how to partition

  pennyminstrel 14:25 01 Jun 06

Can anyone tell me how to partition my hard drive without having to shell out for Partition Magic. I'm going to format my hard drive and reinstall windows anyway and I know its possible to do this, but can't find anything on the forums I can easily understand! Also what size should I make the partitions - I just want 2, one for windows and one for everything else.

  iso9001 14:37 01 Jun 06

Check on the internet to see if their is any trial software you could use, thats if you do not want to buy it.

  ade.h 15:41 01 Jun 06 are taking the ideal route through this without using partitioning software. There is always a moment of holding one's breath when dynamically re-sizing your system partition!

When you install Windows from the OS CD, you will eventually reach a screen that asks you whether you wish to make a clean installation or repair and existing installation. Choose the former.

Now you will see a list of partitions, or - if none exist - you will see a different screen that prompts you to create a partition. By selecting one of those exisiting partitions, you can delete it. There are a couple of nannying confirmation screens to get through in order to achieve this; if memory serves me, the button sequence will be C, Enter and then L. It's easy to follow once you see it.

Next, you'll be back at the list of partitions and some free space will be showing; delete the next partition in the list if you need more space. Otherwise, simply choose to install Windows to the empty space and you will now see that other screen that I mentioned earlier; this has a figure in MB that represents the contiguous free space. If this is bigger than you need, backspace through it and enter a more appropriate number. *Remember* that 1GB is 1024MB, so 40GB is actually 40960MB.

Then choose to perform full format with NTFS and Windows will then be installed to that newly created partition.

Once Windows is up and running, you can create all your other new partitions (and delete any remaining ones) from Disk Management. Right-click on My Computer and select Manage. Disk Management is listed on the left of this screen.

To delete an existing partition, right-click it and select Delete; then you can reformat the space (full is better, but quick will be fine if that space has not previously had disk errors) and then create a new primary or secondary partition, using the same 1024 rule as before. It is not mandatory to use whole GB in the slightest; just more tidy!

You can have up to 4 primary or up to 3 primary and 1 extended partition. Extended partitions can be made into any number of logical drives (restricted only be the number of spar drive letters).

I use 3 primary - System, Pagefile and program Files - and 1 extended, comprising 2 or 3 logical drives for My Documents and other files.

  ade.h 15:45 01 Jun 06

I forgot to add that with the above setup, I virtually never feel the need to defragment any volumes and should Windows throw a paddy, my docs are safe, including the ones that some programs like to store in their own sub-folders.

  ade.h 15:51 01 Jun 06

How big is your hard-disk?

Do you have many programs? Do any of your programs save their files to that program's own sub-folder?

  pennyminstrel 16:25 01 Jun 06

ade.h - thanks for your really clear and easy to understand explanation. I feel much safer to attempt it now.

Hard disk is 40gbn not big these days i know, but adequate for my needs. Not sure whether you'd consider I've got many progs - about 40 I'd say on a quick look at the all prgrams list, but some have programs within programs of course. The only one I know of that saves to its own sub folder (if I understand you right) is Outlook Express.

  ade.h 16:38 01 Jun 06

I used to use a pair of 40GB disks until recently (and I still don't use more than half of the 120GB disks that replaced them) so I know where you're coming from.

Your system partition size depends on whether you want to move your pograms like I have done. I did this to keep certain documents (website builds) safer and also to reduce fragmentation. This is why I have a seperate pagefile space as well and I really have virtually no fragmentation now. With 40GB, you have a lot less margin, so you can't afford to be too generous. For Windows, you ideally need at least 8GB as it needs cache space for things like CD burning. If you fill up a DVD in one go, you could get a full cache and the write will fail. Programs will vary of course; some have to be installed on C and these will eat into your first partition. If in doubt, you should keep the OS and programs together simply to avoid running out of room on one of the partitions.

At 60GB, my laptop is probably the best guide that I can give: System is 10GB (50% free) Program Files is 10GB (40% free) Pagefile is 2GB (I have image editing software that uses it) and the rest is for documents, music, etc.

  pennyminstrel 18:59 03 Jun 06

thanks again ade.h.
Presumably if I put windows on the same partition as the programs and at some poitn I have to reformat again I'd still wnd up havig to reload all the programs and as I still feel a bit nervous of the whole thing I'd like to keepit simple, so I think for now I'll just have the two with windows on one and everything else on the other.

By the way, what is Pagefile - sorry to sound thick!

  ade.h 19:05 03 Jun 06

click here The pagefile, if you use one, should be placed on a dedicated partition to relieve the system partition of one of the main causes of fragmentation. Alternatively, moving it a seperate disk altogether can will improve performance as well.

Whether your programs are given a dedicated partition or not, they still have to be re-installed along with the OS. The benefits are less fragmentation and better data safety with some programs (such as certain web authoring apps and image editors).

  pennyminstrel 19:11 03 Jun 06

Ok i'll have think about that then. It'll take me a while to read and inwardly digest the link too but everything's beginning to come clear now. thankds again for your patient explanation. so much stuff I read assumes a certain knowledge and some of the concepts are difficlut to get your head round. It's easy to just give up but I don't like not understanding wqite what i'm doing with the thing!

  ade.h 20:04 03 Jun 06

Yes, it's good to learn more about computing; you get more out of it then, I think.

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