Advice on partition sizes for external hard disk?

  polymath 21:12 22 Aug 05

I've bought a Western Digital Essential 160GB USB hard drive. My computer has an AMD Duron 650 processer, Win98SE, and an 8gb hard disk with 2GB C: and D: partitions and 4GB E: partition. (Yes I know - that's why it's time I backed up the whole thing!).

I understand Win98SE won't recognise all its space. I think there's a way round that, but that's not an issue for me yet, with such a small internal hard disk.

The most urgent use is to do a copy of my entire internal hard disk occasionally, in case of failure (and leave the external one disconnected when not copying to it, as I'm susceptible to lightning here). It could also be handy for archiving images and documents every so often, (and maybe for transferring stuff between my computer and other peoples'?) (I'm not into moving images, storing music etc yet, so am not bothered now about only having USB1 ports).

What I'm wondering is how to organise the partitions. Do I make an 8GB one for the image of the entire hard disk? (Should I avoid making it larger than that, or doesn't it matter?) I guess I want a second partition for archiving, but should I also have some more partitions from the start, for the further uses that are bound to occur to me? (I don't know if partitioning can be changed retrospectively, while leaving some intact, complete with data).

A lot of questions I know, and some might be answered by the Western Digital software when I download it (one piece looks, from the name, like a disk imaging program). But if anyone can help me get my head round the big picture (excuse mixture of metaphors!) I'd be very grateful.

  User-312386 21:43 22 Aug 05

i dont have partitions

I just back all my data up to the second hard drive

I have 120gb sata and a 180gb PATA drive, the 180gb has 29.3gb space free

So as you can see you can easily and quicky fill it up

  woodchip 21:57 22 Aug 05

I have a External 200Gb Drive that I made up with a Case and a Seagate Barracuda 200Gb drive. Partitioned at about three 32Gb one's and a 125Gb I use on XP Desktop XP Laptop And Win98se comp. It's a USB2 but still works on USB1 although it's slow at the side of USB2 it's still works

  polymath 19:22 23 Aug 05

Thanks for the tips.
It looks as if there's plenty of choice, and I think 2 or 3 decent-sized ones would be useful to me, in addition to the one with the copy of the internal disk.
Does that partition need to be exactly 8gb, or would a bit larger be safer?

  polymath 19:28 23 Aug 05

And is it possible to re-size empty partitions later while leaving the used ones intact, with their data? (it might affect the initial decision-making).

  keith-236785 19:52 23 Aug 05

make the partition for backups as large as you want but at least big enough to fit three backups on. thats 3*8 gig = 24 gig but i would go a little bigger, at that you would still be able to use fat32, the limit for fat32 i believe is 32gig (or 36, cant remember exactly). above 32 you would only be able to use NTFS.

personally (and its only my preference) i would have a 32 gig for backups, a further 32 gig for files/documents and the rest as a large drive.

my own 160gig (152 after formatting) is split into 1*100gig & 1*52gig but im not using fat32 so it dont matter to me.

  Ancient Learner 21:41 23 Aug 05

You don't say how you propose to partition the HD.

I'm not certain that anything other than Partition Magic will enable you to safely resize partions. However, someone here may know different.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 22:16 23 Aug 05

I would not bother partitioning the external HD as there is no point in the 21st century. Just leave as a single disk and it will be recognised by any computer as an external HD.


  woodchip 22:34 23 Aug 05

Mine above, I first created a Partition with XP desktop computer, then used Acronis disc manager on a floppy disc to sort it out once I could see it in DOS in my Win98 desktop computer, I deleted the NTFS and I created all in Acronis as Fat32 so I could use on Win98 as well as in XP under NTFS

  Philwane 06:56 24 Aug 05

I have just bought a 160Gb external HDD for backups I have partitioned it as 30Gb for backup 20Gb for Utilitys and 100Gb for my photo's

I use Acronis true image to back up my C:Drive this is very fast and it works very well with USB external harddrives

  polymath 21:08 24 Aug 05

Many thanks everyone for your help. I have plenty of guidance now!

The non-partitioning route sounds attractive, Gandalf. The external disk comes formatted with a single partition - would I just leave it as is? Should I just put the backup of the whole internal 8GB disk in its own folder, and should it have any particular name? (I don't know if there's any size limitation for folders).

Thanks again all.

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