Partitioning advice wanted for confused novice

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Brizvegan, Feb 11, 2006.

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  1. Brizvegan

    Brizvegan Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Posts:
    12
    Hello,

    This is my first post to any forum, so please bear with me. I hope I have done it correctly! :rolleyes:

    I'm hoping you can give me some advice as to whether or not I am able to partition my hard drive, and then if I can use drive image software like Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost to create a backup. I have been reading about this in the forums and I am unsure if I can do the same on my computer with its current configuration.

    This is my first and only computer, and the only alteration I have ever made is upgrading to 256mb memory from 128mb.

    I have an IBM NetVista Pentium III 800MHz 256mb RAM
    1 x 20gb HDD
    Windows Me
    CD-RW drive

    I don't have an original Windows CD, only an IBM Product Recovery CD.
    As well there is a "hidden" partition to reinstall the factory installed programs, pressing F11 at startup.

    I can only see one drive on My Computer - "C".

    My current drive information - according to Fdisk is:

    Partition C: 1
    Status: A
    Type: PRI DOS
    Volume Label: IBM_PRELOAD
    Mbytes: 18708
    System: FAT31
    Usage: 94%

    Partition 2
    Status:
    Type: Non-Dos
    Volume Label:
    Mbytes: 761
    System:
    Usage: 4%

    Total disk space is 19469 Mbytes.

    My idea was to:
    - divide my HDD into 3 or 4 partitions maybe using Partition Magic (?)
    - "C" for Windows Me and all my other programs (inc. drive image software)
    - "D" for my personal data (not that much space required)
    - "E" for drive image backup.

    Get ready for the dumb questions!!!

    1. Is this possible?
    2. If, so: does having this "hidden" partition make a difference - where would
    it go in the scheme of things?
    3. Can you suggest partition sizes/configurations?
    4. Should you have a separate partition for all other programs besides
    Windows Me? How do you know which ones to keep with Windows?
    5. Do I have to totally "wipe" the hard drive to do this?

    Any advice on these topics would be much appreciated.
    Besides get a new computer! :D

    I'm fed up with having to spend days reinstalling everything after trouble.

    Thanks heaps,
    Brizvegan
     
  2. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Posts:
    1,400
    Location:
    California - USA
    1. Yes, you can do this without destroying your OS, programs or anything else, by using Acronis Disk Director Suite, Symantec Patition Magic or other similar programs.
    2. The programs mentioned will reveal your hidden partition. You can leave it or free it up (if you like) to gain more space.
    3. Depends a lot on WHY you seem to think you will be better off by partitioning your drive. Think seriously about this!
    4. If (for whatever reason) you wish to put your Program Files on another partition, you will have to first remove each program and then reinstall each one on the new partition!
    5. Not if you use one of the progams I mentioned.

    I won't tell you to get another computer, but I do think that backing up to some other partition on your one hard disk is a bad idea. Backups should be on removable or external media, so you should think seriously about that as well.

    ~pv
     
  3. Brizvegan

    Brizvegan Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Posts:
    12
    Thanks for your advice, pvsurfer! :)

    Now I know that it's possible with my setup, I definitely will be giving partitioning/backup a go. If I only have two partitions, one for Windows Me/all programs and another for data, I think I'll be better off when it comes time to back up. If all goes well, it sure will save me time and much angst.

    I take your point about backing up to another partition on the same hard drive. If my one HDD goes bung .... :ouch:

    I will see if I can get a USB external HDD and drive image to that - will have to be compatible with USB 1.1 though.

    Soon, I'll have to "bite the bullet" and get a new computer with XP - with an original Windows CD this time, 2 HDDs, DVD DL burner, separate video card, heaps of memory etc. etc., but I thought I'd mess around with this old clunker for a little while yet.

    Thanks again,
    Brizvegan
     
  4. pvsurfer

    pvsurfer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Posts:
    1,400
    Location:
    California - USA
    An important issue for you to face is that your HDD is almost full - that's not good (from either performance or safety considerations)!

    ATA hard drives are dirt-cheap, so if I were in your situation, I would buy about an 80 GB ATA drive (I've seen them for $40 after rebate), make it the main system drive and then use the existing drive strictly for storing backups. By doing that you will solve your backup problem and you will realize noticeably improved performance, not to mention much better system stability!

    Good luck. ~pv
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2006
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