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Partitioning a HD

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August 22, 2009 12:01:25 AM

Im not sure how i should partition my HD, my computers gonna be mostly for gaming and watching movies, im gonna use Win 7 once it comes out, and right now im gonna use windows 7 RC.

So im asking, what size should my OS partition be? For windows 7

How should i split my HD? Into how many portions?

And is there a program that helps you partition your HD's after you've already skipped the process? (At first boot up), i read that only linux does that

Also, i do plan on getting an SSD, so im probably gonna redownload windows 7 RC on the SSD, how do i go on doing this? Ill have to delete all files and such? And will i be able to use the same product key (windows 7 product key)

More about : partitioning

August 22, 2009 9:31:33 AM

Hello Computernewbie,

I can only give you some guidelines. The details as to size and number of partitions is something you have to figure out based on _how_ you will use your machine. I will start with the way I do it, stating why I do it that way.

When deciding how to partition a hard drive, two factors that you should keep in mind are:

1. hard drives transfer data that is stored at the beginning of the drive faster than data that is stored at the end of the drive.

2. if files you access frequently are stored all over the surface of the drive, then the hard drive's read/write head will have to travel a lot to retrieve the files you want. If, on the other hand, you group your files into groups of "frequently accessed", "less frequently accessed" and "rarely accessed" files then the hard drive's read/write heads will very often be in the "frequenly accessed" area, implying they will have to travel less and consequently, accessing the files will be faster. In technical terms, this grouping is to maximize locality.

Given the above, when configuring a system you'd want to have all your frequently accessed files at the beginning of the drive and the rarely accessed files at the end of the drive. A partitioning scheme that accomplishes this, could be the following:

First partition (C: ) - Your choice of Windows version - First Windows installation. (Windows files are obviously accessed very frequently, therefore it makes sense to have them in the first partition at the beginning of the drive.) It's difficult to openly recommend a size for this partition, I use 32GB and only use this space for Windows and utilities that help me manage and/or recover a computer in case of problems. Everything else goes into a different partition - keep reading to find out where.

Second partition (D: ) - for swapfile and temporary files created by Windows. I use anywhere between 16GB to 32GB. I manually set the swapfile to be in this partition. I also manually set all temporary files (including temporary internet files) to be in this partition. The point of this partition is to place all the file that are frequently accessed there AND that you do not need to backup. Do not place anything you would mind losing here. This is a partition for what you could consider "junk".

Third partition (E: ) - Your choice of Windows version - Second Windows installation - size 16GB to 32GB. When you have a problem with your computer, particularly if it is a software problem, you'll be glad you have a second installation you can boot into. You use this installation to repair any problems that the first installation may be having. Whether you make C: or E: the installation you use on a daily basis is a matter of personal taste. I have a slight preference for making the installation in E: my daily one because many viruses/trojan/crapware are hard coded to affect drive C:, therefore by using E: you dodge the bullet. If you chose to make E: your daily installation then do boot into C: every now and then to make sure it is still working properly (in case one of those poorly coded viruses/trojans/etc got in there without you noticing.

Fourth Partition (F: ) - Your programs go here (Games, Office, etc). This partition is still quite fast to access, for this reason your programs should go here. The size of this partition depends on how the number and size of the programs you want to install. About 200GB is usually sufficient.

Fifth Partition (G: ) - Your Data goes here. I redirect the "My Documents" folder to this partition. You do this by right clicking on "My Documents", selecting properties and clicking on the "Move" button. Again, the size of this partition depends on how much data you think you have. This is the partition you should be backing up very often and everything you do not want to lose should be stored here. Accessing the information in this partition is slower than it is in C, D, E and F but most data files are small in comparison to program size, for this reason they still load very quickly.

Sixth Partition (H: ) - an "Attic" partition - Seldom accessed stuff goes here. As I said at the beginning, the end of the hard drive is noticeably slower to access than the beginning. For this reason, I normally make this partition anywhere between 25% to 30% of the total drive size (transfer rate drops noticeably after 75% of the drive). In this partition I keep files that I do not access very often but that I still want to have "online", that is without having to search for a CD or DVD.

