Separate Data Partition Or Not?

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

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  1. Ed_H

    Ed_H Registered Member

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    I have a new laptop arriving shortly and am looking for advice on the best way to set up the HD. On my current laptop, I just have 1 large C Partition for everything. I know a lot of you seem to separate the data onto a D partition but I am not sure what the advantages of this are. It seems that most viruses will cross partitions so I am obviously missing something. I am using FD-ISR and ShadowProtect to keep me out of trouble and would need a fairly large C partition anyway to allow for FD-ISR snapshots. Advice, please.

    Thanks
     
  2. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    It's more than viruses:

    1. Separation of data from programs - simplicity, modularity.
    2. If you wish to reinstall your system / format - data does not get lost.
    3. You can backup data / system independently.
    4. You can image your system to a smaller file, faster.
    5. You can easily install different operating systems, without compromising your data.
    6. Finally, security wise, your data is better off on its own.

    Mrk
     
  3. tradetime

    tradetime Registered Member

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    I only have a single partition on my laptop, and don't really see the advantage of partitioning it. My desktop is partitioned but it is a bigger drive and I keep fdisr archives and some system images. The partition allows me to defrag my system files without disturbing the fdisr archives or image files.
     
  4. AKAJohnDoe

    AKAJohnDoe Registered Member

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    Other than obviously separate data, such as images, audio, video, documents, etc, there is no advantage whatsoever to a separate data partition in a Windows OS implementation since the applications, registry, and metadata are all co-mingled with the OS.

    I keep these obviously separate data stores on external USB drives, myself.
     
  5. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I used one partition with everything on it for a long time, because my knowledge was too poor to do anything else.
    Since March 2006, I separated my data from my system and stored all my data on a second internal harddisk/partition and I never want to go back to one partition again.

    So I fully agree with Mrkvonic's arguments.
    System and data are not the same and why storing data on the most attacked partition, that is begging for trouble.
    I feel alot more reassured, since my data isn't mixed with my system anymore and I have total freedom in my system partition at any moment.

    For the record : I don't move any data manually to my data partition. Every software on my system partition, knows automatically where to store the files I created with each software.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I also opt for one large partition. Excluding saving downloaded exe's which can be huge or huge video, I keep everything data and all on one partition.

    I use FDISR archives, ShadowProtect, and also do save my data off separately. Never had any issues or lost data.

    Also I use Sandboxie, and isolate My Documents so when online, nothing can get to it.

    Pete
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    ffreedom01,

    I'm very keen on the data partition approach. I've moved My Documents, Outlook Express store folder, Windows Address Book, IE Favorites, Firefox bookmarks and Outlook PST file out of the C: drive and into the data drive. I like my C: drive to be kept lean and mean so I have small backup images.

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/notes.htm#13

    It's fascinating how we go about this in different ways.
     
  8. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Our computer department always separated data from system and I find it very logical to do it this way.
    My data is me, all me and I worked hard for it to get it, so I don't want to lose it.
    My system isn't me, I only borrowed and installed it to use it and to create my data.
    I don't even care when my system is corrupted, 10 minuts and I have it back.
     
  9. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    i would have a seprate data partition if i was you.
    thats what my new pc/laptop will be like.
    the only reason this is one big c: is because i didnt know how to partition until i after i got it.
    lodore
     
  10. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    So why not a WD raptor 79 gig 10.000 rt/min. excluding processor, this bit of dynamite gives you a " remarkable performance boost
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I've thought about it. The 150 GB one. But I've seen reports that a 750 GB Seagate is almost as fast and is better value for money.

    I have two WinXPs (independent of each other) which share the data partition. The OS partitions are only 13 GB and 3 GB.
     
  12. Ed_H

    Ed_H Registered Member

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    Everyone...thanks for all the great input. It is very helpful.

    If I decide to have a separate data partition, what software do you recommend to do the partitioning or can Vista do that?
     
  13. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    Acronis DiskDirector from the safe boot disk,but look over at Acronisforums and between other names give attention to Mudcraps explanations how about to do it save.
     
  14. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    On my laptop with fd-isr i've allocated about 20gig to my c: partition so i have enough room to mess around with snashots. I store my data on my d: partition so its readily available no matter what snapshot i'm in and also to help keep snapshot size to a minimum. At the moment my real important data is stored on a write protected SD card in my laptop. This gives me direct access to it while keeping it safe.
     
  15. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    7. Faster, better defragging.
    8. Optimized file placement "out of the box".
    9. Etc.
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Nine good points. I agree.

    Also the OS is at the outer edge of the HD. The area with the lowest effective access time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Frankly, those are still all personall choices. For example, I don't partition and:

    No.1 Data is on the same disk. Simplicity. It's all in a folder Backup under My Doc's. Modularity.

