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HDD partitioning and performance

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September 28, 2009 7:08:43 PM

Hello,

Can anyone please tell me whether if multiple partitioned HDD performs better than the one with single partition?
For instance I have 1 TB HDD which I want to partition. I am ok with 200GB partition for system dusk, but is it a good idea to partition that HDD into 1,2 or even more smaller parts?
September 28, 2009 8:25:13 PM

Putting the OS on a small volume at the beginning of the disk improves operation.

- All OS files stay grouped, thus reducing the disk's head move time
[OK, the defrag should do it by itself, but third-party defrag often don't]
- If you have to erase the OS, much installed software (= the free software) will be usable as soon as you reinstall the OS
- With Fat32 (which is not a brilliant idea anyway) smaller volumes operate faster

I use quite small OS volumes, but a too small one leads to big worries... Keep room for the paging file in its initial size, as Win recreates it there each time something goes wrong. Also remember that some applications, like Google Earth, install in C:\Users without an option. DotNet, Internet Explorer temporary or huge nVidia drivers are other examples.

With W95b, I even use a 500MB Fat16. But Xp should have >6GB, depending on the paging file.

The paging file doesn't improve on a different volume. Only on a different disk that doesn't share a P-Ata port. So on a single disk, keep the paging file near the OS and applications.

On the other hand, if the computer is used by inexperienced people who install applications, then one single volume is safer. Whatever you may redefine, you invariably find applications and documents in the OS volume, which soon ceases to work.

Also remember that repairing Windows (don't know others) with the installation Cd redefines "Program Files" and "Documents and Settings" to their default values.

I also separate applications from documents. Useful if you want to secure only documents. If you download many programmes, a distinct volume for their installers is nice as well.
October 1, 2009 11:18:10 PM

Thanks.

I was thinking about 100 GB volume for OS and programs and two more volumes for video editing files and archive files.
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a c 415 G Storage
October 2, 2009 6:29:18 AM

When you're talking about performance, there's a trade-off to partitioning. Partitioning is a win-win if you create a small partition for the OS and put NOTHING ELSE on the drive. This is because it keeps the files near the outer edge of the disk where the transfer rates are the highest, and because it keeps the heads from having to move very far to find files.

BUT, if you put an OS partition AND a data partition on the same disk, there's a risk of slowing things down if you do a lot of accesses to the data partition. This is because the heads will have to move farther when switching between files in the OS and data partitions than if all the files were in the same partition. The farther the heads move, the slower things go.
October 7, 2009 8:31:51 PM

Then I will put all my programs and SWAP file into OS partition. That way all frequently used files will be on one partition and archives will be on the other one.
a c 415 G Storage
October 8, 2009 5:31:01 AM

Well, you don't want ALL your frequently-used files on the same disk if you can help it, because then the disk will be very busy and may not be able to keep up. Putting the OS on one physical disk and the pagefile and data files on a second physical disk is a fairly common compromise that seems to work well for a lot of people.
October 9, 2009 10:09:14 PM

Right. But what makes the situation easier is that OS and data access aren't heavily interleaved.

Paging file it getting less demanding for many computer now who run with a 32b OS and have 4GB of Ram, in which case the paging file is used very little if not completely turned off.
a c 415 G Storage
October 10, 2009 8:03:18 AM

Pointertovoid said:
Paging file it getting less demanding for many computer now who run with a 32b OS and have 4GB of Ram, in which case the paging file is used very little if not completely turned off.
You should be aware that, although a 32-bit operating system can only access 4GB of physical memory, it can still manage more than 4GB of virtual memory. It's quite possible for a 32-bit operating system to be running (as an example) three programs, each of which is using 2GB of virtual address space. Obviously the OS and the three programs won't all fit into physical memory, so the page file WILL be needed.

It's true that in a lot of 4GB systems the pagefile doesn't get used much because people don't run programs large enough to need it. But it's a mistake to say that the pagefile isn't needed with 4GB of memory. As with ANY virtual memory system, the pagefile is needed any time you try to use more virtual memory than is available as physical RAM.
!