Very Important, the sizes I gave for C, D and E are the sizes I use but, my O/S of choice is Windows XP Pro 64bit. Windows Vista and, I believe Windows 7 use quite a bit more space, therefore, if you intend to use Windows 7, I would double the size I stated for C and E (D should probably be ok as stated but, you may want to make it larger if that makes you more comfortable).

Here is the breakdown in my main installation which uses 1TB hard drives:

C - 32GB
D - 32GB
E - 32GB
F - 350GB
G - 150GB
H - 320GB

Note that it does not add up to 1TB, this is because I quadruple boot my machine, there are two Windows XP 64bit installations and 2 Windows XP 32bit installations. I did not include the Windows XP 32bit installations above to keep things simple.

Another important point, make sure that when you partition your hard drive, you only have one (1) primary partition. Avoid creating multiple primary partitions. Windows has a very unpredictable way of assigning drive letters when there are multiple primary partitions and there are multiple hard drives in the system. This problem is made worse by the fact that the Windows Setup (from the installation CD, does NOT assign drive letters the same way that a fully installed Windows does). These problems can be managed but they are very tricky and the best way is to avoid them by having one and only one primary partition in the system.

When you get your SSD, you will make your life a lot simpler, if you _disconnect_ your hard drive from the system (so it cannot be seen by Windows - alternatively, you can disable it in the BIOS but, I'd rather be safe and disconnect it) and install Windows 7 on the SSD as if it were the only installation. Once you've done that, connect your HD back and set the BIOS to boot from the SSD. If you do it this way, you will have to reinstall the programs you have in drive F. When you install your SSD and reconnect your HD, you will find that the drive letters that were originally assigned to the partitions on the hard drive have changed. You can - and should - set them back to what they were originally using the "Disk Management" console of Windows. The one partition you will not be able to assign the same drive letter will be C (since it will then be unmodifiably used by the copy of Windows on the SSD), this is not a problem and, since you should not be storing or changing anything in what used to be partition C, I would simply hide the partition by removing whatever letter Windows 7 assigned to it. Doing so will not prevent you to boot into that partition if you ever needed to (because the BIOS will still see the partition and give you the option to boot from it - if you have a BIOS that has a boot menu).

HTH.
a b G Storage
August 22, 2009 2:04:35 PM

computernewbie said:
Im not sure how i should partition my HD, my computers gonna be mostly for gaming and watching movies, im gonna use Win 7 once it comes out, and right now im gonna use windows 7 RC.

So im asking, what size should my OS partition be? For windows 7

How should i split my HD? Into how many portions?

And is there a program that helps you partition your HD's after you've already skipped the process? (At first boot up), i read that only linux does that

Also, i do plan on getting an SSD, so im probably gonna redownload windows 7 RC on the SSD, how do i go on doing this? Ill have to delete all files and such? And will i be able to use the same product key (windows 7 product key)


Windows recognizes partitions based on a design scheme, I.E, it will assign drive letters to a PHYSICAL drive before assigning a drive letter to an extended partition (AKA Logical drive). I'll explain.

Let's say you have two hard drives in your computer, a 500 GB and a 1 TB. If you install windows on the 500 gb drive and don't partition the drive, the 500 gb will be assigned as drive C:, and the 1 TB as drive D:. If you partition the 500 gb as a 100 gb and an extended partiton of 400 gb, you will get this:

(500 gb)
100 gb = drive C: (primary partition)
400 gb logical partition as drive E:

1TB = drive D: (primary partition)

Again, the system defaults to adding physical drives before logical drives. Using the same example but creating 2 500 gb partitions to the 1 TB, you would see this:

(500 gb)
100 gb = drive C: (physical drive, primary partition)
400 gb = drive E: (logical partition)

(1TB)
500 gb = drive D: (physical drive, primary partition)
500 gb = drive F: (logical partition)

The system would assign drive letters for all the logical partitions on the 1st physical drive before assigning drive letters to the second physical drive.
Related resources
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 22, 2009 5:14:54 PM

440bx said:
Here is the breakdown in my main installation which uses 1TB hard drives:

C - 32GB
D - 32GB
E - 32GB
F - 350GB
G - 150GB
H - 320GB.
To the Original Poster: this is an awful lot of effort to go to for relatively minimal performance gains, IMHO. If you're so concerned about performance that you're willing to go to this much effort, you can achieve results that are as good or better performance-wise and have a lot less hassle by buying two hard drives and putting the OS on one and everything else on the other.

