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SATA question (first timer)

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November 27, 2006 6:47:17 AM

Forgive the ignorance...


So I will be building a new system this week. I plan on doing a fresh install of XP on a brand new Seagate 320GB SATA drive. I have read that some people say that I will need to f6 and install drivers before installing windows, some people say that is only if I am going to run RAID.

I just want to do a basic install. I am not real sure what size of partition I should do for the OS. But basically that is it, 1 partition for the OS and one for everything else.

What I am asking is:

Will I need to have a floppy drive to install an OS?
Is there any work around if I don't have a floppy?
What size of partition do you reccomend on a 320GB HDD?
Are there any other tips or tricks that you would reccomend?
Are there any other problems that I will be running into that I have failed to mention?


Thank you in advance

More about : sata question timer

November 27, 2006 7:55:52 AM

No, there's probably no need for the floppy as long as you don't want to install the system on a RAID drive.
No, there is no easy workaround for the floppy - except remaster your XP CD to make it into an OEM volume and include the RAID drivers on it.
I personally recommend no more than 20 Gb for the system partition (personally I use 8 Gb), but then don't forget to install big games and apps on a secondary partition.
Don't load too much crap at load time, and disable as much junk (media player preloaders, Norton suite, Adobe Reader preloader, WinXP Themes service, unused system services) as you can - for example, if you share no files or printer on your computer, you don't need the 'server' service.
Either reduce system restore size or disable it (it is, for example, useless to keep system restore active on anything else than your system HD, and more than 2 Gb is just wasted space).
Download PageDefrag and make it run at every boot with a zero second delay; it will eat up a second of boot time at worst, and will be able to defragment your registry and other un-'defrag'-able files - resulting in a more agile system.
Avoid installing crap on your system - at all. Try using products programmed for several systems, as they'll usually use your registry far less than other softwares. For example, using the Gimp for Windows instead of Photoshop, OpenOffice instead of MS Office, Media Player Classic/Real Alternative/Quitime Alternative+ffdshow instead of Windows media Player+Quicktime+RealOne will result in less security breaches, lower registry clutter, less preloaded mess and less 'adware'.
Once you're done downloading updates, remove the hidden files in your c:\windows directory (they are hidden and usually start with $) - since those are almost never deinstalled, they eat up disk space for nothing.
Finally, if at all possible try to use a limited account when using your system, switching to Administrator only when installing or maintaining your system. Once installed, most games should run just fine as a normal user and you'll likely get less spyware and virus trouble.
November 27, 2006 9:09:43 AM

Personally I don't see the point of partitions unless its for multiple OSes. Is there a performance benefit at all? If so is it significant enough to warrant splitting up a drive and reducing freedom to expand in one or more areas?
In the past I used to partition off some space for the OS and then some more for apps but these spaces never got used fully and usually had 10-20GB going to waste simply for the sake of clean seperation. Resizing partition is never really a good thing either.

I recommend nLite for creating a custom Windows installation and take out whatever you won't be using. I think things like Messenger should not only be disabled but should not be installed in the first place.
Related resources
November 27, 2006 1:53:21 PM

well, I found some performance improvement in drive cleanup; defragging the system alone makes boot time and general system responsiveness quite efficient, and not having to handle 5Gb data files and/or movies when defragging said system makes casual defragmentation a matter of minutes instead of hours. Since you don't spend your time installing then removing games, I think data files fragmentation - more than 2-3 fragments, on a file which is accessed here and there - has much less of an impact compared with executables - 0.2-2 Mb divided into dozens of fragments, and always loaded in their entirety in memory - so creating a system partition makes taking care of one's computer less of an hassle.
Don't forget indexation, virus scan and system restore: if you make it so that most of your EXEs and settings are on a single, small drive, scans, indexes and such will always proceed much faster.
November 28, 2006 4:19:56 AM

Thank you for the responses everyone. Very helpful information. Hopefully my new MoBo and HDD will be in tomorrow so I can give it a shot.
November 29, 2006 3:21:55 AM

There is one reason I can think of for having more than one partition if you only have one OS: your media files, documents, and such. In the event that you have to reinstall Windows (even though that never happens, right :) ) you won't have to bother trying to save off all of the data you want to keep (even though you should be backing it up anyway, right?). It can be convenient to do something like this.
November 30, 2006 1:56:01 PM

Well, I installed windows and everything went fine. But now I am running into the problem that I set the partition too small. I only made it 8gb and I am already running out of space. Most of the problem is from the automatic windows updates and the occasional program that will not allow me to choose where it will install, defaulting to the C:.

Any tips on how I can increase the size of the partition, or how I can stop anything else from being added to the c drive? I tried Seagates disk tools and it has an option to resize the partition, but when I click on it nothing happens. I also installed 7tools partition manager and it will only let me make larger partitions into smaller ones. But it won't let me increase the size of existing partitions.

Again, any help would be greatly appreciated.
November 30, 2006 5:31:05 PM

well first, you did set it a bit too small if you intend to let it run as it wishes - 8 Gb is sweet if - and only if:
- you set your swap file to 1.5 Gb or less (if you have 2Gb of RAM, it is set up by default at 3Gb). If you need more, you're probably running useless crap. - the aim of a big memory stick is to reduce swap.
- you deactivate system restore or set it at minimum level (it will keep the most recent system image in the latter case) - I found system restore to be a favourite resting place for virii.
- you disable hibernation (if you have 2 Gb of RAM, it uses 2 Gb of disk constantly) - while useful on a laptop, it serves no purpose on a desktop.
- you delete the hidden backup files left behind by Windows Update - which is wasted space, because you never uninstall hotfixes.

This adds up:
1.5Gb
+ 1 Gb
+ 2 Gb
+ 0.5 Gb

Total 4 Gb - used up for naught.

Now if you really want to increase your partition size, more often than not you need to destroy the partition set after it (to give it space to grow) and you need to be running an OS which doesn NOT boot from the partition you're trying to resize.
Partition Magic is able to shrink and move partitions around - which makes it an ideal tool to do what you may want to do. However it costs money.

What you can do is download and burn Linux Knoppix on a CD, start its software Qtparted, and use it to repartiton your drive: delete the partition next to your boot partition, grow the boot partition, create a new partition after it (it runs in a window, it's not text-based).
You may want to use this CD to save an image of your installed Windows system (using partimage) to restore said system. at a later date if you want .While text-based, it is very powerful.
November 30, 2006 6:28:17 PM

Also in addition to RAID mode, if your motherboard supports AHCI for SATA you will also need a driver floppy.
!