On a new Dell Studio xps with a 1 TB hard drive, is it feasable to partition the hard drive as follows: C for OS only, D for programs only, and E for all data. If so, how much room should be allocated to the OS partition?
Welcome to the forums! A word of advice, always be prepared that some feedback will sort of deviate from your original question. Saint19 is an example of that - while he/she means well (and is giving you relatively decent advice), it just means more options and sort of contradicts the purpose of your post. So, that said, keep an open mind, but don't get discouraged with your own original plan(s).
Frankly, I agree with treefrog07 - your programs should be installed in the system partition - if you think about this, it actually makes sense. I have that set-up, though I have a drive dedicated just to the system files which includes the OS and programs. In the past, though, I had a 100GB partition for the OS and the programs, and another partition for everything else (data files). I never came close to getting it filled up.
As for the back-up issue, well, a real back-up is never offset to the original physical drive, otherwise it's just a false back-up. If you want a back-up, get another drive, install sync toy (microsoft, free, and it's spectacularly easy to use) and back up once a week. If your system hard drive goes kaput, you'll have a real backup.
I truly appreciate the replies that have come in, and I'll keep checking. As you can tell, I'm new to the attempts to create redundancy. On my current machine, I've everything on one drive (unpartitioned), and documents are being backed up to an external hard drive.
Hey! Keep up with your back-up routine (i.e. backing up to an external drive), as for setting up partitions, it's easy to over do it but I think sometimes people do it just because they can, not because it's of real benefit. Keeping it simple is really the best policy when setting up partitions. The craziest thing though I know of (and so many people do this) is to set up a partition on a drive for back-up. I don't even approve of that for basic back-ups. If you're concerned enough to need or want back-ups of whatever, then clearly you have identified a need to invest in an external drive. With backing up, always imagine the closest thing to the worst case scenario (your physical drive dies vs. a bad partition). Anyways, I digress... Ciao!