    No. 2. When I was testing Shadow Protects HIR, I restored an image from a non work machine. Essentially wiping on what was on the machine. I didn't lose any data because I obviously imaged first, and when done I restored that image, and OS and data were all back intact.

    No.3 I also backup my data separately, and easily because of no. 1

    No 4. I'd concede, but the extra size isn't significant for me.

    No.5 I did an upgrade install to Vista and the least of the issues were data. It was fine, there ready to use. A clean install would have required reinstalling software, and then replacing the data which is backed up separately, so again no problem.

    No. 6 Don't see why. My data isn't accessible from any of my web browsers.

    No 7. Defragging my disks takes only a few minutes and it's all defragged.

    No. 8 Better file placement out of the box. I disagree. All of my files reside in the outer 5-10% of the disk. If I split it with a partition, then I force the data files in the 2nd partition further into the disk.

    No. 9 Partitioning is for sure better on this one.:D


    My point, is I can turn all the arguments around. Partitioning is fine, but so is not partitioning. It's all a matter of personal preference. The real key is you figure out who best to make your computer work for you, and then do a little planning so you can do all the things in that list easily and effectively.

    Pete
     
  18. Ed_H

    Ed_H Registered Member

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    OK...Obviously there is no right or wrong way to do this and I can see pros and cons for each method. For the past 5 years I have had only 1 partition for everything and the only time I have lost any data is on the rare occasion that I needed to do a system restore and my backup was 1 day old, so I lost a days work. Only happened a couple of times but a definite possibility.

    An additional concern is how do I structure partition sizes if I go with a data partition? I have a 160 GB HD with about 135 GB unused. My actual data is about 20 GB. I have read some less than comforting stories about problems caused by resizing partitions on the Acronis forum. It also looks like Vista can at least shrink partitions and make new ones so I could probably divide up the C partition without additional software. I use FD-ISR so I need room for at least a couple of images. Any suggestions for sizes?
     
  19. tradetime

    tradetime Registered Member

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    With my 160GB, I went for 30GB C drive and a 130GB data partition. I have 4 separate OS envoironments on the C with fdisr. If not using so many snaps 20GB would likely be more than enough.
     
  20. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Peter,
    Each time you want to play with your system, you must do a backup of your data, because you can't lose any of your data.

    I never do a backup of my data when I start playing with my system partition, like zeroing my partition [C:] or replacing it with a total new setup without FDISR, etc.
    My data is never a problem, because it's stored on another harddisk and my system and data have a separate life.
     
  21. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    I don't think you're convincing here Peter :)
    1. All it takes is partitioning. Everything else is much simpler, your docs are somewhere else. Saving programs settings etc. is the same.
    2. I don't see that as a valid argument. You're just stating the value of images. What about not imaging, or what about people who are not you? :)
    3. Not if it's corrupted by the system - i admit i don't know exactly what i'm talking about here, but it could bring discussion :)
    4. But it is an advantage nevertheless, and everyone is different with different needs. Ceteris paribus (all else equal) is more important.
    5. Again, imaging programs. What about when you installed Vista? Separate partitions allows you to keep the data over there, and access it without problems in Vista, whatever issues occur on install (Vista? :gack: ). Imaging benefits are the same.
    6. Just like the incredible interdependencies in Windows is a bad idea, this remark is a good idea on it's own.
    7. The point is arguably defragging would be faster still.
    8. Obviously you gave some thought in your strategy, and time. But what applies to you probably won't for others, who want it simple to manage and think.

    That is true of course.
     
  22. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    That is exactly your problem, you will always lose your data of at least ONE day in case of a serious problem in your system, because your backup is always of YESTERDAY. Some users will even lose more than ONE day, if they don't backup every day.
    Losing data of one day can be a serious problem, if you had lots of updatings that day. You can't afford this in a work environment. Scheduled hourly (or even less) incremental backups can solve this problem, if you have only ONE partition.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
  23. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Can't help you on the sizes to use, but I have used Acronis Disk director 10 under BartePE to play around, and it seems to work okay. Just stay away from the partition table editor. I messed with that and got into trouble.
     
  24. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Pedro

    Not trying to convince, but point, out there are alternatives, that meet the same criteria. My approach definitely might not be for all, but then neither is partitioning.

    Pete
     
  25. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Erik, I do most of my playing on the system I don't use for business, although all the data is there and current. In any case before I do anything on my system, I do two things. First I update my FDISR archive, so it is current, not only with system, but with data. 2nd I sync the data to the secondary drive. Both operations take a few minutes. That way if something messes up, I can restore FDISR archive, or if I want just data.

    I agree even a one loss isn't acceptable. Thats why on the active business usage machine, I run SP in continous incremental mode and take 15 minute incrementals. Also use AJC active backup so even if I screw up a file, and save it I can go back and retrieve earlier versions.

    Point is it isn't the partitioning that protects your data, it is having a plan based on your needs. That may or may not include partitioning.

    Pete
     
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