Buy a large (ie, 1TB) drive with one partition for the whole drive to install the OS and your applications on if you can afford it, even if you only need, say, 50GB. If you only have 50GB worth of files on a 1TB drive and if you keep the drive defragmented so the files are at the lowest LBNs, the access arm will never have to travel more than a few percent of the distance across the disk, and this will help make random accesses perform better. Using one partition means you won't need to go through any hoops should you ever need to install applications which take you beyond 50GB. And since everything else is on a different drive, there will never be contention between the OS (which is normally the busiest drive) and anything else.
August 22, 2009 6:28:18 PM

thank you 440bx, that was very imformative, but i think i might save myself the hassle and just buy the SSD along with the HD, but i will remember the lay out you posted, i think ill get C: for Windows 7 on my SSD (40GB), D: will be on the HD and ill make E: (windows 7) back on the SSD (40GB), since SSD's dont lose performance, and ill still have a fast boot up. Although how do i set my system to boot from E:? A nd how do i make a copy of windows 7 to drive E:? Oh and what do you mean by daily installation in drive E:?
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 22, 2009 11:04:30 PM

computernewbie said:
And how do i make a copy of windows 7 to drive E:? Oh and what do you mean by daily installation in drive E:?
What he's talking about is installing two copies of windows (ie, going through the whole OS install procedure twice) in two different partitions. You'd use the first one for normal use, and only ever use the second one if the first one got corrupted for some reason. In that case you'd boot the second one in order to fix up the first one. By "Daily installation" he means "the partition you normally boot from every day" as opposed to the one you'd boot from only if the other was corrupted.

I wouldn't bother doing this on an SSD because of the more limited amount of space you'd have available. If you want to do it at all, I'd install the "boot in an emergency" copy of the OS in a partition on the hard drive - the slow hard drive performance won't matter because you won't be using it most of the time. But IMHO you don't really need an emergency boot partition because if you need to you can boot into a recovery console right from the CD. It's a matter of personal taste.
August 23, 2009 1:09:14 AM

You're welcome.

sminlal had some good comments and, for the most part, he is right on the money.

There are two things that I do not agree with him on, they are:

1. Using the recovery console is far from being as powerful as having a second Windows installation. The recovery console from the installation CD gives you some very basic abilities that are no match to the power of a complete installation. That extra power and flexibility is what you need when there is a serious problem to tackle. The recovery console is simply too minimal to be useful in many cases.

2. The point of partitioning the hard drive isn't for the "minimal" increase in performance. There are two primary reasons to partition a hard drive with the layout I gave, they are,

(a) to segregrate the files that should be backed up often (your data) from other stuff (such as Windows itself) that only needs to be backed up occasionally (once a month/week is usually fine).

(b) to maintain good performance as the drive gets filled. When you first create the installation, the layout I gave will probably not perform any better than an installation where everything is lumped in drive C but, as you fill the drive, the difference in performance becomes very noticeable.

In the single partition scheme things get quite slow, with the layout I gave you, the performance degrades only slightly. You have to experience it to notice it.

As an example, on a really old system I still have (a celeron @ 466mhz with 1GB of memory on a 440bx based motherboard :-) ) that has hundreds of thousands of files, the performance is still quite good, of course, it won't transcode a movie in any decent amount of time but, programs load quickly and the machine is very responsive. Most machines I've seen that have much more CPU power, better hard drives and more memory do not respond as quickly as that old machine. The main reason for this is the partitioning and sensible grouping of files which really doesn't take any time at all, since you do it on the fly as files get added to the system.

If you plan on getting an SSD then there is no need to partition the SSD since access across its entire "surface" is constant. You can use the SSD for Windows and installed programs and use the hard drive for data. I would still partition the hard drive but a bit differently to account for the fact that there is already a Windows installation in the SSD.

HTH.

August 23, 2009 1:19:58 AM

sminlal said:
To the Original Poster: this is an awful lot of effort to go to for relatively minimal performance gains, IMHO. If you're so concerned about performance that you're willing to go to this much effort, you can achieve results that are as good or better performance-wise and have a lot less hassle by buying two hard drives and putting the OS on one and everything else on the other.


