Partitioning - Why?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Peter2150, May 16, 2006.

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  1. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    There has been a lot of discussion lately about partitioning, and I've found it especially interesting what Eric Albert is doing. I mean that seriously.

    For over 5 years and thru 3 computers I've never partitioned a hard drive. About the only organizing I do is separate folders for separate functions for data, all under a backup folder in My Documents. This to make data backup easy. I have never had any issue's I can see not partitioning my drives.

    When I got my first external drive for backup using 3 different backup programs, I decided to partition that drive which I did. Made a partition for each different program. THen I bought a 2nd drive on which I keep exactly the same data. Did this strictly for redundancy. This drive I didn't bother partitioning. In fact with the images I don't even use folders. I haven't seen any issue or advantage to the partitioned drive, even when using the various recovery CD's to access the drives.

    Is partitioning strictly an organizational tool, or is the some other factor I've missed??

    Pete
     
  2. Blackspear

    Blackspear Global Moderator

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    We do this on every single PC sold by my company; 1st partition has Windows and is usually around 20GB, the 2nd partition has My Documents on it; a new folder is named My Documents and the original is moved from within the Windows partition to this folder. We place a second folder on the 2nd partition called Acronis Images and this is where all images are stored; 1st image is with Windows fully up to date, 2nd Image is with all known programs that work together - MS Office, Nod32 Firefox etc, this is the final image before it leaves the store.

    We recommend that the client has a second hard drive for My Documents and Acronis Images to be backed up to, this is usually done through Karen’s Replicator.

    If the client can afford it or is a business we recommend having third hard drive, a USB Hard drive where again My Documents and Acronis Images are backed up to.

    This system is extremely simple and easy to maintain, it works very well.

    Cheers :D
     
  3. IMM

    IMM Spyware Fighter

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    There is certainly the issue of seperate OS's in a multiboot system - it's required then - as it is if you want more than one type of filesystem on the machine.
    With filesystems such as FAT32 there are also issues of size - historically the system has grown and various programs which relate to it have used differing sized data members to keep track - such as int or long.
    In a fat32 setup - I would never recommend more than 32G
     
  4. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    @Blackspear:

    Wow; good service, lots of work done for the clients with the very tailored set-up and handpicked apps.

    Where do I go for my next box?: quick trip to Sinney for you :eek:

    How much teaching is involved for users who dl and install apps in resetting defaults or does it all go on the "C' or primary partition?

    How much teaching for new users about backing up, disc mgt and structures of same and recovery.?

    LBD
     
  5. Blackspear

    Blackspear Global Moderator

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    Indeed, we have always targeted the middle of the market and upwards, those that expect a little more are given just that and even more…


    LOL


    All programs remain default, that is to the C Drive.


    Not a great deal, we keep things really really simple; we rename the C Drive to be called “Programs ONLY” and the 2nd partition is called “Data” and exactly like that (Caps and all).

    This enables them/us to restore the main C Drive without effecting data. We do tell them to make sure Favourites and Emails are backed up out of the C Drive, this too can be automated.

    Cheers :D
     
  6. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    Peter:

    Let's say I have a 100GB hard drive. I could organize it by folders, etc. with one big C: drive.

    BUT

    If I turn that 100GB drive into partitions, look at the difference. For simplicity sake, we'll keep it at 2 partitions. A C: drive (partition) and a D: drive (partition).

    If I put nothing on the C: partition except Windows and all my applications, and kept all data on the D: partition, and then create a PERFECT IMAGE of the C: drive, look how much easier it is.

    With one big C: drive and disaster strikes, it requires a fresh install of Windows, installing all apps and, possibly, losing data. Hours and hours of work.

    If the C: gets totally bombed with virii or spyware, all I have to do is run ImageForWindows (or Drive Image, Acronis True Image, etc.) and reinstall a PERFECT image back onto my C: in maybe ten minutes. If the drive dies, I replace the drive, run my image file from my optical drive to put itself back onto a new C: partition, and I'm back in business, just like nothing happened.

    So, while some may use it for organizational purposes, I use it for simple disaster recovery, or simple reinstall. Say I put a program on my C: partition I end up hating but it has messed with my settings of other programs. I put the master "perfect" (and secure) image back on in ten minutes. I can trial 15 programs and not bother with uninstalling any of them after discovering they are all junk. I could go to the trouble of uninstalling them all or - just put the master image back on - they are gone. Really, organization has nothing to do with it for me.
     
  7. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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  8. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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    120 gig drive here with three partitions 5.5,10,96.

    A thinned out xp pro sp2,1.1 gig data on 5.5

    Several ghost images most under the 700 meg mark on 10.

    Videos,pics and documents on 96.

    Also a 10 gig slave drive,partitioned in half, which has a clone of C and images which I can boot into through bios in case of main drive failure.I leave this drive unplugged mostly.

    Why do I thin out XP.

