I'm going to be running win2k on a 40gb HD. What would be the best way to partition this drive for optimal performance? I've heard it is a good idea to put a swap file in its own partition, and have a second swap on the partition with the OS. Should I have the OS, programs, and data on their own partitions?
I did some searches regarding this stuff, but I can't seem to find something that is both a) relevant and b) understandable. I'm new at this stuff.
That much partitioning is useless. Putting the pagefile on a different partition of the same drive will not help performance. Putting it on a different drive altogether will help. And I can see no compelling reason to put the OS on it's own partition either for a desktop system. Unless you are just really that compulsively organized.
So... yeah, just keep it one partition.
I used to believe that having the pagefile seperate was an advantage and used to run all sorts of tests to try to prove it to myself. Truth is, you actually need a very particular setup to allow this theoretical advantage to show up, and the reason is this.
If you put the pagefile.sys on a seperate partition of your physical windows hard drive, then your reading head in the hard drive is constantly jumping around from the windows bit to the pagefile bit and back again, only actually READING x percent and moving x percent. OK, you say to yourself, i'll put the pagefile on a seperate physical drive as i have two of them and they are the same speed... the problem is they probably are on the same IDE channel though arnt they, so you are still limited but the channel bandwidth even though the drive heads are now free'd up.
What of course you need is a pagefile on a seperate drive AND a seperate IDE channel, and of course not having either of your hard drives sharing IDE channels with anything else, SO... you then need another IDE channel for CD drives etc., and most people only have two.
But if you want a (slight) improvement in speed, then the above is the way to do it. It's gonna cost you though, so probably best to do what i did and buy a better hard drive (i got the Western Digital 7200 with 8MB cache).
Hope that helps.
PS i am not a computer technician, only quite well read, so correct me on the above if you know better...
In answer to the other part of your question, i do think it's always a good idea to have a seperate data partition (or two, depending on what your data is), because the windows partition will get read and written to about a million times a second (ok, i exagerate) and get defragmented very quickly simply but virtue of what it does. If you have an 80 Gig drive, you dont want to be defragmenting all 80 Gig twice a week. I set my windows partition to 14 Gig (to allow for various programs to be installed) for just this purpose.
Although you do have finite data bandwidth, the chances of maxing it out, except at extreme times, is slim. And CDROM drives? Forget it, just being on the bus does not use bandwidth, you have to be reading data off that drive for it to be taking up bandwidth space. So unless you're ripping MP3's day in and day out the cdrom makes nil difference to the bus and will not need to be isolated.
Really, the only time a pair of drives will start to max out bandwidth on their bus is in extreme read/write conditions, as in a busy server. Or if you are degragging both at the same time or something. (which actually can't be done anyway)
So yes, having the pagefile on a separate drive on a separate bus will make the slightest diference over both on the same bus sometimes. But not enough that anyone could actually be able to tell.
Honestly, you can't even really "feel" the difference after putting the pagefile on it's own drive either. At least I can't, not on today's Ghz systems.
The real trick is to just get a ton of RAM so that the pagefile is rarely used. Also tell windows to not page it's executive files (via a registry setting).
Yeah, i'd agree with that, but just wanted to say that i didnt mean that having a CD ROM or whatever on the same IDE would use bandwidth, i simply meant that you wouldnt want to do it as AT BEST your ATA 100 drive would have to work at ATA 33 speed, one of my (still quite new) CD RW drives works in PIO (that right?). So in that sense, you wouldnt put a CD/DVD ROM/RW on the same cable as a hard drive.