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Formating new HDD before installing WinXP on new build?

I will be building my new comp tomorrow (all new parts, including HDD). Should I do a complete format of my Caviar Black when installing WinXP 32bit (as I have heard this will take several hours)? I will be upgrading to 64 bit Win7 when it ships to me, and in the mean time I might want to load up the RC on a separate partition (dual boot).

Any suggestions on partitioning the 640 GB HDD? System will be used for Office, music/videos, gaming, and internet (does that even need to be mentioned......)
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  1. Yes, you'll want to do the full format when installing windows. Depending on your hardware, it can take some time, but it shouldn't take a couple hours.

    If you plan on doing a dual boot, you may want to leave 20-30GB at least for that partition.
  2. As long as you know that you don't have errors on the disk, a quick format is sufficient. The only thing the long format does differently is that it actually checks each sector on the hard disk to make sure it is functioning and if not it flags that sector for non-use. A quick format just clears the partition table making the drive empty, but it won't catch bad sectors on the drive. a 640GB will take a number of hours to format the long way, so unless you want to let it go overnight I suggest the quickformat, and run check disk overnight sometime when you have time as that should do the same thing as the long format.
  3. Best answer
    It's generally a good idea to downsize C: to 20-30 GB,
    as the comment above wisely suggests: this makes
    creation and management of drive images much easier,
    particularly when you are required to restore a drive image.

    Then, the long format in Windows Setup won't take all night,
    and it will check each sector in that C: partition, so that
    bad sectors can be flagged and known to the OS.

    Later, after the OS is installed AOK, you can partition
    and format the remainder of that HDD e.g. D: or E: etc.
    as a data partition. With this setup, you won't lose data
    stored on that data partition if/when you must restore
    a drive image file and consequently overwrite C: completely.


    MRFS
  4. HVDynamo said:
    As long as you know that you don't have errors on the disk, a quick format is sufficient. The only thing the long format does differently is that it actually checks each sector on the hard disk to make sure it is functioning and if not it flags that sector for non-use. A quick format just clears the partition table making the drive empty, but it won't catch bad sectors on the drive. a 640GB will take a number of hours to format the long way, so unless you want to let it go overnight I suggest the quickformat, and run check disk overnight sometime when you have time as that should do the same thing as the long format.


    Ya, with specs like those ^^, the format may take overnight. As I said, depending on your hardware, it shouldn't take a couple hours to run the full format.
  5. So, about a 40gb partition ("C:") for WinXP (eventually Win7) with a long format would be the best choice for getting started with the new computer? Then I could do long formats on the other partitions (data partitions, i.e. music, downloads, games, etc...) after I get the OS up and running?

    Is there any advantage/disadvantage to having multiple (3) partitions on one physical drive? First for OS, the other two for data storage. OR would it be better to just have one for OS and one for storage (lets forget about the backing up/imaging of the partitions as a factor at this point).
  6. I'm not aware of any disadvantage to having multiple partitions. It could be a pain if you run out of space in a partition, but partition magic can fix that.

    40GB is a good amount of space. I guess it all depends on what you plan on storing in that partition.
  7. 40gb would just be for windows install. I'm guessing that is a bit too much (any suggestions???). I have always been the "install it on the C drive (i.e. C:\program files\......\" guy, but I'm trying to change that and just have Windows (and its numerous/continuous updates) on the C, with the "Program Files" being on a separate partition (D), along with other data storage. (basically what MRFS suggested above)


    Does that sound like a good/efficient way of laying out my hdd partitions? I'm assuming that giving Windows its own partition will help the drive stay more organized (i.e. less fragmented) allowing for slightly better access/response time (in a subjective, hands-on way).

    Or am I missing the point here.....
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