I am building a new PC for my photo editing. I have included an 128GB SSD to run the OS and the major programs (Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop and browsers). The SSD will also be the scratch disk for Lightroom and photoshop.
Would it be best to partition the SSD during windows install so that one partition is nothing but the OS and the 2nd partition will house the programs and scratch disk?
Would this save me from having to re-install all my programs should Windows have to be repaired or reinstalled?
No do not partition it. You will run out of space very quickly trust me. If you have to reinstall windows you will have to reinstall the applications even if they are on another partition. Some programs get unhappy when not installed on the C:\ drive anyway. Do not use your SSD as a scratch disk. They dont enjoy massive writes and this can cause issues for the drive. Get a large drive say 1 TB and use that instead. You will need the space for video editing. especially working in HD.
The SSD is not for the data. I have two 1TB 7200 drives for that (in Raid 1)
The scratch disk should be on a different drive than the data is stored on for best performance (per Adobe).
Anyway, I decided not to partition the drive.
The SSD shuts down windows crazy fast. But there is obviously an issue of some sort as it is taking about 90 seconds to load windows (stalls on the "starting windows" screen).
I manually updated my motherboard drivers and utilities and wonder if that had anything to do with it.
I'll start a new topic in the appropriate subforum for that, though.
In terms of a scratch disk partition, whilst I have not tried a partitioned SSD I would always advise a separate disk or partition of a separate disk for your scratch disk. Reason being that you also have a bunch of applications and processing running off your main disk (partitioned or not) all wrestling for access and you wouldn't receive the same speed benefits as you would using a separate disk.
This however does not mean that you wouldn't see an increase in performance using half your SSD as a scratch disk it just wouldn't be as much of an increase if using an independent drive of similar speed.
In answer to your above, firstly yes if you decide to, do it during windows install and two if you need to repair it no, if you need to fresh install yes you will loose anything on that disk / partition. If you have your programs on another partition they should be retained (can someone confirm this? I haven't done this personally with Windows 7).
The programs would be retained on the same partition also in the event of a successful repair. However it is not advised to put programs on another petition. Some programs when updating look for the program on a predetermined path for instance. I would also question the need for a scratch drive. I have two Velicoraptors in RAID 0 and the average read write rates, the various editing software I have used puts out is often 20 MB Read 10 MB Write a second. I have even tested out having a scratch disk on a 10 GB RAM drive and it made no difference. Scratch Disks are a concept from the days when machines were much slower and wrote to the swap file all the time. With faster CPU's and much larger RAM configurations you will find a scratch disk quite irrelevant.