
     
  15. Fryguy8

    Fryguy8 [H]ard|Gawd

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    by the time I get around to reinstalling windows, all of my programs have new versions anyway. It's a good excuse to go out and redownload everything and get new features.

    40gb for windows + apps
    560 for storage

    Partition magic laying around if I need to adjust it.

    If you are really determined to save your programs on a reinstall, then just use ghost or trueimage.
     
  16. br0adband

    br0adband Limp Gawd

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    If you create such a small system partition, like 10GB or so, and you fill that up to roughly 7-8GB, your performance is going to suffer because of a variety of reasons:

    - the pagefile will require some space on the drive, regardless of what you tell Windows to size it at
    - the MFT by default consumes 12% of drivespace, but doesn't necessarily use that much; it's just reserved for use by the filesystem and would only consume that much if you had a shitload of files (like 50,000 or more since each one requires an entry in the MFT - the more files you have, the more space the MFT will actually consume)
    - defragmentation on the drive requires free space to move stuff around; if you fill it up and get close to or get less than 15% free space on the partition, Windows is going to choke like a pig eating dirt clods

    So... for the "average Joe" 15-20GB is still a sweet spot considering those factors. But the choice is yours, as always...
    bb
     
  17. ameoba

    ameoba [H]ardness Supreme

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    If you really format often enough that you're worried about how much time it takes, you're probably doing something wrong.
     
  18. pbj75

    pbj75 Limp Gawd

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    Nice trolling, Amoeba....

    I second keeping Windows in its own partition. I install XP with all my core apps that want to live in the registry. Then I Ghost it for quick recovery.

    All my games seem to live just fine through an XP re-install. Might just be lucky.

    Another concern is the Swap file. Your XP install may only be 3-4GB, but the swap file can easily be 2-4 GB all by itself. I have 2 GB RAM and XP was taking 4GB for Swap space.

    One problem is that the My Documents folder insists on living in the Windows directory. Keep that in mind if you are going to have a lot of data in there. Might consider putting all your data in its own folder/partition outside of Windows. Makes backing up your data easier.
     
  19. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    Definitely follow this method. It helps to keep your data organized, and quickly allows you to restore using disk imaging programs. There's no positive reason to limit your system volume, and install anything else outside of the C drive. It's just one of those things people do because it makes them feel al warm and tingly inside, because they saw someone else do it. In reality, there's no reason to split up your apps etc.
     
  20. Gatticus

    Gatticus [H]ard|Gawd

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    I used to use a 5gb system partition but I had the pagefile on the second HDD, turned off system restore and set recyle bin to 0%, I also installed no apps to the c: partiton. But I've since read that you get better performance if you don't partiton your drive so now I have two HDD's and don't split either into partitions. 300gb+160gb. Having a small sytem partiton is handy though if you are into imaging the system partiton and want small image files, as I used to do. It's also handy to have a second partiton to store downloaded files on but I see no other really good reason to do it. Having two HDD's means I don't need to have a partition for downloaded files. I don't mind reinstalling everything if I do get an irrecoverable crash.
     
  21. Grimmda

    Grimmda 2[H]4U

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    HERE HERE! I keep to this theory at home with all my PC's and a big fat file server for storage. I run through a good 50 apps every 6 months or so at the house and If I DO need to install them, BAM there they are on my server waiting to install them.

    I went one step further and created "Install Packages" (There's free tools out there for building these) of all the basic apps I use.

    -Office
    -zip tool
    -image editing
    -cd/dvd burning

    Then when I need to my "core apps" are quick and easy to install on my freshly re-imaged PC. The only real manual effort to it all is before I want to wipe my PC I have to back up specific game files. Because those are usually all over the place. Other than that, the most important stuff is already on the server, and I skim over My Documents/Desktop/Favorites and I'm done. 1Hr complete process with O/S Reimaged/Core apps. Then as I need additonal apps or want to play the game I bought a few months ago I just slap her in and install.
     
  22. Tanatz

    Tanatz Limp Gawd

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    That's exactly what I have now. 30gb for the OS and games, the remaining ~260 for data and miscellaneous programs that don't require priority system resources ( CD/DVD burning, AdAware, CrapCleaner, etc ).. I suppose it isn't broke so I shouldn't bother fixing it.

    Also, I've abandoned using Ghost and other Symantec or Norton products as they are the biggest rescource hogs known to man. I'd rather reformat and start from scratch and actually have a crisp, responsive system in exchange.
     
  23. -(Xyphox)-

    -(Xyphox)- [H]ardness Supreme

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    I keep my OS, Programs, Games all on my raptor, than other HD for storage of music,video, ect.. I also keep a backup partion on my 500 drive with installers for everything. Saves Time when you want to nuke your OS and start over
     
  24. Gatticus

    Gatticus [H]ard|Gawd

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    If you use the Ghost dos boot floppy method then Norton Ghost takes up no resources at all.
     