I agree that with two hard drives, the partitioning scheme should be modified to account for the additional spindle.

As I replied to computernewbie, the "relatively minimal performance gains" (which is correct in a fresh install), become far from minimal as the hard drive gets filled.

I have about 600,000 files in my main system. If the drives were not partitioned and the files grouped logically, the system would crawl. I will concede that for an individual that does not need to manage a large number of files, the lumped C approach might be ok but, it is still a less than desirable solution.

Other than that, you got everything else right :-)

August 23, 2009 2:24:50 AM

ill take all of that into account, so just let me ask a couple of questions.

How will i go about redownloading windows 7 RC on another HD? It seems performance wont matter for my backup OS because im never using it except for emergencies.

How do you fix the first one up (C: ) by using the backup?

So, taking all that information into consideration.

C: - (SSD)Will be 40GB, and be my primary windows 7 RC installation.

D: - (HDD)Will be my more accesable files...something i dont know, cant think of anything :p 

E: - (SSD) Will be for games, this'll use the rest of the SSD since my computer will be mostly for gaming

And ill buy another HDD for a backup OS and ill update it once a month i guess.
August 23, 2009 3:24:57 AM

>> How will i go about redownloading windows 7 RC on another HD?

Disconnect all the hard drives/SSD drives from the system except, of course, the drive where you want to install Windows. This way the system appears to have only one hard/SSD drive. Once you are completely done installing Windows on the "new" drive, then you reconnect the other drives. This will cause the drive letters to change. You will need to reset the drive letters using the Disk Management console.

If you are going to have an SSD and a hard drive, I would consider the following partition scheme:

On the SSD:

Partition C - Windows and whatever programs I want to start really fast. In your case, I gather that means some games.

I would not create another partition on the SSD unless I planned on keeping data/documents on the SSD as well. In that case, I'd create a second partition (D) for the data with a size determined by how much data I anticipate having there. That way, all I have to back up often is partition D and only backup/image partition C occasionally. If you do not intend to save data/documents on the SSD then I would not create additional partitions in it. Your system will be easier to setup and manage if you have a single partition on C. I'm trying here to give you something that works well _and_ that you can understand and manage, so, I am walking a bit of a fine line.

On the hard drive

First, I would disconnect the SSD from the system.

Second, I'd partition the hard drive and install Windows on it. The partition scheme would most likely look like this

C - 32GB (maybe 64GB in the case of Windows 7) for the Windows installation. You install it using the installation CD, normally since at this time your system should only have the hard drive connected to it.

D - Programs - you need to figure to figure out what size this needs to be based on your hard drive size and how many programs you think you will be installing. On a terabyte hard drive, I use 300GB but, I use a lot of programs, if I didn't use as many as I do I would very likely adjust that down a bit.

E - Data - again the size depends on how much data you think you'll have. Most people don't have that much data. I call "data" documents you create. Movies, MP3s, etc are things I don't think of as data because I didn't spend any time creating those. I make it 150GB but you have to figure out the number that works best for you.

F - Attic - files that I want to have convenient access to but, that I don't use very often and/or do not require fast access. Good examples are movies, mp3s, iso images and a backup of the SSD drive are good candidates for what should be found in this partition.

One important "detail" missing in the above is the absence of a partition for a pagefile and "junk" (such as temporary internet files). Regardless of the amount of memory that you may have in your system, I strongly recommend that you allow for a pagefile (a lot of people think that if they have 8GB or more of memory that they don't need a pagefile - that is incorrect and only reflects their lack of understanding on how Windows manages memory). With the setup you've got, I would have the pagefile on the SSD (when booting from the SSD), its size is more difficult to give you a number. If you've got 8GB of memory then I'd set the pagefile size manually to a minimum and maximum of 1GB (that is fixed at 1GB). If you've got less memory than that, I'd probably go with 2GB.

Temporary files will by default reside on the boot drive (which will most often - almost always - be the SSD.) I would make it a point to clear/clean the temporary files often (at least weekly) because you don't want to waste ultra fast storage on junk. Yet you don't want to place the junk on the HDD because doing so would noticeably affect the performance of the system.

