partition planning - best strategy

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by mikeo1313, Nov 1, 2007.

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  1. mikeo1313

    mikeo1313 Registered Member

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    Can you really separate all user & app data from the OS with Windows XP and/or Vista??

    I tried looking for answers and methods on the web and it seems that its either very difficult or nearly impossible, but I'm not 100% sure.

    I did read somewhere that linux users have no prob with this, but, I use XP.

    I DO NOT speak of moving the location of simply your "my documents" folder to another location, I mean all the things that make your applications run properly.. {I assume thats just registry keys & proper file references/locations?}.. I mean a hypothetical complete separation of OS from anything else on any partition {besides very frequently accessed programs.

    Supposedly, besides data in the registry, for Windows xp its the data that resides in the c:\documents & settings\username folder. Supposedly for Vista its c:\documents {but I'm not sure, correct me}

    Here are some of the suggestions I found but I wonder which of the following is the best method, what works? how has anyone been able to pull it off?:



    1. REGISTRY HACK

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList\ProfilesDirectory
    If you have another partition, say drive "D", change it to: D:\Documents and Settings Be certain to copy the "All Users" and "Default User" folder to the new folder. From that point forward all *new* user account profiles will be placed in the new location. Existing user profiles will remain in the previous location. If you want to change existing profiles expand the aforementioned key, select the user (represented as a SSID), and modify the following key: ProfileImagePath Be certain to copy the old profile to the new location if you want to retain the users information. Otherwise Windows will create a new folder.


    2. NTFS MOUNTED DRIVES / symlinks / microsoft junction
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;307889&sd=tech#appliesto
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/FileAndDisk/Junction.mspx


    3. Microsoft actually has a free tool called Tweak UI:


    Don't know exactly if it handles program data but supposedly does handle relocating "My Documents".

    4. misc comments from some strangers that I didn't know what to make of their concepts completely, kinda unclear:

    a. "Having the entire Documents and Settings folder on a separate partition would automatically fix your registry issues as well: all user-specific registry settings (HKEY_CURRENT_USER and descendants) are stored in NTUSER.DAT which is in your user profile folder (C:\Documents and Settings\username). As for system-wide program settings in the registry--that's something that ISVs will need to determine on a case-by-case basis:"

    b. "Most user data will reside in the My Documents folder. If you're using Roaming Profiles in a Win2K+ domain you might as well use Folder Redirection to redirect My Documents to a networked drive. That will make Roaming Profiles much more painless. You can also redirect the Application Data folder but I've found too many apps (even recent ones) that get confused by this. And of course this discussion is entirely moot for 99.999% of home users."




    ========Besides that:

    Some side issues I'd also like people to comment on to make things in regards to this thread clearer:

    1. Though total OS & program data separation has its perks like certain performance and recovery convinience gains....
    If I'm not mistaken there are programs that either

    a. won't allow you to install on anything other then the OS partition.
    {there are a few of these, can't remember any at this moment}

    AND/or

    b. programs that are frequently accessed and should be intentionally installed on OS partition.
    {Comment please?? I assume this would definitly mean AV, AS & FW software atleast, but, should the big heavy apps that you use quite often but not as frequently as the former be placed with the OS also?? Whats a good metric for this determination??}


    Thanks!
     
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    If you want to move the entire folder "Documents and Settings", you better try nLite (freeware) first, rather than changing the registry, which is alot of work. I tried it once with nLite as a short experiment and it looked very promising.

    Separating OS from Applications (Program Files) ? I never saw any benefit of doing this.
    Windows is already an OS with alot of integrated Applications. How are you going to move those to another partition ? Can Windows Update handle such a separation ?
    I decided not to do this and installed all my applications (MS + 3th party) in the partition of Windows.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  3. appster

    appster Registered Member

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    I agree with the points Peter makes and would add that while I have come across a few hacking schemes to place apps on a partition other than the system partition, the major benefit (not having to reinstall apps if and when reinstalling the OS) would be offset by a 'performance hit' everytime you run apps (due to additional disk reads in order for the OS to access and run the apps' executables)!
     
  4. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I've seen members at Wilders, who separated their OS from Applications, but the problem is that they don't tell you the FULL story :
    - what they have to do in practice to make that possible
    - what they have to do to update these applications
    - what problems they had with this separation and what is not a problem for them, might be a problem for you.

    Even separating your system from data can cause problems :
    - my first problem was how to get my emails in my data partition, I had to ask Wilders how to do this for Thunderbird.
    - another problem can be that a software doesn't allow you to store its files to another partition.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  5. mikeo1313

    mikeo1313 Registered Member

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    The reason why I wanted to consider os & program separation {ones you personally install}

    Are so that if any problem arises, besides depending on images, and want to start clean, you can simply re-install the or even use an image and not have to re-install applications as mentioned..

    The image size would be pretty small... images would be quickly created... I guess there would be some performance gains in some ways but lost in others depending on which programs you place where and how you use them...

    I'm just going to depend on keeping good images, should be enough..

    Thanks for the input.
     
  6. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Applications (progams) are applications. If I want to separate OS from Applications, I like to do it completely, just like I did with my data.
    I wouldn't like it that a part of my applications are stored on one partition and other applications are stored on another partition. I call that a mess.
    As long M$ doesn't give me a PURE Windows CD without MS Applications, I keep Windows and Applications together in ONE partition. :)
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    That gets tough. Some programs install drivers which are part of the system. Also the registry is part of the system. If you keep programs and system together and image you shouldn't have a problem.
     
  9. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Hello there,

    If you want your profiles on a different partition, one way to do this it to reinstall Windows and use a customized winnt.sif file.
    In this file you define the profiles dir to be similar to:
    And yes, this kind of customization comes with pro's AND cons, but you already understand that.
     
  10. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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