I am so LOST on partitioning!!

Hello all,

First, just wanted to say what a great forum and website this is. Been visiting for quite some time now.

That being said, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around partitioning hard drives. Here's the story,.I have an XP system. I've been wanting to organize my hard drive for some time now. I recently bought adobe's web design premium suite, and its 9.3 gigs approximately. I also am buying a new 700 gig hard drive to add to my PC in the next day or so. My current hd is about 300 gigs. So before I install, I wanted to format my hard drive. I figured now is the best time to do it. I have the OS disk, ms office disk, and all my other application disks. However I don't know where to start, and i consider myself pretty knowledgeable in the computer realm, but the one aspect of partitioning has always eluded me, heh. I tend to make things more complicated than they are.

I was thinking about breaking up my hard drive into a few different partitions, One for the OS, one for the APPS, and the rest for: music, movies, documents, pictures, etc..

Yet I have no idea what size i should make them each however. (I know you want to leave extra space for the OS partition, but not sure how much extra.)

I also want to leave room for an extra OS, for in the future, maybe to add Linux, or <gasp> Windows 7

I do not know if i should partition both drives, or just my new drive which will be faster and larger, or just my older one.

Also, when you dedicate one partition to the OS, (in my case XP), does that mean I shouldn't use the "My Documents", "My Music", and "My pictures" folders anymore ? (I ask this because Itunes usually defaults into "My Music" under the My Documents folder. )

Needless to say, I am completely new to this, and utterly confused. Sorry about the 21 questions! I have researched online, and all I have found are out-dated examples, with much smaller OS sizes and application sizes, not to mention much smaller HD sizes.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again!
19 answers Last reply
More about lost partitioning
  1. Try to just split 300gb into 2. Either 50-100gb for XP then the rest would be an available space. Then the new 700gb could be divided into n partitions where n depends on you. Hard drive partitions depends on the user, it has no standards. Just be sure to leave ample space for the partition where the OS will be installed.

    Linux partition managers have the ability to resize already existing partitions. Not sure about Win7.

    If you worry about the iTunes stuff, the directory for the library could be relocated. Just look at the advance tab in the preferences option.
  2. Keep it simple, use the 300 for OS and other programs you wish to run and use the 700 for your files, also you should have a backup to the 700GB drive if those files are important.
  3. Large HD's are really cheap these days. I would leave your 300GB for your OS and basic file system and small installations. I would recommend you leave your old drive its full size and just add drives as you need them.
  4. +1 to baddad and warezme. Keep it simple - 300GB drive with 1 partition for the OS, 700GB drive with 1 partition for everything else.

    There's no need to have separate partitions for the OS and applications if your disk is big enough to hold them all - it just increases the seek times when the drive has to move it's access arm back and forth between the two partitions. If the OS dies and you have to reinstall it, then you'll have to reinstall your applications anyway - there's no real advantage to having them in a separate partition on the same drive.
  5. Thank you all for your replies!

    I'll probably do just what you said. However, will it make a big difference performance wise, if i put the apps and OS on the slower (IDE) drive.. as apposed to the newer (SATA) ?

    Also, after reading your suggestions. If I do, in the future, decide to put another OS on my machine,.. (If I understand correctly), I could just buy an extra HDD,.. for that OS, right ?
  6. Dont put your OS on a slower drive if you can - makes everything slow etc
  7. Ixmaddogg,

    If you require assistance with setting up a multiparition for use with Windows 7 you may want to check the threads over at the Microsoft Windows 7 support forum. Microsoft does have an official Windows 7 RC Support Forum located here http://tinyurl.com/9fhdl5 . It is supported by product specialists as well as engineers and support teams.

    Microsoft Windows Client Team
  8. Ut oh.. Now I am confused, (It doesn't take much, lol) So, DON'T install the OS, on to my old drive or do??

    Will it show a real noticeable effect on performance if i do? Also, what if I upgrade to Vista 64 bit, would it be best to abandon XP all together if i do this?
  9. I think we've assumed that the old drive was sata, but no, its an ide. It would be marginally slower than the new one. Create the OS partition in the new drive then use the rest including the old drive as a media storage.
  10. Is 100 gig partition too big for an OS partition, was, wanting to make it bigger in case i upgrade to Vista 64?
  11. Im with everyone except os/aps on new drive and storage on other drive. Partitions wont do anything for speed for you.

    If you want performance get a ssd for os apps the speed is unreal.
  12. Why don't you just install Vista now and forget about xp?

    100gb is plenty but if you're planning to install lots of apps then it would be fine.
  13. Forget Vista go for Win 7. You can DL it now and rearm it til you can purchase a legit key.
  14. It depends on the specifics of the discs and on your usage patterns, but I think you're going to be a little worse off a partitioned OS/App new disk than you would be with the OS on the old disk. If you're really that concerned about performance then I'd buy a new drive for the OS as well and hang on to the old one in case you want to dual boot to a second OS for occasional use.
  15. You guys are awesome. I'm not that concerned with performance, its just I dont want it to slow it down tremendously, if I use the older one.

    The reason I wanted to go for that Vista, was that they are doin that promotion thing so when you buy a vista upgrade right now, you get a free upgrade to windows 7 when it is released, ..
  16. Do it and install 7 now off the web and use your key when you get it.
  17. u want ur OS to be the most accessible thing possible - it IS -in a sense- ur computer, everything goes through it, thats why lots of people use ssd's and myself, a velociraptor
  18. You guys are awesome!

    I'm thinking about just buying a seperate maybe like 150 gig hdd for my OS and apps. and then using the 700gig and old hdd for stoage. Thanks all for you replies and time. I know I'm a pain in the you know what some times. lol. If I can't afford it, ill just partition my 700 like masterjaw and others have reccomended. Lets hope I have money first, lol.
  19. ixmaddog said:
    You guys are awesome!

    I'm thinking about just buying a seperate maybe like 150 gig hdd for my OS and apps.
    These days you can get a 300 or 500GB drive for pretty darn close to the same price. I'd get the largest drive that fits your budget, even if you don't plan to use it all. As an example, if you use only 150G of a 500G disk, then the access arm will never have to travel more than 1/3 of the distance across the disk, and this will give you a bit of a performance edge (this is assuming the disk isn't fragmented and all the files are located close to the lowest block numbers).

    And a 500GB disk will have enough storage to last you further into the future than a 150G drive would...
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