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Wanted: Your opinions on partitioning my drive

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April 9, 2008 7:29:46 PM

I have a WD 640GB HDD for my new build. I plan on installing 3 or 4 OSes to this drive. I have WinXP 32bit, WinXP 64bit, and Vista 32bit.

I'm wondering how I should partition my drive. Ideally, I would like to install a game (primary use of this machine) on a neutral (non-OS) partition available to all OSes. I don't know the feasibility of this, however. WinXP 32bit will probably be my primary OS, because of compatibility and resource use.

Also, can I make each OS partition invisible to the others? I would like to avoid my wife / kids from using the various partitions and it would be less confusing for them.

What do the experts here think?
April 9, 2008 8:12:40 PM

My thoughts - sure somebody else will be along soon to correct me if I am wrong...

I'd give each partition 50 GB - that's 200 gone

You've got 396GB left - so 100GB for shared programs across the 4 OS's and 296GB for data be it movies, mp3, photo, digi cam video, whatever.

To get the games to work on all OS's I think you're going to have to boot into each OS and repeatedly install each game over the top of one another in the same location on the data drive - reason being to ensure that registry changes etc are made that the game will need to run.

Nothing springs to mind re making the partitions invisible to one another... all on the same physical disk so can't disable it through system settings on each OS.
April 9, 2008 8:35:09 PM

Would you have a problem with the swap file size, would there be enough space?
Related resources
April 9, 2008 8:48:44 PM

Why do you need 50gigs for an OS partition? Wouldnt 10 suffice?
April 9, 2008 9:13:55 PM

Partion your drive equally. Also Vista does not like to share a comman drive with xp, not in the least, it tells me with my comp that it cant and refuses to let me even look in the 1 paritioned drive I wanted to use to share between the 2. 10 gigs isnt enough for xp, the os itsself can eat up 8 gigs without problems, and if you want to be able to defrag, you need atleast 15% of your drive space free before it lets you, also keep in mind vista capable programs will want to be kept with vista to get the best experience for the user.
April 9, 2008 9:33:53 PM

I second keeping the partitions equal in size and NOT making a undersized partition for your OS, any thought of gaining increased performance by moving swap files here or there is futile. You won't notice any difference in performance, but you will most likely encounter a problem down the road.

As an aside, if you want to hide your pr0n from your SO or your kids by making invisible or encrypted partitions, don't do it. Keep that stuff on a removable drive, if you have so much that it will not fit, get an eSATA HDD.
April 9, 2008 9:40:20 PM

Its uncanny that vista wouldn't be compatible with xp(cough,cough)...instead of offering drivers for vista it declares that your item(camera,soundcard,etc.)is obsolete,and needs to be replaced.And every new computer you buy(nubs)you'll have to fork out another zillion just to run a simple app like micr*soft word...is just me or do others see the herd off the cliff theory.Best of luck with your endevers,post how it turned out,some of us always need a good chuck'l...gl
April 9, 2008 10:08:09 PM

Lol Vista isnt compabatible with xp....yet but service pack 3 promises to enable us to share files between xp comps and vista comps. I really hope thats the case, my fiance likes to download anime and i like to run vista, but have to kick into xp to view it on my own computer through our network.
a c 172 G Storage
April 9, 2008 10:36:20 PM

Keep it simple. Install Vista-64 in one partition. Is there anything that will not run on it??
a c 115 G Storage
April 9, 2008 11:11:07 PM

geofelt said:
Keep it simple. Install Vista-64 in one partition. Is there anything that will not run on it??


Vista 32 has 1,500 compatible programs....XP has 35,000
April 9, 2008 11:16:58 PM

Hijack Warning!!!
blacksci said:
Lol Vista isnt compabatible with xp....yet but service pack 3 promises to enable us to share files between xp comps and vista comps. I really hope thats the case, my fiance likes to download anime and i like to run vista, but have to kick into xp to view it on my own computer through our network.


Whoa - what do you mean you can't share files on a network? I'm in the process of getting a new laptop, need to add it to my wireless network, and file sharing (with XP machines) is a must. Tell me more about this issue / non-issue. Will be happy to take the discussion elsewhere if we need another thread.

a c 115 G Storage
April 9, 2008 11:42:55 PM

There's one big misconception about installing 4 OS's on 4 partitions .... somehow peeps thing that is one OS dies, the others are still working. Problem is, if installed as most do, part of every one of those OS's resides on your C partition (boot.ini) and without that nothing is booting.

