Best HDD partition size

October 31, 2012 at 13:54:01
Specs: Windows XP
What is the best size for partitions on a WD 500 GB SATA HDD to get most capacity and best safety against partition problems & data loss? (Is cluster size important?) It will be used just for data storage through an E-sata dock, no OS or apps on it.

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October 31, 2012 at 14:19:53
The default cluster size of 4k is good for most applications. With that cluster size partition size is not an issue. The reason to partition is to organize things on the hard drive.

Look at the link below for ideas. You should know that you can only create 4 primary or 3 primary and 1 extended partition. The extended partition can have as many logical drives as available drive letters.

With a 500GB I would recommend 3 or 4 partitions. First one for OS and a few key programs. Next partition for the rest of your programs. The third and fourth can be for your personal files and music, movies, etc.

You should backup regularly but it is time consuming to backup an entire hard drive because SOME of the data has changed. Once you install programs you probably won't make many changes to that partition so you don't need to back it up very often. Conversely, your personal files may need to be backed up weekly or more. You get the idea?

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October 31, 2012 at 14:52:17
"First one for OS and a few key programs. Next partition for the rest of your programs"

The OP has already stated that the drive will only be used for storage (ie no OS):

"<It will be used just for data storage through an E-sata dock>"

I see no good reason to have any more than one partition on it. Any required division of content can be achieved by creating a new folder for that content. I have 4 x 1TB hard drives for mirrored storage and all have only one partition & I've never had any problem with that arrangement.

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October 31, 2012 at 14:53:51
As you say this disk is just to be used for data storage there is no real point in creating more than one partition. This will allow you to make the best use of the space; with multiple partitions you are likely to end up with one partition nearly full whilst others still have plenty of space. It is not good for performance to have little free space on a partition; one partition minimizes the risk of this.

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October 31, 2012 at 21:23:33
I also don't like more than one partition, i have two 320GB's and each of it have one partition.

You know the real meaning of peace only if you have been through the war.

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October 31, 2012 at 22:34:24
I can read too. The OP may rethink the entire system. If the added drive is to be only storage even then you need to backup. As I described above, you need to backup different files at different intervals. Without knowing the size and age of the original hard drive I can't speculate on how the system could/should be configured.

That said, my guess is that Chipmeister doesn't have any backup plan currently in place. Furthermore, he/she is probably out of room and needs more storage space. This is the common situation with most users. Chipmeister, if this isn't you, then accept my apologies.

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November 1, 2012 at 00:35:20
Interesting though it may be to answer a question the OP didn't ask, I would say that your first answer demonstrated that you hadn't read the question. To tell him to create a separate partition for the OS, one for programs, and one or more for data on a disk that is to be used just for data storage (perhaps as a backup disk?) is not really helpful.

Backup is a separate issue that the OP may wish to ask about (or may have already covered). Most backup programs allow incremental backups of only changed files so there is no need for more than one data partition on that account. The best backup programs, IMO, are the Time Machine types that continually back up changed files.

Anyway, the question has now been adequately answered and the consensus seems to be a single partition.

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November 1, 2012 at 03:54:24
Come on Chaps - no squabbling among ourselves please.

Kuwese - I agree with you on having just one partition. and that is how I set up my discs.

However others prefer theirs differently for various reasons. Regards - Mike.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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November 1, 2012 at 06:22:54
I did read the original post. Would have been helpful to know if the computer in question is a laptop or desktop.

The fact that Chipmeister even posted the question indicates to me that they are looking for advice. I gave my advice. IMO even a storage drive should have more than one partition unless only one type of file is being stored on it. Chipmeister is free to take it or leave it.

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November 1, 2012 at 11:18:37
Just a comment on cluster size.

Cluster size was only really a problem with the Fat32 file system and large disks. With NTFS the default cluster size is 4 kbs. You would have to go all the way up to 16 TBs before you start worrying about cluster size with NTFS.

Nobody would partition a 500 Gb disk with FAT32 as you would end up with a cluster size of 32 kBs


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