Data Storage

  mark-pc 14:48 27 Nov 10

I have just reinstalled Windows XP on my PC. I have a 350GB hard drive with 667Mhz processor. In an attempt to keep my PC running at optimum speed, I am considering not storing any data on the PC Hard Drive but instead using 2 External Hard Drives. I currently have 120GB of data the bulk of which is Music and Photos.
Is this a good idea? Any pitfalls with it?

  GaT7 15:09 27 Nov 10

120Gb full out of a total of 350Gb looks fine to me (or have I misunderstood?). That's easily 70% free space which is a very good figure to have (click here).

But if you'd like to see how XP runs on its own partition without your data, I'd suggest creating 2 partitions on the 350Gb drive: one 50Gb & the other with the remaining space (both primary). Install XP on the first partition & have the other partition only for data storage. It would also be wise to have another hard disk (internal/external) for data/backups only.

I have this setup with XP on a 20Gb partition, which I maintain at about 70% free space, while all my data resides on the other larger partition & another drive. I find the system very nippy this way. I suggested 50Gb for you as that should be enough for a while & any large program installs you may have. In any event, try to aim for an OS partition with at least 50% free space. G

  bremner 15:10 27 Nov 10

How do you intend to connect the external drives to the computer. If by USB then this is not optimising performance.

Internal drives will be accessed much faster.

  mark-pc 15:23 27 Nov 10

Thank you both. Yes 120Gb data and 350Gb hard drive. So if I partition, the amount of data in the data partition wont affect performance?

I did intend to connect with USB.

  GaT7 15:33 27 Nov 10

"So if I partition, the amount of data in the data partition wont affect performance?"

No, because they are on two separate partitions, which is virtually like two separate drives. Do backup thoroughly before attempting though, even if you use one of those programs that lets one partition without losing data.

Having the system this way also allows me to quickly restore an OS image or reinstall afresh with a minimum of prior backup involved, as most of my data is on the other partition/drive. G

  mark-pc 21:00 27 Nov 10

Thanks. I guess this means that I would have to reinstall Windows in order to partition the drive?

  robin_x 21:19 27 Nov 10

Not at all. Just shrink/resize c: down to say 160GB at first. You can adjust lower, later when you have shifted some data off it.

Use Partition Wizard or EASEUS (links in here)
click here

After applying the resize, you will then have a big Unallocated space.
Create a new partition in it.

Both progs are fairly self explanatory.

  mark-pc 21:41 27 Nov 10

Thanks, thats sounds good. I dont have any data on it yet as I have recently done a reinstall.

  robin_x 21:59 27 Nov 10

Mebbe 160GB is a bit high then, I thought your data was still on c:

Knock it down to 50GB then.
When installing new apps change the install location to your new partition. eg f: g: or whatever the first free one allocated is.

Put your Music and Apps in there too.

Mkae regular images and/or backups of c: and eg f: or g: to your ext HDD(s)

If you have plenty of ext space, consider keeping an image of your clean reinstalled c: as well as further images as and when.

Then when you feel the need to re-install, it is easier and quicker to restore your 'clean' image with all your tinkerings (wallpaper,windows tweaks/options/shortcuts etc) included.

  mark-pc 08:19 28 Nov 10

Partition Wizard is excellent! What is the purpose of creating Partitions for various data? I can understand the purpose of keeping the Op System separate which I guess allows the PC to run better, but why would I want to keep for example Music files in one partition and images in another?

  bremner 10:05 28 Nov 10

Partitioning is something that polarises opinion and there really is no right or wrong answer.

It is an entirely personal decision.

I can see the advantage of having the OS on a separate partition simply to make a reformat / re-installation easier. However if you have a good backup regime then the benefit is perhaps negated.

What is vitally important is that you ALWAYS have backups on a completely different drive. It is no good having a drive partitioned and have backups on one of the partitions. This seems common sense but I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this.

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