When you reconnect the SSD to the system and boot from it you will find that the drive letters assigned to the partitions on the hard drive have changed. The letter assignment will look something like this:

SSD - partition C will still be C (presuming you booted from the SSD)
HDD - partition C will now be D
HDD - partition D will now be E
HDD - partition E will now be F
HDD - partition F will now be G

The simplest, safest and easiest thing you can do is use the Disk Management console to remove the letter D that has been assigned to what used to be C on the HDD. Then "slide" the letters down for the remaining partitions. Graphically, what you want to do is this

SSD - partition C will still be C (presuming you booted from the SSD)
HDD - partition C will now be D - Deassign letter D from it.
HDD - partition D will now be E - Assign letter D to it. Frees letter E.
HDD - partition E will now be F - Assign letter E to it. Frees letter F.
HDD - partition F will now be G - Assign letter F to it. Frees letter G.

When you boot from the HDD you will have the same situation, as drive letters are concerned, as you initiallly did when you booted from the SSD but now with the roles reversed. You'll have:

HDD - partition C will still be C (presuming you booted from the HDD)
SDD - partition C will now be D
HDD - partition D will now be E
HDD - partition E will now be F
HDD - partition F will now be G

and you use the Disk Management console to reassign the drive letters just as you did above. You'll end up with:

HDD - partition C will still be C (presuming you booted from the SSD)
SDD - partition C will now be D - Deassign letter D from it.
HDD - partition D will now be E - Assign letter D to it. Frees letter E.
HDD - partition E will now be F - Assign letter E to it. Frees letter F.
HDD - partition F will now be G - Assign letter F to it. Frees letter G.

It sounds confusing and complicated but it really isn't. This is just a one time adjustment you have to do when you have multiple drives each with primary partitions. Print this and follow it, you'll be just fine. Once you do it, you'll understand it and see how simple it really is in spite of the way it looks.

HTH.




a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 23, 2009 4:02:16 AM

440bx said:
I have about 600,000 files in my main system. If the drives were not partitioned and the files grouped logically, the system would crawl.
You have obviously put a great deal of thought into this, good for you! But I think perhaps that recommending a six-partition OS drive to a "computer newbie" might not be the best solution for him, particularly given the fact that he never mentioned performance in his question...
August 23, 2009 4:37:38 AM

^Actually sminlal, i've read the exact same post hes made a couple months ago and wanted to see it agian :p , just my luck he was on and posted it all ;]. Its not too hard to understand, i think i should get it with some patience.
Couple more questions :p 

What is a pagefile?

And why are temp files assigned to the SSD? Im assuming because thats where my OS is contained.

Will i also have to use 2 product keys for windows 7 RC?

Oh and i dunno how having a back up can fix your primary OS

Thanks :p 
August 23, 2009 8:58:45 AM

sminlal said:
But I think perhaps that recommending a six-partition OS drive to a "computer newbie" might not be the best solution for him, particularly given the fact that he never mentioned performance in his question...


I always have a bit of an uneasy feeling when I recommend partitioning the drive to anyone that is not very knowledgeable about computers. Your point here is well taken.

In spite of that, I've delivered computers with their drives partitioned as I originally mentioned to people that were truly clueless (try accountants and lawyers for instance - they can be a "challenge" as some say), yet, with some training and a few explanations, they do get it. After a while (say a year), they realize that their computers are still almost as fast as they were the day they got it and, then they see how much of a difference it makes.

Given all the problems that having a single C partition creates, I cannot in good conscience recommend anything else, even to the most clueless. To those, I tell them that their computer is a little bit like a car, they need to learn the basics so they don't drive it into a ditch. Some put in the effort and are rewarded, those that don't, I walk away with a clean conscience.


August 23, 2009 9:27:56 AM

computernewbie said:
^Actually sminlal, i've read the exact same post hes made a couple months ago and wanted to see it agian :p , just my luck he was on and posted it all ;]. Its not too hard to understand, i think i should get it with some patience.
Couple more questions :p 

What is a pagefile?

And why are temp files assigned to the SSD? Im assuming because thats where my OS is contained.

Will i also have to use 2 product keys for windows 7 RC?

