OS only partition

I'm about to put into service a new 1TB HDD. Over the years I've thought many times about creating a small partition just for the OS, but for one reason or another have never taken the plunge. If anybody has done this I would appreciate being enlightened as to the pros and cons of doing so. Thanks.
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  1. Go for it. No cons really, just that with a TB drive (just installed, partioned (in 1 piece) and formatted one myself a week ago) everything takes quite a bit longer.

    I think formatting mine took 2 or 3 hours alone after I initialized it. Don't forget to initialize it btw, then you also get the choice to add the partitions.

    The pros, none really either. You just keep your computer "tidy" that way.


    Actually, I do recall 1 con. I wanted to take my drive out of service as my OS and make it into an external.. so it was a real long drawn-out process to find software and safely wipe the OS off the partition without harming the other half that had my goodies.

    Of course having another drive would make that moot, but I remember it none too fondly.

    Good luck!
  2. Well there are a couple of pros that come along with partitioning the drives.
    1. The OS can easily be re installed in the event of a virus, or other serious fu-bar.

    2. Limiting the size of the OS limits the amount of space it will use. Cleaning up my vista x64 install I found nearly 32GB of temp data that would not be deleted using the disc clean up utility. Also I found that the initial install is smaller if the partition for vista is limited to less then 20 GB.

    There are a couple real cons. You'll have to make sure you install all programs to a seperate partition. Also backup can be more difficult depending on how you do it. For example you'll have to create 2 images if you wanna save you OS and programs. Also if you are using vista you cannot move the "My Documents" section as easily as you could with XP.
  3. PsyKhiqZero said:
    1. The OS can easily be re installed in the event of a virus, or other serious fu-bar.

    This sounds like a DRM disaster waiting to happen.
  4. It sounds like a pretty good idea, but I think that you will find it cumbersome in application. An applications like MS Office puts most of its components in the Program Files folder. But it puts quite a bit of itself in the Windows folder. In a case like this, reinstalling Windows will break Office.

    I think that it's better to have a partition for OS and apps, and a separate partition for data. Keep in mind that that is no protection for your main drive failing. Keep in mind that hard drives generally lead long, trouble free lives - except when they don't.
  5. My philosophy was to create a slightly larger partition for the OS + installed apps. Then "ghost" this partition to an image somewhere else on the drive. Then in case of a catastrophic virus, I could restore C: from the saved image. Just have to be sure that you update the saved image anytime you install new apps.
  6. Sounds like you're trying to use ghosting as an alternative to backup. Trouble is, the OS and data are (relatively easily) recovered or re-installed. If you don't have backups, recovering the data will be considerably harder, if possible.

    Another thought is that separating partitions like this is likely to lead to larger head movements (and hence slower performance) as the reads alternate between programs and data. With a single partition the OS can manage the layout of the disk better.
  7. Correction! "OS and data" should have read "OS and programs".
  8. Here's my thoughts on the subject. Over time, Windows always seems to develop "quirks" for lack of a better word. Sometimes functionality can be restored using the restore function in Windows (XP PRO). I've never been able to use "repair" successfully. It would be great if re-installing the OS would allow me to start over fresh, however I've always been afraid that this would create more problems than it solves such as what "JSC" alludes to. If all of the dynamic links get broken and nothing works then what have I solved? Up to now, I've always run out of space about the same time I've run out of patience with the quirks, meaning that I install the OS on a new ( larger) HDD and install the old HDD as a second drive migrating data at my leisure. Drives are so cheap that this is still a viable option even if the drive isn't full. So far I'm unconvinced that I would see any great benefit from an "OS only partition" but I look forward to any further discussion.
  9. On the other hand, there are real benefits from an OS only disk.
  10. I always used a separate partition for my OS (now a whole drive since Vista takes pretty much all the space on my old 36GB Raptor). However, I don't put just the OS on the partition, I also install "basic workstation stuff" like AV, firewall, Office, Firefox, Pidgin, ... This partition I always Ghost/Backup so in case of any trouble I can restore and have a perfectly usable system running in about 1hr. All my data and non-essential programs I install on other partitions/drives. This is a habit I took when I was in school ... no time to waste when you have term-papers to write ;).

    Moreover, as ram1009 said, Windows tend to screw itself up over time and the "Repair" option is nothing useful (used it once and it didn't even work). If you put everything on a single partition, then you actually have to backup all your stuff when you want to reinstall the OS. I find that much more troublesome than the actual trouble of partitioning the drive in the first place.
  11. I built my own work computer. I am my own IT person - small work site in Saudi Arabia.

    I have a 250 GB HD partition divided in 100 and 150 GB partitions. The C partition has everything on it - OS, apps, and data. The D partition has install executables, less critical data, and miscellaneous files. I also have a removeable 250 GB drive (E: drive).

    I backup the "My Documents" folder daily to the d: partition and plug the removable drive into the computer and do a weekly backup of the entire c: partition to e: .

    Because the backup drive is removeable, I figure that it will never run as much as the permanently installed drive in the computer. So the odds of a simultaneous drive failure are pretty small. (Yes, a power surge could kill both drives during a backup.) I also backup the Docs folder to a single layer DVD monthly.

    I also do the same thing that ram1009 does when migrating to a bigger disk.
  12. In XP there is a way, rather simple, to put the "My Documents" on another drive. That is what I do so I don't have to do it manually, it's not a backup solution, but it saves the trouble of making a backup when you have to reinstall the OS.

    In Vista, there are even more user folders you can move I think.
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