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i need to understand what partitioning does

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
from what i gather partitioning just splits the drive

i dont get why you would want to do this

in layman terms please describe what this does please its driving me crazy
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post #2 of 11
If you want to run multiple OSs, you don't want them installed together obviously. So, if you partition your drive you can keep them separate. Or, if you keep your documents/music/etc. on a separate partition you can do a clean install of your OS whenever you want with much less hassle than if if was all on one partition.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
so if i literally do not care about reinstalling everything back to my computer there is no gain of partitioning my hdd

hmp
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post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-ramp View Post
If you want to run multiple OSs, you don't want them installed together obviously. So, if you partition your drive you can keep them separate. Or, if you keep your documents/music/etc. on a separate partition you can do a clean install of your OS whenever you want with much less hassle than if if was all on one partition.
What he said.

It doesn't seem too necessary these days because storage is pretty cheap on the mechanical tip so getting a couple of HDDs is the way to go for performance and storage.
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
yeh i have 2 hdd storage and games and stuff

plus ssd for boot and anything special
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post #6 of 11
Its an organizational tool that helps keep healthy boundaries between multiple OS's or perhaps you want a virtual HD that can be formatted regularly without having multiple hard drives, however, these days, hdd size vs cost just makes picking up a few extra disks more appealing. There is no performance gain from partitioning a Hdd.

Windows 7 creates 2 partitions on install - 1 that is 100mb of all of its boot information, and the second is the remainder of the disk. This is just a way to lock down data that never needs to be accessed or changed.

I use an SSD for OS - Then a partitioned 1tb HD -
Part 1: 500gb/F:/Users for all my userdata
Part 2: 500gb that is mounted under C called WorkSpace that is my place for all my large programs and monster sized games, like oblivion (21gb after mods)

Then my little SSD gets all my normal games for no real reason. Load times are instant-thats kind of cool, except nowadays games use the loading screens to display information about the next part of the game and I usually cannot read through it.
Edited by cook - 6/20/11 at 7:27am
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post #7 of 11
in short partitioning divides your hdd into 2. (well what will look like 2 in an OS) that way you can do seperate things with them. but if your hdd fails then you will lose both
     
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post #8 of 11
Partitioning is the act of formatting a device so that the OS sees a useable space or spaces on the disk. As far as the OS is concerned, they are different, act independently of each other, and cannot affect each other in any way shape or form except during file transfers. Why would one want to do this though?

There could be a great many reasons. One common reason is to split your data and operating system, so that in the event your OS partition gets nuked or otherwise ruined, your data remains intact on the second partition. Another reason would be to move the pagefile to its own dedicated section of the disk where it wont be disrupted by file fragmentation and can work at its maximum efficiency and thus not slow your computer down. Still another reason would be in the event you are Dual-Booting operating systems... say, windows 7 and Ubuntu linux. Mixing the system files of both operating systems would result in many bad things, and Ubuntu really doesnt like NTFS, even though it can read and write to it. So if you put each one on its own partition they will work fine without disrupting the other one.

It has its cons as well. If the physical device which the partitions are on fails, everything is lost. In rare cases corruption which has affected one partition can spread and damage the other one, ruining everything. If a partition is spread across multiple disks and one of those disks fails (in a non-redundant setup, but thats for another time), everything on the spanned partition is gone. And if the partition is created by a non-native OS (Ubuntu creating an NTFS partition), then all sorts of weird and sometimes headache inducing things happen, like all of the metafiles being at the hub of the disk instead of the edge.
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post #9 of 11
Another benefit of partitioning is a noticeable performance gain by short-stroking. This means you partition a very small part of your drive, such as a 250GB partition on a 1TB drive, and anything you place in that 250GB partition is "forced" to be on a certain area of the drive platter (the outer edge) which is read and written to quicker due to the hard drive head being closer to your 250GB partition data than the other 750GB.

You can even create multiple partitions to achieve this. If you have a 1TB drive, I'd create a tiny partition that is just enough to hold Windows 7 + updates + programs, maybe 30GB or 40GB. This means your OS and programs will load up very fast. I'd then have a second larger partition of maybe 300GB (about 30% of the drive capacity) for games, so that they can load faster. The remaining ~650GB would all just be left on the side for music, video, documents, etc. as those types of files typically don't need fast read times to open up quickly.

Yes, if your drive fails, you lose everything on all partitions. But that's no different from your drive failing if you had no partitions; you'd still lose everything. No matter what, you always need to make sure to backup any files you would hate to lose. Little off topic here but I thought I'd share: I use Dropbox for important files, 2GB of storage for free, and Google Music (beta) for my music, 20,000 songs for free. You can't download your music back from Google Music, but there's really no need to if you have an Android device. If you have an iPod then you're out of luck, you'd have to back up all your music elsewhere.
Edited by Stealth Pyros - 6/20/11 at 7:53am
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post #10 of 11
First of all, the file system doesn't see the physical drives themselves. A drive letter is assigned to a partition which is just a grouping of storage space, this can be a subset of one drive or can span multiple drives.

Using multiple partitions can be an organizational tool as well as an efficiency tool.

The first reason you might want multiple partitions is to separate data from your OS and applications. This can simplify backups since applications get reinstalled rather than backed up it can help to keep them out of the space that gets backed up. it also means you can reinstall your OS completely or upgrade to a new version complete with a reformat of the system partition. It also provides some safty to your data if the system partition gets corrupted (though, it isn't completely safe, a really bad issue can junk all of your partitions).

A second reason is if you want to run multiple operating systems you need at least a separate system partition for each. Additionally, if your data is kept in a separate partition, then the OSes can share one data partition which can be very helpful.

One final option is putting a partition at the outside of the disk, which spin the fastest, and thus, have the highest data rate. Put your most frequently accessed stuff there so it loads as fast as possible.
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