To partition or not partition

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by bgoodman4, Feb 12, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    I just bought a Terabyte USB drive and before I start backing files up to it I was wondering if there is any advantage to partitioning the drive. I understand the value of doing this on the main drive to separate the data files and the operating system but I suspect there would be little benefit to doing so on a backup drive.

    Thanks
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,041
    As many here know I don't partition any of my drives and I have no problems with operating this way. I think it's purely a matter of choice.

    Pete
     
  3. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Posts:
    508
    I don't see any benefit in partitioning an offline (backup) drive, but do make sure it's formatted NTFS. ;)
     
  4. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Posts:
    7,779
    Yeah, I agree with the others, I don't see any advantage to partitioning unless there is some specific reason for it. I have 2 500's here and I don't partition either of them.
     
  5. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Posts:
    2,517
    Location:
    West Aussie
    Here I reckon always keep the op system seperate from other data such as music, vids, documents.....

    Less defrag time, security scans and small images.

    If you ever have to wipe C and reinstall your data is still there on the other partition.

    Of course backups to an external drive of C and D can come in handy.
     
  6. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Posts:
    3,798
    Whether you partition an external drive really depends on what you're going to do with it and what operating systems it will be used with. NTFS is fine if you're running just Windows XP or another NT system. If you also run (or plan to run) Linux or a 9X system, it's not the best choice.

    My PC is multiboot, Win2k, 98, DOS 6, and 2 Linux versions. I partitioned it into 5 and formatted 4 of them FAT32, which can be used by all of them. The data partitions use a small cluster size to utilize the space more efficiently. The system backup partition stores larger archives and has a larger cluster size.

    There's advantages both ways, depending on what you're using it for and what operating systems you're using it with. My PC is old and is very limited in regards to internal hard drive capacity. For me, the external drive is data storage, backup storage, encrypted storage, and test area, all on separate partitions. I can't give you any more specific advice without knowing more about your needs and the operating systems it will be used with.
     
  7. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    Thanks to all of you for your comments. I will be using the drive for backup drive images and my 90 gig music collection (3rd copy of the files). Currently I am using XP but that will no doubt change sooner or later when I have to downgrade to Vista (sorry, no offence to Vista users intended, probably by now its got most of the bugs worked out). I would like to begin working with Linux but may or may not have the time to get into it in the near term so the comment re the dif OSs is a good one. Since the drive is much larger than my needs require at this time I think I will go with leaving it as is. By the time I need a new one 2 or more Terabytes will probably be cheaper than the one I bought today ($179 Canadian at Costco -- I saw it for sale at Costco 2 months ago for something around $275). My intention when heading out to pick up the drive today was to get a 500 gig but this one was about what I expected to pay for the 500 gig. I didn't even have to stop and think about it.

    By the way its a Western Digital (My Book).

    Thanks again.
     
  8. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Posts:
    5,632
    Location:
    U.S.A. (South)
    I routinely divide up my drives at least by x2, always liked the fact if one partition gets toasted i use the other to restore it like new with a saved image, which isn't often anymore thanks to these Master security developers.

    Like Pete said though, it's a matter of choice for the individual owner, but it's always been nice to have 2 systems in one single drive.

    Thanks to old FD-ISR Classic, it opened up a MOST UNIQUE method to add up to 10 systems on a single drive. Those were the good ole days though.

    EASTER
     
  9. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Posts:
    8,695
    Hello,

    I think partitioning is good. If you look at the linux school, you'll see partitions for /, for /home, for /usr/, for /var, for /tmp, for /opt etc. I like to separate data from OS, to make OS images smaller. Furthermore, this allows me to place more than 1 operating system, backup to other partitions etc.

    Usually, I go for (in windows):

    os partition
    data partition
    games partition
    downloads partition
    virtual machine partition
    backup partition (one or more)
    storage partition (archive for crud, isos, music etc)
    linux-to-windows-to-linux share partition

    Sometimes these will span on 1-2 hard disks, but that's the general idea.

    In Linux, I usually make:

    /
    /home
    swap
    /data (for general stuff like music, isos etc)
    /virtual-machines (for virtual machines, may also reside on /data)

    Other mount points as I see fit, if dual-boot then several Windows partitions.

    Cheers,
    Mrk
     
  10. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Posts:
    2,517
    Location:
    West Aussie
    It's real simple with windows:
    C:Operating System
    D:Crap Data
    E:Image Backups which really isn't needed if images are stored on D:

    I prefer to make the third partition which only stores ghost/paragon images which is never defragged or touched at all.
     
  11. Meriadoc

    Meriadoc Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2006
    Posts:
    2,642
    Location:
    Cymru
    Definitely think its better to partition. Keeps things tidy and much more workable all round.
     
  12. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    :gack: You folks are talking (for the most part) way above my head but I thank you for the suggestions none-the-less. Just to clarify the drive in question is an external USB drive and will be for storage only. No OS or active programs etc what-so-ever. When I next get a new PC I will be sure to ask this question again in a how-do-I-do-this? manner and will partition the main drive as that makes a lot of sense to me even if I don't understand the hows and wherefores at this point.
     
  13. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Posts:
    3,719
    For you to consider. If drive 0 is 1000gb. You split into c: @ 500g and d: @ 500g. If the drive fails, data is gone. Backup wise, partitions are for organizing and segregating in case of OS failure and wiping/reinstall needs to occure. And it works great. It is not a real backup in sense of data security. Only a secondary media (hdd,usb,cd,etc) is trusted as backup.

