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Why create a simple volume on a hard drive

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August 23, 2011 11:19:13 PM

I just purchased my first new computer in over 12 years. I've got 1-TB of harddrive space and 6 GB of ram. My old system died (all was backed-up) and my wife made me purchase a new system. I admit that I'm having a blast and should have got a new one years ago - but my old one did work so why?

Anyway, why would I want to create a simple volume on my harddrive? It seems like it will make the computer "think" that there are more than 1 harddrive. What good does that do? I have more than enough space on my C drive alone.

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a b G Storage
August 24, 2011 12:46:51 AM

You see, this has been a move many users applied in order to save their data. Let me explain in detail.

5-10 years ago, GB of storage was very expensive and continuous back-up was rarely done. Altough it has dramatically improved, Windows has always been a buggy OS. And boot up crashes werent unusuall due to registry malfuctioning. In mos scenarios, users had to wipe the drive (or volume) and make a clean install in order to repair the PC. In a single volume computer, the user would lose all its data, wich probably wasnt backed up.

Creating 2 volumes adresses this particular problem. A user could wipe the data on volume C and make a clean install, while the data would be secure on a second volume, wich would not be touched by the OS during installation. After once again installed, Windows couls acess the second volume, and users would gain acess to their data again.

nowadays, something similar is done, by installing the OS on a SSD and data on HDDs. however this is done due to the fact that SSD prices are still expensive, otherwise, it would be entirely SSD systems.
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a c 415 G Storage
August 24, 2011 1:51:11 AM

The OS itself generally needs to be backed up using an "image" backup which preserves not only the OS files but also metadata such as the boot record, etc. which is required to get the OS up and running. Image backups make it very simple to restore the OS, but they are monolithic and don't allow restore of individual files.

Your data files, on the other hand, are typically best backed up using a "file" backup that lets you restore individual files if necessary.

So the biggest incentive to use separate partitions for OS and data is so that your "Image" backups don't end up including all your data files and your file backups don't end up including the OS files. This lets you do things like "incremental" file backups so that you can keep your backups up-to-date without having to completely back up everything on the entire disk.

As leandrodafontoura mentioned, it also allows you to do things such as upgrade or replace the operating system without affecting your data files.
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August 24, 2011 12:24:06 PM

Thank you - I think I understand.

In case of a problem with the OS on drive C, with a simple volume I could reinstall the OS without losing my data files on (simple volume drive F or G).

So I should install my programs on drive C because I can always reinstall those but direct my file storage to be on my simple volume drive F or G?

Thanks again,

Old Country Boy
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a b G Storage
August 24, 2011 3:11:36 PM

As good practice you should do monthly back ups on your system to establish restore points in case of failure. I back up my boot disk once a month and my data quarter or semi annually to reduce the risk of data loss.
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