  25. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    Ghost was never intended to be run inside of Windows, and there's no reason to do so, even with the later versions. Ghost.exe and/or ghost32.exe are the only two files you need, depending on how you are running them. One additional correction is not to confuse Norton with Symantec. Norton stuff is crap, but the Symantec (business) line is great stuff.
     
  26. Tanatz

    Tanatz Limp Gawd

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    Ok, then, say I have Norton system works...legit, registered copy, etc.

    How do I install *just* ghost without installing the basic Norton framework? IIRC I tried that once before and I had to install the basic Norton software, reboot at least twice after the software downloaded critical updates ( maybe three times ), just to get Ghost to install, even by itself - without the actual anti-virus software installed. All that is what causes what I refer to as "resource hogging". I think Ghost is a great tool, but not at the cost of any discernable lag.
     
  27. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    I've only dealt with the corporate versions of Ghost, but I've installed them once each, then copied the ghost.exe, gdisk.exe, and ghost32.exe files out, and uninstalled the software package. Those are the only three files I've ever used. Mainly, I run ghost32.exe from within ERD Commander, but it would work the same from BartPE as well.
     
  28. redwolfe3

    redwolfe3 [H]Lite

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    For my system (Windows XP SP2), I run 3 primary partitions. The first is for the main system and all Apps (Office, Games, etc...) which I set to 40 GB (I don't play a lot of games, so this is plenty). The second is for Cache and any scratch disks (Windows Cache, Adobe Scratch Files, etc...) and this is set to approximately 30 GB (The remaining space on my 72 GB Raptor). I then have a secondary 160 GB Drive I use for all Data files including Program Installs, Drivers, Images, MP3's, Videos, etc..

    This has always worked well for me as I don't have to wipe out all my data for a clean re-install, just my main programs (Which I want to re-install at that point usually anyways). Also, last install was 1 1/2 years ago when I built this new Rig and the system is rock solid.
     
  29. theelviscerator

    theelviscerator Gawd

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    Too small, and you need more drives.


    I am enjoying using external drives for true long term storage.

    A disconnected platter just feels so much safer during electrical storms!
     
  30. GreNME

    GreNME 2[H]4U

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    People make the mistake of assuming that installing apps on a separate partition will either save time during reinstall or improve system performance. Both assumptions are wrong, of course. The only reason to install apps on a separate partition than the system partition is the same reason to do it in *nix environments: allowing more easily-managed access control of programs in a multi-user environment.

    Having a separate app partition will not save time during a reinstall of the OS. Office apps (whether Oo_O or MS Office) require both registry and PATH variables to be set during the install process, and depending on the office suite there are also DLLs that need to be registered and other components (like MS Document Printer) to be installed. Any program that hooks into Windows Explorer (compression tools, some image editing programs, etc.) will need to be reinstalled regardless. Programs like Adobe's product line, AutoCAD, and most video and rendering applications will need to be reinstalled so that user profile information can be set up (in Docs and Settings\App Data and Local Settings). As for games, which are all most of the readers here seem to care about anyway, most of them would require a reinstall to be able to operate if you reinstalled the OS-- anyone who names one or two titles needs to realize that they are talking about exceptions to the rule, not indicative of most games out there. Anything that relies heavily on D-X is likely going to require a reinstall just to operate properly, even if the program limps along when you first reinstall.

    Then there is the (mistaken) assumption of improving system performance. The idea is that having the programs you run on a separate hard drive will allow the system to execute programs faster by being able to access two things-- the OS and the program-- at the same time. Unfortunately, this ignores a very integral part of how an operating system works and why it works that way. A program is not run from the hard drive, it is loaded into memory from the hard drive. Programs or program components with a lesser priority are paged (yes, even if you run without a visible page file), allowing the program you are currently trying to access to have that space in the active memory. In essence, having separate locations for apps and OS is only going to give you a boost in one thing: loading the program into memory. Even then, the boost is not very much of a performance increase, because all program scheduling is done through the kernel, which is loaded in memory from the system hard drive anyway, along with the components of the virtual memory subsystem. Having two sets of heads moving over two sets of disks saves you a pitifully low amount of start time, and once the program is loaded into memory the bottleneck is the amount of physical memory in the system. Loading different maps in games or plugins/widgets/etc. in other programs from a separate hard drive is still going to cause paging on the system drive. A better idea than moving to a separate drive is to have them on the same drive and have your system regularly defragged to place the most actively-used files contiguously (or as contiguously as possible, as defrag is not perfect).

    The reason us sysadmins put many apps on a separate drive on servers is because it allows us to restrict user access to the system drive, while simultaneously allowing us to assign control to users and groups for making use of system resources over a network. This is not done to gain performance increases or to maintain a tiny system partition. It is about using security-minded practices to allow for servers to make useful applications available to people who require those resources, but do not warrant having access to the system partition on a server. It's a way of supplying functionality and security to a multi-user networked environment.