    Benefits of doing this:
    Security scans with Ewido-1 min 20 secs
    Av scans-3 mins
    Perfect Disk smart placement defrags-30 secs
    Ghost images are under the 700 meg mark now,only takes a couple of minutes to restore and a backup image will fit on a cd.
     
  9. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    If you have Acronis True Image (ATI) you can backup and restore your system in no time.
    I never used an image backup software before, so it was total new to me, but I learned and used all the main functions of True Image in a few hours and without reading any tutorial, including creating and using the "Acronis Bootable Rescue CD". It was more playing for me, than learning. ATI speaks for itself, although the GUI could be improved.
     
  10. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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  11. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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  12. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    I wouldn't. I'd put it in an external USB2 interface enclosure and use it to back up all six of my machines in my home network -- just like I do now on 320GB and a 400GB external drives.

    ETA: Well, now that I actually looked at the drive Franklin linked to, I see that it's a SATA drive. In that case, I suppose I would use a SATA interface for the drive, but still externally and for backup purposes, through an adapter card with a SATA connection on the back of my box -- unless I needed the portability, in which case I'd then pursue the adaptation to USB2 - which I haven't looked into but assume can be done.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2006
  13. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Well, I think "organizational tool" is a fairly succinct description. But then you can parse "organizational tool" into many many elements or ways in which organizing in this way is useful.

    Here are some of my reasons for keeping my working data (not program customizations) on a separate partition/drive:

    1) In MY mental framework, data files on one hand and OS plus program files and their customization/preference information on the other hand are two distinctly different types of information -- they are used in different patterns and modified at different frequencies and for different reasons and they have fairly separate functions. Because of these fundamental differences as I perceive them:
    a) They have different backup/loss prevention needs and thus separating them makes the different management approaches more easily applicable and efficient for each
    b) They have different usage patterns and fragmentation rates and therefore separating them makes those different defragmentation approaches I use more easily applicable and efficient for each
    c) I don't want all my eggs in one basket and, if I choose to split my eggs into two baskets, their differences make this a natural dividing line between the two baskets​

    2) Besides the data being of different natures, it just cuts into more manageable chunks (for ME) the time and effort required for backup and defragmentation and other maintenance operations.

    3) Fred Langa recommends it for his own reasons, which I won't get into, and that's enough for me to just decide to do it and not agonize over the fine points and debates. You can browse through Langa's discussions on this here: http://www.google.com/custom?q=part...67191;&domains=langa.com&sitesearch=langa.com

    That's a first pass nutshell for why I do it. Again, I recognize, however, that these reasons may have no value to other users, depending on their own way of viewing things and their value system, so having a debate about this can be frustrating. BUT, debate can be fun and mentally stimulating, so I don't mind getting into that if you want to.:D After all, we can always learn something from each other, so I'll try my best to keep my mind open on the subject.;)
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2006
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Guys

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Erik thanks for the links. Was an interesting read. I got a chuckle about the wasting drive space argument. Using 30g out of 120g I suspect I won't have the problem:D

    To me Crofttk hit the nail on the head. I really think it's a mental thing as much as anything, because there are so many different solutions. I also think it depends on ones temperment to do things in a particular way.

    My routine(which not everyone would want) is last thing before shutdown, I refresh 4 FDISR archives on external drives,refresh my FDISR snapshot, sync MyDoc's to external drives so those files are current, run a full file scan with KAV 6.0 beta, and run Perfect DISK. Believe it or not(thanks to the new KAV beta) the whole process only takes 20 minutes. I totally recognize this wouldn't be for many.

    The other interesting thing I'd not really thought about, is the idea of data safety. In my use of FDISR, I Data Anchor My Documents, which means it isn't protected by FDISR. With the beta testing I've done, I've subjected this machine to all sorts of crashes and hangs, some so bad I couldn't even get to safe mode. FDISR has always saved me, but what is interesting, I have never once had any problem with any data files in My Documents.(Note I do back them up incase:D )

    Bottom line is I got curious, was I missing something, that maybe I should be considering. Where else to get good info, but my from my friends at Wilders.
    Thanks everyone, it has been most thought provoking and I appreciate the time everyone took to post.

    Pete
     
  15. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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    Well Peter,I have followed your posts on other backup systems which I couldn't use because of ghost images.Especially Rollback RX.

    20 mins just to backup at every shutdowno_O

    Well the old saying goes here-if it works for you and your happy with it stick with it.

    I can only say that Nortons Ghost 2003 has never let me down.Cloning to slave,imaging to partition and backup to cd all work fine.:)

    And if I ever need to restore an image it only takes a coupla minutes.:cool:
     
  16. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I got a chuckle about that too. :D
    From all that partitioning stuff, I just took what I need. If I get deeper in partitioning, it becomes too technical and boring for me. For now, I only need partitioning to separate my system from personal data and that's it.
    You won't believe it, but there was a time I thought that every partition was a physical harddisk. LOL.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Franklin

    I had to drop Rollback Rx also. Besides the imaging issues which I also had, reliablity started to bother me. Back to FDISR.

