How to make a partition in Windows 8 after installation / problems with recovery / SSD'S

I just built an Intel I-5 computer with an OCZ Vertex 450 series solid state drive. Motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-Z87-HD3 LGA 1150 HDMI SATA 6

After installing Windows 8, about two weeks ago, I took the 256 GB SSD drive and using the built in Windows disk manager, shrunk the overall drive slightly, and created a new 35 GB partition for a temporary Data drive. That data drive seemed to work ok.

I also created two C: drive images to two separate external legacy, mechanical hard drives connected through usb cables (that I had been using with Windows XP). The images "appeared" to create successfully.

Two days ago the ssd failed without warning. It is being warrantied as I type. When faced with a no boot situation I tried using the emergency recovery disk I had just made and found that I COULD NOT recover the images I had made one day earlier. Anyhow I don't know if "Window's" system (s) of recovery are dependable or not.

In a day or so, when I receive the new SSD replacement drive, I will need to reinstall. I would like to have @ 70 GB of the 256 GB available as a data partition. Is that ok ? Does that have to be done BEFORE Windows 8 is installed ?

But I also need to have SOMETHING that I can count on (like saved images) in case "bad things happen". It's ugly losing your customizations and everything. I used to use partition magic and some image making software like Ghost or Acronis. with XP, but this isn't XP.

So I am looking for a relatively simple but completely reliable solution, other than reinstalling the operating system and starting over every time something bad happens.

Also while the original ssd was ready for install I am not so clear about reinstallation on these new ssd's because they are so different. Once you have installed an operating system, are these ssd's supposed to be reformatted or not ? You typically need some sort of rescue disc with utilities on it to format, partition, and so on.

Advice ?
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More about make partition windows installation problems recovery ssd
  1. Formatting can be done during the windows install
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