Oh and i dunno how having a back up can fix your primary OS

Thanks :p 


Windows creates a large file - by default in your boot drive - that it uses as "elbow room" when it needs to shuffle the contents of memory in your machine. For instance, say that you have 1GB of physical memory (that is one stick of DDR2 of 1GB), you start a whole bunch of programs and, for the sake of this example, the sum of the memory used by all of those programs exceeds the 1GB of memory you have. What Windows does is that it "kicks out"/saves portions of the programs that have already been loaded into the pagefile thereby freeing the memory that they were using and, enabling it to load yet another program. Without the pagefile, Windows would have to tell you that there is not enough memory to start the program.

As far as the temp files, your guess is correct. By default, all of the temporary files that Windows generates reside in the boot partition.

You will not have to use two product keys to install Windows twice on the same machine. MS actually allows you to install Windows as many times as you want on a single machine.

My case is a bit extreme but, I'll use it as an example, I've got 6 hard drives, they are organized as 3 RAID 1 for a total of 3 terabytes. Windows is installed in 10 partitions (unless you are doing some of the unusual things I am doing, there is little reason for anyone to have that many installations). In addition to that, I've got about 27 virtual machines and they each have the same copy of Windows installed. Since I also use this machine for testing hardware, I often run into the message, "there have been significant changes to the hardware blah blah blah" from Windows, letting me know that I have 3 days to activate. Removing the piece of hardware I was testing and replacing the original part does not appease Windows, for this reason, I often have to call MS to activate several of my 10 installations and sometimes all 10 of them. I've had to explain what I'm doing but, once I've satisfied them that all 10 copies are on the same machine, they give me the activation codes. After I call, I've noticed that I can activate 1 additional time without calling them - that is using the internet - but after that activation, the next activation I'll have to do over the phone and explain again. I believe they keep record of what I've told them because now I can make the story a lot shorter, I think that they simply check that what I am telling them matches what I've told them the previous times.

I also have 2 removable bays which I use often, the hard drives I stick in there, of course, have their own Windows installation as well :-) almost every time I stick a drive in there, I have to reactivate the Windows installation it contains. I have 3 hard drives that use in the removable bays and they each have 2 Windows installations.

Having a second installation is incredibly useful in many cases. Here is a trivial example that you'll see the benefit immediately. Say that you get a nasty virus in your everyday installation which you do not seem able to remove. The antivirus will often tell you the name of the file that is infected. If you don't have another installation removing that file could be cumbersome, if you have a second installation, you simply boot into the other installation and from there get rid of the infected file. You could also use the second installation (presumably clean) to scan your everyday installation for viruses.

Another more "esoteric" example is when something got messed up in the registry of your main installation - this is not as uncommon as you'd hope - with a secondary installation you can load the registry of the everyday installation into another registry branch in regedit and do a little surgery to repair the registry.

There you have it, two examples, the first one is something that a newbie can do. The second one is for someone technically knowledgeable. I always include two Windows installations in the computers I deliver to my clients. I mention to my clients that this second installation is for me to repair problems that may occur in the installation they normally use. I also mention the virus example I just gave you, they usually see the usefulness instantly and realize that a technician could use it for a lot more than that.

HTH.
a c 209 $ Windows 7
a c 415 G Storage
August 23, 2009 2:44:34 PM

computernewbie said:
^Actually sminlal, i've read the exact same post hes made a couple months ago and wanted to see it agian :p , just my luck he was on and posted it all ;]. Its not too hard to understand, i think i should get it with some patience.
Ah, well I clearly misread the situation. Have fun with your new system!
August 23, 2009 5:35:50 PM

yeah i already have windows 7 burned to a disk

damn 440bx...you have an extream system o.o, what do you need so many partitions for?
August 23, 2009 6:09:41 PM

computernewbie said:
yeah i already have windows 7 burned to a disk

damn 440bx...you have an extream system o.o, what do you need so many partitions for?


I develop software and design application specific computers for small businesses. Because of this, I need various development environments for the software and use other partitions when I am testing hardware (I wouldn't want to mess up the partitions I use for software to get messed up because of some piece of hardware I'm testing.