"Back in the day", the folks at PowerQuest had a little utility that came with "Partition Magic" which actually did truly isolate one partition form another. Symantec bought PQ and this product sits in the doldrums. What PM allowed you to do was create a teeny little DOS partition (or FAT32) which contained your boot menu. After a menu selection, PM actually hid all the other OS partitions and unhid the one you selected in the menu. I did a lot of builds this way "back in the day" with Win98 on Partition C(1) for the kiddies and NT4 on C(2) for moma and dada to do work. When the machine was booted, it would default to Win98 unless one selected NT4 on a menu and I'd set it to about 5 seconds to make the choice. So if kids turned on machine, they'd go into win98 and play games.....they couldn't get to the NT4 partition if they tried because it was "invisible" and not accessible (not to mention it was NTFS).

Problem is Vista doesn't like PM. Once you do any formatting with Vista, PM ain't gonna work so you'd have to use one of their competitors. Now if you create all the partitions with PM and then install Vista, I'm told by peeps that have done it that it works fine....unless you let Vista format anything on that drive.

In the OP's case, if I was doing what you are doing, I'd use one of these options:

1. Hyper OS
http://www.hyperossystems.co.uk/

2. Something equivalent to this
http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTk3

As for partition sizes.....in the situation above I always had all OS's share the same page file. It's a simple enough procedure well described on numerous web sites. This let me have up to 3 OS's if one of them was on a FAT32 partition and 2 OS's if I was doing NTFS and needed that 50 MB DOS boot partition. That was because of the 4 primary partitions limit on a HD.

-OS1 (FAT32) / OS2 (anything) / OS3 (Anything) / Extended Partition with various logical partitions
-Mini Boot Menu Partition / OS1 (NTFS) / OS 2 (NTFS) / Extended Partition with various logical partitions

I have XP partitions of 4 GB, 8 GB and 16 GB on various boxes here.... the smaller you make it, the more you need to move stuff off to other partitions. I do OS's on C*, D gets swap and temp files, E usually gets programs, F games and G Data.

-Every program install must be "custom" so you can make it go somewhere besides C:\ProgramsFiles.
-Swap and temp files need their own home
-You need to make e-mail go somewhere else
-Nothing goes in C:\MyDocuments

As for the placement being a non issue, just think about it. The two most accessed file groups on your puter are your swap files and your temp files. Your HD can move about 118 MB'sec at the outer edge, and about 69 at the inner edge. Simple question.....you want it moving that data closer to 118 or 69 MB/sec ?

Lock your temp and swap files in on a D partition right behind a small C partition and you gonna be very close to 118....forever. With just one big C drive, on day 1 you will see no difference between performance between default windows install and with a separate swap / temp file partition. Just don't try to compare them on Day 365. On day 365, with 500 GB of space filled on your HD, you new temp files and swap file is gonna be thrust out in 75 MB/sec territory while if you had it on it's own locked in partition at the front of the drive, it's still performing at day 1 speeds of 116 MB/sec.
April 10, 2008 12:03:53 AM

piratepast40 said:
Hijack Warning!!!


Whoa - what do you mean you can't share files on a network? I'm in the process of getting a new laptop, need to add it to my wireless network, and file sharing (with XP machines) is a must. Tell me more about this issue / non-issue. Will be happy to take the discussion elsewhere if we need another thread.



Its pretty simple really, vista uses a diffrent service then xp does for the tc/ip connection and right now they are not compatible. When SP3 releases in july if MS doesnt screw us, then there will no longer be a problem. But for now they cannot share the same network, it sucks i know, but a fix is on the way.