    To consider also. There have been many debates on how to keep drive running at fastest speed. What is the optimum method? Many state that partitioning hdd causes slowdown, especially when running items from other partition. Theory: system files/swap file on c:, read/write many times. Programs on d:. Head seeks now across wider range of hdd sectors to find data. Fragmentation increases latency because not only does head travel farther between partitions, but also now fragmentation within each partition.

    Is it true?

    Consider in Raid 0, 2 disk member array. You have possible stripe size kb, cluster size kb and partitions. I performed on my new box a couple years ago exhaustive tests. Using 2 samsung sata I 160gb hdds and 2 new WD 750gb sata II hdds. Used all stripe sizes variated with 4,8 & 16 cluster sizes, with whole drive c and also partitioned c & d. Used I think 5 tests to guage read/write large files & small files. Took many hours to perform.

    Result? For my system using samsung drives, 16k cluster and 64k stripe size was fastest, with some difference in better performance of single drive than partitioned drive. For new wd sata II drives, 4k cluster, 32k stripe was the winner, with very small difference of partition or not. No partition was faster in every case.

    I ran with raid 0, single drive c: for a long time. Eventually I desired the segregation again and now run with parition. Tests showed me, that there can be a difference, and indeed even a noticable difference. For example, loading large files, like photoshop or games where files can be large, up to maybe 5-10 seconds difference. Real world, everyday use, so small as to be hardly noticable.

    I will never perform that test again. The results can be measured, but at the most extreme instance, 5-10 seconds is hardly worth hours of reinstalling and testing.

    Partitioning is great as long as you remember that if all your especially important data is on one physical drive, it is not backed up.

    Sul.
     
  14. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Posts:
    829
    I always partition my backup drives with a small 20gb partition. In an emergency I use the backup drive as a boot drive by restoring an OS on it. All my hard drives (except my media drives) have that 20gb partition it comes in handy.

    Large hard drives that will only used for recording videos in a home entertainment computer don't need to partition.
     
  15. Skytrooper

    Skytrooper Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2006
    Posts:
    101
    I recently bought a 1 TB Seagate drive connected by a firewire cable to my Vista PC for the sole purpose of storing backup images, FD-ISR archive snapshots, and important files/folders. I haven't partitioned the drive since I can't think of any reason to do so.
     
  16. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    Not clear what you mean here, I can understand how it might be a boot drive but how can you restore an OS on the external drive?
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Posts:
    8,634
    Location:
    NSW, Australia
    I guess you mean there is one partition on the HD. What do you have? A primary partition or a logical volume in an extended partition?
     
  18. SourMilk

    SourMilk Registered Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Posts:
    630
    Location:
    Hawaii
    On a large internal hard drive, I usually resize the FIRST partition out of two or more partitions for OS for speed based on limiting the head search on a smaller partition. The second and possibly other partitions will suffer a slight speed penalty when addressed due to rotational distance (less distance traveled per revolution as it gets closer to the center axis) and logic drivers (which partition?) but not enough, in my estimation, to prevent partitioning. Especially if you plan to do any imaging. :)

    SourMilk out
     
  19. gud4u

    gud4u Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Posts:
    206
    If I understand your situation, you have a main drive and are adding a 1TB backup drive, principally for data backup.

    The only partition I would put on the backup drive would be a 'protected partition' for archive images from your main drive (Paragon calls this a backup capsule, Acronis calls it something else). 'Protected' simply means that Windows can't see it, and thus can't screw with it.

    Here's the problem:
    If your OS (main drive) is borked to the point of non-recovery - you can't address data on either drive - except by DOS/Linux data recovery tools. And some of that data will not be recoverable even with the data recovery tools, particularly if you recover files to the main drive (file over-writing).

    I would suggest:
    - Moving all critical data to the 1TB ASAP.
    - Assign at least one logical partition for your OS.
    - Do a clean OS install on the OS partition.
    - Image your OS partition to the backup capsule on the backup drive.

    Then you're set up to recover from OS failure on the main drive in minutes, by simply restoring the OS image. Every file and app on both drives will be registered just as it was when the OS image was saved.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  20. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130
    Thank you for your comment but I don't really understand much of what you are saying.

    I will be using the drive to store ATI images and RollBack images (baselines) of my Tablet PC. This is a 2nd Terabyte drive for me, the first one only stores ATI images of my Desktop PC. For the desktop I am keeping at a min 3 weeks of daily TI images (some full, some incremental). The Tablet PC does not get nearly as much use as the desktop so it will not be backed up as frequently but I do want to back it up. The Tablet PC has RollBack Rx installed on it so really the images on the T drive are really only in case of a hard drive melt down. Especially in the case of the Tablet the drive will for the most part not be connected to the tablet. The only time it will be connected is if I am doing a backup or restore. Thus Windows cannot see it and cannot mess with anything stored on it. On the other hand the T drive that I use for my desktop is always connected to the PC so perhaps I should partition that drive and keep each weeks backups on separate partitions. It seems to me that earlier in this post (or perhaps elsewhere on the forum) it was indicated that doing this was not nec but I could be wrong about that (my memory is def not as good as it once was,,,ageing will do that to you).
     
  21. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    2,095
    Location:
    Mountaineer Country
  22. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,130

    Thank you, much appreciated.

    EDIT: excellent resource, thanks for making me aware of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  23. innerpeace

    innerpeace Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Posts:
    2,095
    Location:
    Mountaineer Country
    Your welcome. It helped me when I bought my first external HDD.
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.