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Multi-boot O/S's or?

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January 1, 2010 7:13:35 AM

Happy New Year!

I got my wife a new PC for Christmas this year - other than my notebook PC, it's the first time I've every bought a pre-built PC.

Here's the deal. It came with Vista 64-bit Home Premium installed, with a free upgrade to Windows 7 (should be receiving it in the next week). Unfortunately, my wife isn't all that tech savy and is really comfortable with Windows XP Pro (SP3).

The PC (Lenovo K230 Series) has a 640 GB hard drive with the O/S on one great big partition. I don't set my computers up like that. I like the O/S to be on a smaller partition and data (at least) on the really large partition(s). This improves the efficiency of the O/S considerably.

I've made an image of the PC's big partition before installing any major programs. This way I know I have a configuration that has properly operating drivers for the generous hardware the PC has installed (like HDTV tuner, Wireless NIC, Multimedia reader, DVD burner, etc.).

What I'd like to get advice on is whether or not I should install any other O/S's on it or not - or to just wait till Windows 7 comes before setting it up at all.

I'm thinking about using the Vista CD to repartition the drive for both Vista and Windows 7. Should I forego installing WinXP altogether? Or should I install WinXP (using it to repartition the drive) and Windows 7 when it arrives, leaving Vista for the dustbin where I've preferred to keep it for all our other PCs?

What do you think I should do for her PC?

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January 1, 2010 7:30:44 AM

My personal recommendation is to do whatever she wants, it's her computer. I mess with my wifes computer alot and it frustrates her.

But I do want to point out that putting the OS on a seperate partition from data (on the same physical hard drive) makes no performance difference whatsoever because your using the exact same spindles.

If you had a seperate physical hard drive for data on the other hand, then you would notice a difference because you are using different physical spindles.
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January 1, 2010 9:13:51 AM

Tests that show no performance difference are flawed, as when it comes to file fragmentation and disc access optimizations, I much prefer the performance I've gotten on computers that had the OS physically separated from the files that change size and content on a more regular basis. To each their own I guess, but having built Microsoft-based PCs since 1984 I am very comfortable saying there's a performance difference that becomes progressively more apparent the longer an OS goes without a fresh install.

Being that it's her computer, I'm guessing she'd prefer it to only have one OS on it. With hardware combinations and driver issues, I know it can be a bit of a dice roll to get everything working together 100%. I was just wondering if anyone thought there'd be value in maintaining a partition with the Vista installation that shipped with the unit.

Thanks.
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January 1, 2010 3:01:34 PM

tluxon said:
Tests that show no performance difference are flawed, as when it comes to file fragmentation and disc access optimizations


It's the testing methodology that's flawed. If you set up the OS on C:\ for example from 0-64 GB mark and page / temp files on D:\ 64 GB - 80 GB mark, then you install a game on E:\ at 80 GB +, you will see very little performance differences in testing as compared to a single partition. Testers posting their results are working on a "Day 1" premise.

Problem is we use our computers after Day 1 and after various SP's, program installations and removals, data generation and deletion our OS files are all over the place, our page file is fragmented, temp files that our programs and games create are all over the driver forcing head travel all over the place. Disk defragmentation programs claim to fix this but often make it worse. The most used file on any PX with backup software is the backup program and the files it creates....the program "logic" therefore wants to place these huge backup files at the front (fastest) part of the disk. Since these files are created "in the background" or while you're asleep, who much cares about how fast the backup program runs.

Not to mention the fact that a huge MFT for a 2 TB drive takes a lot longer to search than that for a smaller partition. organizing the files based upon your actual usage and relative importance means for example that YOU decide what needs to be on the fastest outer edge of the disk and what belongs at the inner edge where it's half as fast.
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January 3, 2010 3:26:56 AM

Okay, the first thing I'd like to do is use Vista's built-in utility to "shrink" the volume to create an additional partition in the recovered space. If it's not too difficult, I'm thinking I'd like to restore the current image to the new smaller partition and boot to that - permitting me to repartition the large partition into at least two partitions.

I've used Image for Windows to back up the big partition's image, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to permit me to restore the image to a smaller partition than the original source.

Anybody know how to do this?
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January 4, 2010 3:28:15 PM

My terminology was probably wrong. I guess it's not so much the "image" I want to restore to a smaller partition as it is just wanting to "move" the "as-shipped" Vista installation to a smaller partition.

Is that possible?
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