Should I partition a USB data drive?

August 13, 2017 at 01:23:37
Specs: several
I recently bought a 1 TB USB hard drive to back up data
from my computers, camera, and whatever. I don't plan to
use it to back up operating systems. I don't plan to use any
backup programs. I'll just copy whatever seems like should
be backed up whenever the time feels right.

Is there any good reason to partition the drive into smaller
chunks? Is there any good reason not to?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

See More: Should I partition a USB data drive?

Report •

August 13, 2017 at 02:30:17
For your requirements there is no advantage to be gained by partitioning it. One large partition is always better than multiple smaller ones as it reduces the chances of a partition running low on space. A lack of free space is a performance killer on any random access storage medium.

Report •

August 13, 2017 at 10:17:41
Not to disagree with ijack, but if you're storing a lot of small files, then the amount of "slack " that a large partition would penalize you may make smaller partitions desirable.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

Report •

August 13, 2017 at 11:05:05
Note that the information in that (rather old) article relates to FAT file systems. NTFS and varieties of FAT with partitions greater than 32GB all use the same cluster size (although it varies depending upon the file system); unless you are going to make the multiple partitions each less than 32GB in size you will not experience this problem. To make all of the partitions less than 32 GB in size you would need 32 of them on a 1 TB disk; unfortunately, there aren't enough drive letters to accommodate this.

My recommendation stands with a 1 TB disk and the typical file size of most current applications and data.

Report •

Related Solutions

August 13, 2017 at 15:57:45
In a broad way I don't see much point in partitioning it and would just leave it in one chunk.

Partitioning is usually done to run multiple operating systems, or to keep a smaller partition for an operating system or swap file. But you are not doing anything like that - it is just a storage medium.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

Report •

August 13, 2017 at 18:16:04
The only reason I have partitioned a back up drive is when I want Windows Back up to keep a single disk image of the initial set up of the system right after getting everything perfect on one partition and then occasionally replace a 'current' disk image as well as regular a file back up on the separate partition. Windows back up does not allow more than one disk image on a single drive.
As long as the storage drive is separate you can reimage the primary drive anytime necessary without effecting personal files and with a current back up it is easy to replace that as well if necessary.
Since you are using the copy/paste method of backing up then there is no reason to partition.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

Report •

Ask Question