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Should I put MS apps on same partition as the OS?

Last response: in Storage
December 15, 2006 2:20:50 PM

Getting ready to partition my new RAID1 array. Most say that you should have a separate partition for the OS and another for program files (apps), but I also heard someone say that for Microsoft programs, specifically Office, the program should be on the same partition as the OS since they use so many of the same files (or something like that). Any good reasons for either approach?

Also have a little problem with my RAID array. XP assigned it drive letter F instead of C. Obviously I can't change the drive letter in disk manager so looking for disk management software that will do the job. It'll either be Acronis Disk Director or PartitionMagic but $50 for either one seems a little steep for one time use software. Or, is it possible to just go back and repair the XP installation and change the drive letter designations and do the partitioning there? The installation is still fresh with just AdAware and Ewido Antivirus installed with XP updates so I don't mind reinstalling if it'll allow me to partition and designate drive letters. Also - some of the free partitioning software only works on FAT file systems and not NTFS so need to be careful if I go that route. Any suggestions? Thanks

More about : put apps partition

a b G Storage
December 15, 2006 3:10:22 PM

About the drive letter I don't know.

I suggest putting the application on the same partition because most of them have registry entry, so if you re-install window you need to reinstall them anyway.

Is'nt there a demo available to these apps?
December 15, 2006 3:29:53 PM

Thanks. I was kind of thinking in that direction (OS and MS apps on same partition) but wanted some confirmation.

I think I've got some other serious issues with the drive letter designations. The old PATA/IDE drive is still installed so it stayed as C. The only problem is that the old system sees the array as G but if I boot into the array it's seen as F. Gonna have to think on that one for awhile! Funny part is, I physically removed the old drive from the system when I set up the array and loaded XP. Seems pretty darned odd to me!
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December 15, 2006 4:07:11 PM

It should be possible to reassign the drive letters while doing a repair to the OS. If not, a reinstall will be required. My experience has been that I could assign letters to the various drives during a reinstall. My only guess for the odd assignment of drive letters is that maybe because you had a drive physically removed it didn't know what to do, so assigned drive letters at random.

I always put both the OS and the Microsoft apps on the same drive, psrtly because the apps have to be reinstalled anyway if a repair/reinstall is done, and partly because the various patches and updates affect both the OS and the apps. But I always keep the data on a separate partition or hard drive so it doesn't get wiped out during said reinstall. And, of course, I backup everything anyway just in case of drive failure.
December 15, 2006 4:43:55 PM

There is no safe way to reassign your OS partitions drives letter, there is no way to find and update all references to its location. Some are in the registry, some are in files on the hard drive ...

When you installed XP a partition other than the installation target was assigned C: during setup, causing the drive letter problem.

A similar problem can occur when moving an OS to a new hard drive if the new hard drive has a drive letter assignment in windows registry.

You want all your software on a single small partition kept as separate as possible from your data.

This allows you to use full partition backup software to quickly and conveniently backup and restore your entire OS without losing important data.

Its often the difference between a 15 min fix for even the worse software nightmare vs a day spend reinstalling and tweaking everything just to your liking.

Plus if you move important folder (email & web profiles, desktop, my documents ...) to another drive you can restore without fear of losing personal data.

I suggest True Image 9/10.
a b G Storage
December 15, 2006 5:15:32 PM

I've had that boot-drive letter problem before, and I've fixed it too. It has something to do with the RAID controller. Let me find the fix I used.


There! That should help you out. But it's risky since your apps may look for the F drive as your bootable volume. I wouldn't do this unless it's DIRECTLY after a Windows installation. Before any patches or drivers are installed.
December 15, 2006 8:42:19 PM

Thanks to all. I'll definately put the OS and program files on a 40g partition. As to the drive letter problem, I'll reinstall and if it shows up as other than C, will follow the instructions in the microsoft link provided.

Thinking about it, I probably hosed myself with the drive letter mixup. When I put the original drive back in and booted from it, then accessed the new array and OS from that drive, well - they can't both be the C drive so maybe windows had to reassign the drive letter of the array? My intention was to copy files to the new array but obviously that's not the way to do it (puts on dunce cap and sits in the corner for an hour)!

I'll need to figure out how to do it correctly. This really shoulnd't be rocket science!
December 16, 2006 1:04:48 PM

Thanks for the info on mirror/partition software. But that brings me back to a question I posted last week. I was looking at RAID1 as a way to have a duplicate of my OS and program files when a drive fails (important data fies would be archived off and also duplicated on my laptop as I do now). The question then is: Which is more advantageous - mirror/backup software and leave the SATA drives in JABOD configuration or use RAID1 to essentially do the same thing? The RAID is a hardware RAID via the mobo's onboard Promise controller.

Disk space isn't really an issue at this point. I've been using the WD PATA drive for about a year and only have 40g used up. The Seagate SATA drives are 160g each so in a RAID1 array I have 149g available. The only "game" I use is MS Flight Simulator 9 (I haven't loaded FSX yet).

I also have an upgrade coupon for Vista but understand that I give up my current copy of XPPro if/when I activate VISTA. But I won't be doing that for quite some time - at least until after SP1 and all the drivers are available (late next year?).

So - those are my conditions and expected uses. I don't mind using a software solution for redundancy but don't see the advantage if I already have the hardware available. I'm very open to suggestions, recommendations, and opinions.
December 16, 2006 2:01:51 PM

My experience has been that I could assign letters to the various drives during a reinstall.

Really?? How did you do that? I thought drive letter designations could only be specified after the Windows install had completed. I've never noticed any options available during a Windows install which would let me assign drive letters. What have I missed?

-john, the redundant legacy dinosaur
December 17, 2006 12:12:58 PM

Everything worked as it was supposed to on this last install. I was able to partition the array through the install process and then format and activate the larger partition from disk management. This time, when I reinstalled the old drive, removed it from the disk list in bios and it just showed up as a new device and am able to access all the old files.

Have no earthly idea what I did to screw it up so bad on the previous attempts. It's as if the "computer gremlins" are sitting behind some bush laughing hysterically at me for dragging this out and having to ask such off the wall questions! I really thought I'd done my homework before asking questions and taking up everyones time. Sorry for sounding like such a noob with my questions and thanks for everyones help.
December 17, 2006 1:11:32 PM

The drive letters are hosed up because your card reader took the drive letters starting with C:\ The only way to fix this is to unplug the card reader and reinstall windows. There is no other way to change the system drive letter. But you don't need to. I ran a system for a year with the system drive letter as F: with no problems.
December 17, 2006 2:20:08 PM

Ya - I finally figured that one out and did it right on this install. Just goes to show how poor planning and preps magnifies problems.