To the original poster, I dont really have a clue as to what jack is exactly trying to say here so ill let ya know how i got a multi boot os off my comp. I first installed xp, fully updated it, then i used the device manager to create the partition to install vista into, started up vista, pointed the correct path out to it, and presto dual boot, no hassle works everytime. Hope that clears up and confusion you may have. Waaay too much detail there. As a side note I let vista defrag the drive its in, and dont have any problems.
April 10, 2008 1:32:45 AM

Is there a problem if i wanted to have XP on one HDD, then install Vista on a completely different HDD, and boot that way? I know i'd have to change my boot order each time i wanted to boot into XP/Vista.. correct?
April 10, 2008 2:49:02 AM

There's almost a scent of panic in the air...And you thought micr*soft was your buddy...wake up... grind it up a smell the latte.
April 10, 2008 1:59:59 PM

Ok, the consensus seems to be make equal size partitions, the Vista partition will not play nice with the others, and I can't make the other OS partitions invisible.

Last night for my first set up, I went with 3 100GB partitions for OSes, and the rest as one large data partition. Is there a performance / stability benefit from changing them around before I do any more?

Also, I realize this will not prevent everything from failing if one fails. I just wanted clean installs for the separate OSes I'm installing.
April 10, 2008 2:32:34 PM

I would just suggest 4 hard drives, if your motherboard supports it, you can have the boot menu show up and just boot off which harddrive you want when starting. If one HD fails no big deal. My old a8n sli deluxe has this option. Keeping them isolated and seperated is best.
a c 115 G Storage
April 10, 2008 2:35:18 PM

You can make other OS's invisible with a boot loader which hides partitions.

Performance improvements are addressed above.
April 10, 2008 3:09:40 PM

Multiple physical drives is a future upgrade.

For the boot loader, I see a suggestion for GRUB, but are there any others that will work with XP 32bit and 64bit, and Vista? Also, a free one would be best.
a c 115 G Storage
April 10, 2008 5:11:52 PM

You look at Hyper OS ? (not free tho)
April 10, 2008 5:26:29 PM

HyperOS looks nice. However, the budget was spent on hardware, so I need something cheap, or preferably free.
April 10, 2008 6:02:28 PM

Why so many operating systems on one computer? I can see 2. Really it's just overkill and your wanting to play. Give it a whirl but you will soon find that the headache is not worth the endeaver.
April 10, 2008 6:05:16 PM

It is mostly just to do it. I want XP 32 bit for essentially complete compatibility for programs / games. The 64 bit is because I have it, and when I add some RAM (above the 4GB I have) I want to be able to use it. Vista for DX10 and future use as it becomes more and more mainstream (assuming it happens).
April 10, 2008 7:04:31 PM

Woah now
XP and Vista have no problems sharing the same network and data over that network - I have two Vista computers and 2 XP computers on my home network, it took a little work with the Vista machines to figure out the difference between "sharing" and "sharing" (one with other users of the same PC and one with the network) - but it's easily doable by people that have the ability to read.
Secondly XP and Vista are compatible - I recently built a computer for a client with both. Vista because it's faster and XP because she has some older printers. If I remember right I had to install them in a specific order though and I don't remember which was first - the first time I did it in reverse order and I think Vista wiped XP out, I think. So I pulled my head out and installed them in the other order without problems. The XP partition with 20GB and Vista with 50GB so that both had plenty of room to breath/defragment.

As far as ease of use for booting, just change the boot.ini so the OS everybody else will use is first and default with 5 or 10 seconds to choose, then a password to log in to the others- so the kids can't mess anything up
April 10, 2008 7:17:32 PM

MRMan01 is correct there are no compatibility issues and you should be banned for those post. If you don't know what you are talking about don't mislead others.

I would create one partition and vitalize the rest of the installations of the other OS's. Virtual PC is a free download from Microsoft and Linux has similar tools if you what to go that route for a primary.
April 10, 2008 7:35:46 PM

I thought about Virtual PC (and I will probably make a Win98 one if I can get the hardware to work correctly), but I don't want the performance loss with it.

Hmm....I do have a Maxtor 7200 80GB IDE, and an IDE-SATA converter. I could add that to the box for one of the OSes (Vista probably), and that would help keep things clean.
April 10, 2008 7:38:49 PM

Vista and XP can use all the same disks. You'll not have to reinstall games, but somethings you will want to reinstall. I had a ton of games installed on XP before I installed vista (on a new disk), and I was able to use them all after SP1 and installing directx 9 in Vista. I did have to copy saved game files from my user folder in xp to the user folder in vista.

