I just got a 2 TB (1.81 TB), USB 3 drive & would like some suggestions for partitioning it. I want space for photos, some videos, profiles etc. I will also be using it for storing an image of my system drive & regular backups. Any help choosing a logical process for allocating space to different partitions.
I personally don't partition data drives. Any organization you want to do in terms of separating different types of files (photos, videos, etc.) can be done with folders just as easily as with partitions, and with folders you don't have to worry about one folder "filling up" while others still have plenty of space available (which is a concern with partitions).
In your situation the only reason I might partition the disk is if the tool you're using for making the image of your system drive does something weird with the folders. The "System Image" option of the built-in backup utility in Windows 7 falls into this category for me - it uses protected folders and shadow copies for multiple versions and my 'druthers would be to keep all that junk in its own partition and away from my data files.
I agree- for an external drive it is hard to do something with partitions that you couldn't do as well with folders. For instance if you wanted an E: drive for photos, F: drive for videos, etc., you could also have E:\photos and E:\videos.
For an internal drive I approach it differently. Of course there are lots of ways to do it, and everybody could have their own "best" system. I have C: for system, OS and installed programs. I can do an image backup whenever something significant changes. I put my data on D:, then I can back it up more frequently. I have a small partition called E: that I use for temporary stuff. I can copy a folder to there, add/delete files, then burn it to a CD for a family member. Since E: is for temporary use I never bother to back it up.
I ONLY ever partition a hard drive if it's the MAIN drive that Windows is on. This is because I make backup IMAGES of the Windows partition but may not want a lot of the downloaded files. That's no longer an issue because I know have a 120GB SSD just for Windows.
So for most people I don't recommend you partition the 2TB drive. As mentioned, you can just add folders.
Here's a common example of a computer setup:
1) Main drive:
- 500GB, partitioned into two EQUAL parts (second partition used for important files, pictures whatever)
2) Secondary drive (one partition):
- a FOLDER dedicated to MIRRORING critical data on the Main drive's second partition (automatically mirrored using software like Syncback free version by 2brightsparks)
- IMAGE folder for backups of the Windows partition (to RESTORE in case of drive physical failure, or software corruption like a virus)
- FOLDER's for whatever else (Videos, etc)
*I use a 120GB SSD for Windows so space is limited. I have a lot of games (mostly STEAM). I did actually partition this drive at one point and then resized the partition a year later. The first partition has just my games. Why did I partition? I didn't want to accidentally delete a game folder or even see them. I just wanted to see the folders I use regularly (Downloads, Multimedia, and Backups).
My GAMES partition looks like this:
I just made these folders, then when I installed Steam I pointed it at that folder (Steam automatically handles installs and updates after that). For other non-Steam games I point to the Games folder. I launch those games from the normal Windows "Games" folder.