If something goes wrong when I am testing hardware, I simply switch to a different installation and repair the one that got messed up when I have some spare time. That is also a reason why I have so many installations, when I'm busy, I cannot afford any downtime.


August 23, 2009 10:45:29 PM

I see, but you dident explain how having a second installation will fix the first one!! I have no clue what to do if my primary boot up installation has malware. Anyway, wouldent it be easier to use E: so you dodge malware and viruses and such anyway? By using E: i mean moving windows from C: to E:
August 23, 2009 11:34:49 PM

That's a good thought, but unfortunately, it wouldn't make a difference. I assume you suggested using E: because a virus would most likely look for C:\Windows and if it didn't find anything, it'd just give up. That's not how it works. I don't know a lot about viruses, but it can easily find your active Windows folder. For example, if you did have it on E:, you could go to Start Menu > Run > and type in %windir% > that alone will open whatever folder Windows is located in, regardless of which drive it's on.

If you have two installations of Windows, you can boot into the second one and scan for viruses on the first one and fix it automatically, or if you're a pro like 440bx, you could make the adjustments manually. The first one could be corrupt because of the virus and prevent you from booting or it could be really slow. Plus, some system files that are infected have to be closed to be fixed.
August 24, 2009 2:43:05 AM

computernewbie said:
I see, but you dident explain how having a second installation will fix the first one!! I have no clue what to do if my primary boot up installation has malware. Anyway, wouldent it be easier to use E: so you dodge malware and viruses and such anyway? By using E: i mean moving windows from C: to E:


Read toshi9i's reply, he got it right.
August 24, 2009 2:45:17 AM

thanks everyone ;] How can i look at my previous past posts so i can look at this post after a while
August 24, 2009 2:55:18 AM

computernewbie said:
thanks everyone ;] How can i look at my previous past posts so i can look at this post after a while


I'll be interested in the answer too.

There used to be a search facility for the forums that allowed you to search by author among other criteria. It seems to be gone now. I've been looking everywhere for a way to search specific forums for specific topics and specific authors to no avail.
August 24, 2009 2:57:41 AM

Click on your username on the left where you posted a message > it'll take you to your profile > in the bottom left of your profile, click on: Access to the whole list of his/her messages

Note: I guess clicking on "See My Threads" does the samething. You can find it at the top with the blue flag.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum1.php?config=tom...
August 24, 2009 4:09:22 AM

yup...
August 24, 2009 4:13:38 AM

tosh9i said:
Click on your username on the left where you posted a message > it'll take you to your profile > in the bottom left of your profile, click on: Access to the whole list of his/her messages

Note: I guess clicking on "See My Threads" does the samething. You can find it at the top with the blue flag.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum1.php?config=tom...


Thanks! That is very helpful.
August 24, 2009 7:08:01 AM

lol i bet so many people were confused when that search went away, thx tosh!
a b $ Windows 7
August 24, 2009 2:43:31 PM

Computernewbie,

Your partition size will depend on the capacity of your hard drive. 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. You may want to check around there for what other users did it partitioning and dual booting Windows 7 and another OS.

Jessica
Microsoft Windows Client Team


December 1, 2009 10:46:11 PM

Regarding the use of a 2nd OS installation only for the scenario of disaster recovery, I do not think that is a wise usage of your disk space.

I'd just recommend having a BartPE CDROM handy in order to boot up and diagnose / fix your system when you need to. A virus cannot possibly affect your BartPE CDROM because it will be #1 Offline and inaccessible to a virus and #2 will be Read-Only because it is located on a CDROM.

A virus scanner can be added to the BartPE CDROM but just like with a secondary OS, the utilities and data will become old over time if not updated. So the benefit of a secondary OS on the HD vs a BartPE on CDROM is nullified. The best scenario would be the ability to create an updated BartPE somewhere other than your potentially dead PC if the occasion calls for it.

LHammonds
May 4, 2010 4:01:19 AM

This is in reference to 440bx. I tried to reply to your reply but couldn't and I've been trying to figure out this whole process for the longest time.
I have a very detailed question about partitioning HDD. Where do I begin and how can I post my very long question? Thanks so much.
Your post really helped me the most after sifting through articles for literally about 20 hours. Foolish I know but I need your help as you sound like you know what you're doing.
Thanks
myfreedom
!