I made a full backup of files on an external drive [an elderly Seagate 160GB USB], ran Windows Defragmenter a couple of times and then used Easeus Partition to make the partitions. This is done graphically- moving bars and clicking on unallocated volumes to turn them into primary or logical drives.
The partitioning was very easy and fast to do. However, when I restarted, I was able to run Win 7, but several applications would not open. I checked, and the applications that didn't work- Autodesk Inventor and Corel Technical Designer were the last loaded. I reasoned that the problem was that Windows Defrag did not consolidate all the files into the front of the drive. I'd thought that the Partitioning utility automatically migrated the files into the C: partition- but apparently not. Because some files were scattered over the drive, when I made the partitions, some application files were orphaned into one of the added partitions.
While it was possible I could've gotten away with reloading only the corrupted applications, I decided to reload the entire HD- 10 or 12 hours.
I am upgrading my current computer** next week, adding a 2nd CPU- that's the magic of Xeon!, +6GB of RAM, and a 2nd 500GB HD- (Backup or I may try a RAID 1). I'm also considering- this would be awhile- changing the OS/application HD to an OCZ RevoDrive.
I will be using Easeus Todo Backup Workstation 5.6 to both make a system image in case something "happens". The thing is, I need to fuss with the partitions on both HD's as I need to make the C: OS /APP partition larger- it's crowded with 108GB in 120GB- while I like "short shifting" for performance, I also like to have 20% breathing room. Also, I'm making a separate partition on both drives to store the system image- just as I did so tragically on the Optiplex,... However, after that experience, I'd like to have a defrag utility that can guarantee file consolidation- perhaps graphically showing the distribution of files across the drive so that no files are orphaned. If this utility is also one that organizes OS files for performance- all the better. Free would be a plus!