    And frankly, I agree with Amoeba: if lowering the amount of time it takes to reinstall all the apps you regularly use is so big an issue, then reducing install time is the least of your worries. It is a signal that, unless the system is a regularly-changed testing environment that sees multiple configuration changes on a regular basis, there is something severely wrong with the configuration the person is using on the machine to cause it to fail so often. Before trying to avoid reinstalls of software, I would suggest looking into making sure a stable configuration is established to install that software on before anything else.

    Please note: I don't mean this to discourage people from spreading their installs over five partitions, if that is your desire. It's your computer, so go ahead and knock yourself out. What I am doing is dispelling the myths that often pop up after the fact when a different configuration for a system install makes its rounds in enthusiast circles. There are plenty of myths out there that make otherwise good systems run very inconsistently, and all because the person with good intentions who put it together was given bad information without the foundational concepts behind what they were doing.
     
  31. Met-AL

    Met-AL [H]ardness Supreme

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    A majority of games work fine when not reinstalled if Windows is reinstalled.

    The only games I have come across that don't work are Battlefield games.

    Installing your games seperately will save a bunch of time.

    You won't have to:
    -reinstall them
    -patch them
    -download custom maps and copy them to the right folders
    -you won't have to go into the config files and tweak and set them up
     
  32. HHunt

    HHunt [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is true, and will easily save hours.
     
  33. Dunamis

    Dunamis [H]Lurker Supreme[/H]

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    Not sure how this setting will improve performance but I usually set aside the *first* 5 gigs for windows page memory.

    This will serve 2 purposes, one to keep swap file unfragmented, two since this file is on the most outer part of the disc platter it will have faster read/write time (altho maybe not that much at all)
     
  34. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    IMO, it does make sense to break up your paritions into smaller chunks. The reason I like this is it allows me to regularly defrag in smaller chunks. I like to do the C drive a lot, because it's constantly getting fragmented (so I guess moving my static pagefile didn't help at all:(). I have a 2nd partition that had regularly changing data, so I defragged it about once a week and the 3rd parition that rarely changed (well up until partition 2 got full) so I defragged it once a month.

    I do think I prefer having programs seperate from windows for the same reason. In general, I've put programs elsewhere, but on my last install, I got the impression that XP would have moved everything if I'd just had them under Programs, but after 18 months, I think I'll just reinstall everything anyway.

    The reality is that no matter what, I never manage to stick to my original intent. I could have a partition for data, but if i need the space, I'll plop a pogram there anyway (or vice versa). Adding space helps put that off for a while.
     
  35. GeForceX

    GeForceX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Best example is Quake 3. :)

    -J.
     
  36. Met-AL

    Met-AL [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yep, I am on the same Soldier of Fortune 2 install that I have had since I first bought the game like 5 yrs ago. Just keep copying the folder to my new PC's.
     
  37. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    Didnt read everything but

    Why not just set up your system - then make a ghost image of it ?

    Keep your documents and important files on a seperate partiion.

    most of your apps wont work if you reinstal C drive due to registry files that will go missing.

    personally, since partitioning offers NO performance benefits i would do

    c:\ 50G - windows / apps / games / software
    d:\ restof the room - My Docs folder moved / save files and such, and just make an origanized root folder system

    downloads

    • apps
      games
      movies
      music
    backups
    MyDocuments
     
  38. djnes

    djnes [H]ard as it Gets

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    This is the best option, and makes the most sense, but you're guess is as good as mine why more people don't do it. Maybe they don't get that psuedo-super-computer-guy feeling that they get by splitting their partitions up a few times.
     
  39. nilepez

    nilepez [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Imaging is fine if you're doing you're reinstalling a lot, but otherwise, wouldn't it be better to slipstream XP with all the patches up to now and maybe even add the latest patches for your MB and Video card?

    As for performance benefits, wouldn't you realize some benefit simply because the partition is smaller? Most defraggers, I think, just defrag the files and if you specify it, they'll move certain files, file types and/or directories to the beginning/end of the partition or the end of the data.

    But that doesn't put all of the files in a given game next to the other files for that game. if you have a 200gb partition, you could end up with some files near the beginning of the partition and the others 100gb later. OTOH, if it's a 5gb partition, there's only 5gb to search.

    I'm just parroting something I read over the weekend on partitioning, but it makes sense to me. I haven't had great control of how data is sorted during a defrag since Nuts and Bolts got bought up by somebody (either Norton or McCaffee, I suspect).
     
  40. CRXican

    CRXican [H]ard|Gawd

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    Make it easy on yourself like I did. I got tired of silly partition games and bough a 74GB Raptor dedicated to the OS and Apps/Games.

    I have a seperate 250GB drive for eveything else. Much easier.