Physical placement of the partitions


Consider the picture below. It represents an hypothetical physical placement of the partitions in a platter of a hard disk.

And my question is: Is this the real placement that occurs with any modern hard drive?

In other words:Will the low order partitions be outer in the platter no matter if they are primary, extended or logical drives (like in the picture)?
Or this rule applies only to primary and extended (the logical drives will be all mixed under the portion of its extended partition)?
Or else?

I'm planing to partition my hard drives (one of 80GB and other of 250GB) and is crucial for me to know that.

Other quick-to-answer doubts:1. Windows swap file can be put in a logical drive?
2. If I have two primary partitions in a hard drive, will I be able to use the other primary (under Windows XP) if a) it is another Windows XP b) it is Linux OS
3. In Linux is mandatory to have a partion for the swap file? It can be put in a logical drive?

Thanks in advance!
5 answers Last reply
More about physical placement partitions
  1. First of all, the pic does not include multiple platters. It should be the optimal placement considering the platter(s)' rotation but it's highly debatable if this happens.
    1. I think so
    2. Yes no matter the OS as long as it can read it.
    3. Highly recommended.
  2. I wish I knew the precise answers to your excellent questions. I do know #1: You can put an NTFS swap file most anywhere mappable, I've done it just to see what happens. Nothing better than leaving it where it is first was created actually.

    Even if your diagram is a single platter representation, it's not accurate and incomplete. The MFT (and the backup) are relatively large and I have yet to learn exactly where that gets created and why...There are numerous tweaks available for manipulating the MFT and in your specific desire to move partitions to specific locations you might want to look into such utilities. CachemanXP rings a bell, and of course all the Mark Russinovich Sysinternal's stuff.

    Some new HDDs have heads that don't over shoot the desired landing point (as much) so if you are looking for increased speed or noise reduction look there. Lastly, I think some freely available utilities are available that allow you to relocate partitions to specific locations, literally dragging and dropping them in place, they are DOS based and terribly slow and I used one ages ago and I've not seen another since!
  3. 1) Just leave it where XP puts it. I haven't noticed a huge difference in performance if the Windows Page File is on a separate hard drive.
    2) As long as the OS can read it.
    3) General rule of thumb: at least twice your RAM size. A Linux swap file acts totally different than a Windows Page File:

    Windows Page File: Dumps runnings programs from the RAM if there isn't enough RAM available.
    Linux Swap File: Dumps inactive programs to free up RAM for running programs. Also, when you put the system into hibernate, it uses the swap file to store the running programs off the RAM.

    Since you got two hard drives, why not do what I do:

    80GB - OS's, programs and swap file
    250GB - Data.

    This way, if an OS crashes, your data is on a separate hard drive.
  4. runswindows95 said:
    1) Just leave it where XP puts it. I haven't noticed a huge difference in performance if the Windows Page File is on a separate hard drive.

    Moving the swap file to another disk will substantially increase performance....IF you have that disk on a seperate controller (ok, SCSI command queue will help also, but hey - who's running that at home?).
  5. Thanks for your reply.

    I was reading about changing cluster size. I have about 100GB+ of video files (average 800MB each file I guess). It's worth making a partition with an increased cluster size for those videos? If yes, what would be a good size?

    ATM my plan is:
    The list below should be read as:
    *Placement*: *type of data* [*Number of primary partitions or logical drives*]

    Outermost: O/S and swapfile [two primaries]
    Second outermost: Games and Applications [two logical drives]
    Rest: Movies, Images, Temporary (for video-encoding), Installation files of applications, Personal data (including music). [to be defined]

    There are two primaries and two extended, one of each in each HDD.

    Please feel free to suggest modifications. I'll do the all the things (backup/partitions/restore) at my friend's place today from 20GMT.
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