[SIZE="3"][font="Arial Black"]ZEN AND THE ART OF HARD DRIVE PARTITIONING
(Partitioning for power users)[/font][/size]
By The Flying Penguin
There are some real good reasons why you should use several small partitions instead of one or two large ones on your hard drive - ESPECIALLY with today's very large high density drives: data integrity, redundancy, ease of backups, ease of defragmentation, ease of repair.
Although there's nothing that will save your data if you suffer a massive hard drive crash, most disk corruption is usually a soft corruption of the MFT (Master File Table). If you have one big partition then a trashed MFT will put all your data at risk. By segregating everything into smaller partitions, you often limit the damage to only the one partition that suffered the actual damage to it's own MFT only - it won't affect any others as long as it's not a large physical disk crash, or an electronics failure. It's also a heck of a lot faster to scandisk and defrag smaller partitions than one big one.
Another benefit is easy recovery from a virus or trojan infection. It's almost hopeless trying to remove one of these nowadays. Modern rootkit based trojans are hard to detect and impossible to remove. There's no way you can ever trust a compromised system afterwards. Assuming you make regular backup images of your boot partition (using Drive Snapshot, Norton Ghost, Acronis True Image or some other drive imaging software), if you get infected by something nasty you can just restore back to a known good image. I have my computer configured to image the C drive once a week automatically using Acronis True Image.
If you work with editing video, it's a good idea to make a big empty partition just for storing large RAW video you're editing. When you're done with the project, instead of defragging the drive (which is absolutely necessary because video editing heavily fragments a drive) you just delete all the files off of it (no need to defrag an empty drive!) and you're ready for the next project. Even if you keep files on there between projects, it's still easier to defrag only the video partition instead of the whole drive.
You can also segregate your data to make backups MUCH easier and keep your data more secure. I STRONGLY believe that ALL your data should be located on a different partition than your boot partition (or better yet, an entirely different drive).
Here's how my hard drive is partitioned:
I have the operating system and all the apps in it's own partition (actually it's a seperate 80Gb Raptor hard drive). Nothing else is installed in that partition except the OS and apps. Consequently it's not very large as you can see - only 10Gb which compresses down to a 3.5Gb Acronis image file, making weekly image backups fast and easy to store.
The D Drive is an external 500Gb USB drive that I use for data backups including the weekly Acronis images of the C drive.
All the other partitions are on a separate 300 Gb drive: The VMWARE partition only contains VMWare related files, the GAMES partition is where I install ALL my games (I do not allow any games to be installed on the C drive). The SCRATCH partition is for temporary storage of files to be burned on a CD-R, or DVD-R, video projects, client projects and temp files for apps that need a LOT of temp storage (like Photoshop).
All my data (and I mean EVERYTHING) is located on the DATA partition: Documents folder (instructions on moving your Documents folder here), client web pages, favorites folder, Outlook Express user files & address book (instructions for moving your Outlook Express mail folders and address book here), and any data files from apps that don't use the My Documents folder like Quickbooks. This makes it obscenely easy to backup my data weekly (the whole partition gets imaged in addition to data backups that are made to my server).
I don't even use System Restore anymore - I leave it disabled. Since my C drive gets imaged once a week (and I manually image it before installing any new software) it's much easier (and more reliable) to just restore my last C Drive image instead of using System Restore. Since the data is on a separate partition, restoring to an older image won't affect my data.
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- Flightless Bird
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