    Let me explain that 20 minutes.

    1) I refresh 4 different backup FDISR images, so they are current.
    2) I refresh my FDISR snapshot on the c drive.
    3) Refresh my backups of My Doc's on external drives.
    4) Do a full disk scan with KAV
    5) Do a defrag with Perfect Disk.

    Not bad amount to get done in 20 minutes. I also use Ghost 2003. But it takes far longer then 20 minutes to image. No easy way for me to keep it current daily.

    For me it's a good time investment.

    Pete
     
  18. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    ROFL. I used to work with a program, that made the distinction between physical and logical records. A physical record could have several logical records, or a logical record could span several physical records.......... til your head is spinning.:D
     
  19. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    I recently added an 80gb external hard drive to my old 98 unit. I was running 3 old hard drives, 3.5 to 5.1gb each. Originally, I planned on using one of them for Windows, one for Linux, and one for data storage. With the external handling data storage, the internal drives, which are strictly for operating systems are much easier to maintain. I use the same PC as both a test unit and regular household PC by swapping the normal primary hard drive with a separate one maintained for this purpose. The external drive has made this so much easier, giving me a place to store copies of the differently configured drives. When I partitioned the external drive, I set one partition aside just for this.
    Another use for partitions I didn't see mentioned is encryption. Instead of encrypted files or containers, I opted for entire partitions, about 5gb worth. Besides protecting personal or financial files, there's more that can be done with one. When using a browser that allows multiple user profiles, a separate one can be put on an encrypted container, making it completely out of reach of other users, passwords, bookmarks and all. An extra layer of security for financial records. Software can be installed in encrypted partitions, making sure no one else can access it. Encrypted partitions are an excellent place to keep a virus/malware collection. Nothing can be launched accidentally or used by other undesired software that you're testing or slips in, and your AV won't alert on its contents during full system scans.
    Now that I have a partitioned external drive, it would be hard to do without it.
    Rick
     
  20. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    i simply partition my 80gb (~74.5GB) drive into a 10 GB partition for ATI images and teh rest is the OS and programs.

    the benefit or partitioning is that when u reinstall windows u can just delete the main (OS) partition and leave your other partitions (downloads, documents, images, etc) alone.

    as far as organization goes, partitioning comes in handy of u only have one drive.
     
  21. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Guess I've been lucky. I've never reinstalled windows.
     
  22. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    The average home computer user who gets their machine from a major store finds everything on the one drive usually, and not partitioned. I got this computer in 2002, and it still hasn't been partitioned. Nor has Windows been re-installed on it. I guess size has some factor in this issue of whether to partition or not as well. I only have 40GB HD, which was the standard size around 4 years ago, but I see no reason to start splitting it off.
     
  23. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Having one or more than one partition is a PERSONAL decision and you don't need it, if you don't want it.
    I worked in both situations and I don't regret working with more than one partition now.
    You only have more partition letters (C, D, E, ...), that's the same as having more than one cup of coffee or tea on the table with or without sugar and/or milk. :D
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2006
  24. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    Please allow me to go on a little ramble spree here, I use a bit of a different approach:

    On the machines rightly so equipped, that is:
    Partition for system and programs.
    Partition for eMule (read porn).
    Partition for games.
    Partition for data.
    Second physical hard disk:
    Partition with backup of data.
    Linux partition, swap partition, and some more.
    Finally, back the data to a second / third pc on a home network.
    And monthly, data is backed up to dvds (not just increments, new full copies), including personal data, vmware machine files, and even manually downloaded windows updates.

    If either Windows / Linux system gets cankered:
    Boot with BartPE / Knoppix and recover latest data (if not burned to monthly dvds).

    Alternatively:
    Use one of the C images and recover the partition.
    Reinstall Windows, bearing in mind the games and porn might not work, but it's small hassle reinstalling these.

    Either way, the most important thing is the data. Programs can be reinstalled rather quickly.

    To answer the question, yes I believe in partitions. They can be nice, provided you have the discipline to use them properly.

    Mrk
     
  25. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    I'm surprised at myself that I forgot to put this reason in my post above:

    I actually have my data on a second partition on my first hard drive but, for some time, had intended to move it to a partition on my second internal hard drive, but it keeps dropping off of my radar screen because I've been busy with other stuff. It seems like system performance could potentially be better with two seek heads working simultaneously, one reading programs paging memory and the other reading/writing data than with just one seek head doing both jobs and the second only doing backup duty -- it's a question of what us plant and process engineers refer to as optimal capacity utilization. Of course, whether or not one does that may depend on how your backups are organized and what other use you may want to make of a second internal drive, if you even have one.​

    Does anyone know if a SATA controller or anything "downstream" of that in the data chain would be a bottleneck that would make my logic above irrelevant ?

    If my logic were off due to a downstream bottleneck, then all I would have going for me would be spreading the "wear and tear" across two drives instead of focussing it on one drive.
     
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