BTW, I had no problems installing Vista, none at all, I was actually suprised. You'll defeniately want to install xp first, I recommend you just install one xp (not much use having 32bit and 64bit xp), and you should put vista on seperate physical disk.
April 10, 2008 7:45:22 PM

LOL, just seen the post where someone claimed Vista and xp can't share a network. That's total BS. In fact, using Vista to see other computers on a network is easier than using xp to see other computers on network (especially if they're not in the same workgroup). Hell, even linux doesn't have a problem sharing files with Vista and XP.
April 10, 2008 8:10:23 PM

MrManO1 said:
Woah now
XP and Vista have no problems sharing the same network and data over that network - I have two Vista computers and 2 XP computers on my home network, it took a little work with the Vista machines to figure out the difference between "sharing" and "sharing" (one with other users of the same PC and one with the network) - but it's easily doable by people that have the ability to read.

I've added Vista machines to the wireless network - not an issue, just need to add the MAC address of the broadcom adapter to the "allowed" list so I know that's not an issue. My concern was with file sharing. I've read the MS blurb on SP3 to XP but must confess that most of it is above my knowledge level. I want to be able to 1) add a Vista (business or ultimate) machine to my home network and allow file sharing and 2) also be able to connect to a separate 2003 server (access, share, and manipulate files) through a VPN. I hope I'm being specific enough about what I'm trying to do. From what I understand, between Vista SP1 and XP SP3 (and using XP Pro and Vista Business or Ultimate) my objectives should be attainable. However - now I'm hearing that it may be a non-issue to begin with. As you can see, there are different versions of the story and the average guy (me) isn't sure what to believe. Was this issue resolved by some of the patches MS talks about in the SP3 release notes? http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/d/8/cd8cc719-7d5a-40d3-a802-e4057aa8c631/relnotes.htm

litlrabi - really sorry to be jumping in the middle of your thread here. I've been strugling with this issue and been getting conflicting stories. Hope you don't mind.

April 10, 2008 8:59:41 PM

Again, sharing files between XP and Vista is easy. Just make sure they are in same work group (very easy). For Vista you have to allow "public" file sharing. Otherwise it will just share files with people who have an account on the PC. On the network at my apartment there is an xp machine, a vista machine, and a linux machine, I can pull files off my vista machine on both the linux and the xp machine. I can get files off the xp machine from vista and from linux. I haven't tried to share any files on my linux machine because it is an htpc so I have nothing that needs to be shared on it.

Basically all the operating systems are capable of using IPv4, so if they are behind same router they are very easy to find, even if they're not in same workgroup. You just have to make sure your permissions are right on the files/folders you want to share.
April 10, 2008 9:34:59 PM

JackNaylorPE said:

-Every program install must be "custom" so you can make it go somewhere besides C:\ProgramsFiles.
-Swap and temp files need their own home
-You need to make e-mail go somewhere else
-Nothing goes in C:\MyDocuments


This isn't always true. To make your life easier you can use TweakUI. Change the folders locations and you'll never have to worry about it ever again. Yes, it looks like Vista, but not, it's really Win XP 32-bit. Windowblinds to the resque.

By jonprevost at 2008-04-10
April 11, 2008 4:51:41 AM

Eh my bad, as several people have pointed out it xp and vista will share on a network, i was going off of previous experiences of a year ago, and i will stand by the fact that back then they wouldnt, but i went onto vista and was able to get onto the network my fiance has setup, now i just need some vista codecs. anywho...
@bydesign screw yourself if i cant be human and make a mistake, it happens, i stand corrected, so go screw yourself.
April 11, 2008 6:33:50 AM

I have run multiple operating systems on the same hardware at times since the early 90s but have tired of the whole "challenge" and moved on to other challenges. Today, I have multiple hard drives in plug-in enclosures and keep various images of operating systems so I could restore any system from the image to a physical disk in a few minutes. Because I do video editing, my workflow requires that I use multiple spindles to maintain performance at every stage of a project. I have at least four (4) physical disks in the machine at all times. The rationale is to minimize seek time by having the head on a disk move from track to adjacent track rather than seek from one end of a disk to the other.
The drives are:
( C: & X: ) 160 GB boot disk with 20 GB OS, the rest is a partition to capture video to be edited.
( D: & G: ) 750 GB partitioned into an Archive ( D: ) where I keep my personal pictures, videos, scans etc. and VIDEO 2 (G: ) where I keep finished DVD, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray folders and images. The archive gets backed up to another disk off the machine. VIDEO 2 gets burned to removable media as required and eventually deleted.
( E: ) 300 GB disk with a single partition. Most of the pagefile is on this drive. It is used as scratch disk for photo and video editors and authoring software. I save project files from the various applications here until they are finished and I dump anything else there unless I feel it should be on another drive.
( F: ) 750 GB with one partition which is the target for edited video which becomes the input for the authoring process.
All users Documents folders as well as the mail logs for Outlook are kept on the D:\Archive so they are available with any system that happens to be active.
Since my storage requirements increase over time as I shoot more stills and HD video of my grandbaby, I regularly upgrade my drives. I have three 160 GB drives that might have some version of an OS on it. Since I have four 300GB drives in a box, I will likely be booting off them in the future. If there is one or more morals to all of this, they are: Hard drives are relatively cheap. Even the casual user could benefit from two spindles in the machine. The OS partition should have only OS and applications. It should not be the target for all the detrititus that gets generated while using the machine like the temp folders and pagefile. All of that should go to another drive or partition. Everybody should use imaging software such as GHOST, etc. to save a pristine image of the system for when you need to restore it. Bad stuff happens. Saving images at various states could be even more helpful if one is interested in working with different operationg systems since something is bound to go wrong.
April 11, 2008 12:59:20 PM

I really appreciate all the feedback this has generated.

I've found what may be a simple, yet elegant solution to my keeping drives hidden problem. In Windows management, I remove drive letter associations from the partitions I don't want to see.

I realize this isn't quite the same as making it invisible to the OS, but I am just trying to remove the confusion, and possible problems of having the extra "hard drives" showing for them.
a c 115 G Storage
April 12, 2008 6:17:08 PM

MrManO1 said:
Vista because it's faster and XP because she has some older printers.


Stop the presses ! No one has ever published a benchmark since Vista was released showing that it is faster on the same hardware. You have a nice bit of cash coming to you if you get that story broken in a trade mag. Even perennial Redmond Schill PC Magazine jumps on the bandwagon ii their May Issue (pg 87).

"Windows XP is noticeably faster than Vista on the same hardware, and it gets by with much less RAM and hard drive space. MS's Service Pack 3 makes XP even faster, but the same can not be said of Vista's Servcie Pack 1. And Windows Explorer crashes far more often in Vista (preceded of course, by the notorious Green Ribbon of Death). Why, XP's staggeringly superior hardware support alone makes a convincing case for dumping Vista in favor of it's predecessor."

Quote:
As far as ease of use for booting, just change the boot.ini so the OS everybody else will use is first and default with 5 or 10 seconds to choose, then a password to log in to the others- so the kids can't mess anything up.


Problem is all "boot files" are accessible under any of the booted OS's so kids can screw things up.....i.e deleting ntldr, boot.ini or getting any malware which affects boot files.

Anyone ever tried booting of an eSATA drive ?

http://thermaltakeusa.com/product/Storage/hdd_station/b...
January 15, 2010 2:09:46 AM



MrMan01,

I can read and what I know is that when I attempt to set up sharing for directories on my Vista PC, when I right click a directory name, the "share" that I find in the resulting pop-up menu talks about network sharing and only network sharing and after experimenting with all the options available for THAT version of "sharing", my Vista PC will only share files in its public directories, which is very inconvenient in that if I am at my XP PC in the garage and want to get files from the XP PC in the house, i've got to go in the house and copy the desired files to a public directory. Sucks! FYI ... the XP PC is connected to to my Vista PC via an Ethernet LAN network (that's a wired LAN not a wireless LAN). In trying to configure my network setup on my Vista PC, I can only find a setup feature for WIRELESS LANs. Could it be that my SP2 version of Vista is out of date and that the SP3 upgrade talked about in this forum supports WIRED LANS? Could it be that SP3 will allow one to share almost any of the Vista PC's files? So why didn't Microsoft inform me of an SP3 upgrade? Microsoft sure seems to want to keep my Vista up to date with all kinds of misc. and worthless-to-me updates but not a word about SP3#$%! Could it be that the files you are sharing on your Vista PCs are files you have placed in its public directories? Could it be that you don't know as much as you think about networking and Vista?

Your thoughts, please.
!