Jump to content
  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 20 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

golinux

Partition larger external hard drives? Yes or no?

Recommended Posts

Two shiny new 200GB Seagate external hard drives arrived this morning. Got a great deal at Fry's Outpost for $99 each!! (They didn't last long - out of stock hours after I ordered.) Needed extra backup for all the videos I've been pumping out.

 

Anyhoo, my question is . . . it better to partition the drive or just leave it intact? I've heard (can't remember where) that partitioning larger drives decreases chances of HD failure. A friend who runs a Mac said it didn't make much difference on that OS but I'm on XP Pro. Any comments from you hardware gurus??

 

Thanks!

 

sisterscape

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two shiny new 200GB Seagate external hard drives arrived this morning. Got a great deal at Fry's Outpost for $99 each!! (They didn't last long - out of stock hours after I ordered.) Needed extra backup for all the videos I've been pumping out.

 

Anyhoo, my question is . . . it better to partition the drive or just leave it intact? I've heard (can't remember where) that partitioning larger drives decreases chances of HD failure. A friend who runs a Mac said it didn't make much difference on that OS but I'm on XP Pro. Any comments from you hardware gurus??

 

Thanks!

 

sisterscape

I think it's just a matter of opinion. Mine is not worth much but I partition almost every drive I have. I just got a Seagate to put into a external case and I have mine partitioned at 50 and 150. On the 50 side I put my drive image backups (I keep 2 backups...1 each on 2 drives) and on the 150 side, I use it for testing, video and photo storage and sometimes, program backup.

I think your friend might be thinking about partitioned drives being safer for OS's. I put the OS and just a few other programs on my C drive and all the installed stuff on the larger D drive. If I have to image my OS, it's fast and easy and I don't loose data and programs on the D side, though I would have to install them again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two shiny new 200GB Seagate external hard drives arrived this morning. Got a great deal at Fry's Outpost for $99 each!! (They didn't last long - out of stock hours after I ordered.) Needed extra backup for all the videos I've been pumping out.

Anyhoo, my question is . . . it better to partition the drive or just leave it intact? I've heard (can't remember where) that partitioning larger drives decreases chances of HD failure. A friend who runs a Mac said it didn't make much difference on that OS but I'm on XP Pro. Any comments from you hardware gurus??

Thanks!

sisterscape

 

 

Kim Komando (radio personality), the Digital Godess (as she calls herself) say this:

 

 

 

"Partitioning started many years ago. Under the old MS-DOS system, gobs of space were wasted as hard drives grew. Partitioning helped recover that space. The computer sees partitions as different drives-C, D, E, etc.

 

The space problem is no longer an issue with Windows XP. Nonetheless, some people still partition hard drives. They like to put their programs in one partition, and their data in another.

 

Why? Well, they think it protects their personal data if Windows goes haywire. There's probably some truth to that. But the problems of partitioning simply outweigh its alleged benefits.

 

I have numerous listeners who can attest to that. I've received many sad partitioning stories from listeners in the last few years. Invariably, some geek partitioned their hard drives so Windows was in its own partition. Then came the Windows service packs and countless updates. Windows got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

 

Eventually, Windows filled their partitions. It couldn't take more updates or service packs. So, they asked, what do I do now?

 

If they had other programs in that partition, they could move them to the second partition. But that often confuses associations, which tells Windows how to open files.

 

Ultimately, they often had to buy a partitioning program like Symantec's Partition Magic. They had to learn to use it. Then they held their breath and started moving partitions around. It was just a big, needless mess.

 

I never recommend partitioning. I'd put everything on the C: drive. But if you're determined to do it, leave Windows lots of room to grow. When you think you have enough space, add some more. You'll save yourself lots of grief down the road."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest mlpasley

WOW! That's a good price for external drives.

 

I wouldn't partition them. You're going to be using them for backup which means that you're probably going to be just writing to the hard drive.

 

If you were going to be frequently defragmenting a hard drive, then it might make sense to partition the drive. Defragmenting a 200 GB hard drive takes some time, but that's not a consideration in your case.

 

I'd just plug them in, install the software, and start backing up those videos.

Edited by mlpasley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Two shiny new 200GB Seagate external hard drives arrived this morning. Got a great deal at Fry's Outpost for $99 each!! (They didn't last long - out of stock hours after I ordered.) Needed extra backup for all the videos I've been pumping out.

 

Anyhoo, my question is . . . it better to partition the drive or just leave it intact? I've heard (can't remember where) that partitioning larger drives decreases chances of HD failure. A friend who runs a Mac said it didn't make much difference on that OS but I'm on XP Pro. Any comments from you hardware gurus??

 

Thanks!

 

sisterscape

 

I would always partition my drive, even if the OS isn't going to be on the drive. I would partition it similar to how Paul has his.

 

As far as Kim Komando's views go...I think she is an i-diot. If you make your OS partition large enough, you won't have problems in the future with it filling up with updates.

 

If, for any reason in the future, you have to format that partition, because it won't boot up, you won't lose your data, which should be on a different partition. You will have to reinstall your programs, but your data is safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, now I'm even MORE confused. I'm going to wait and see who else checks in on this on various forums.

 

I have plenty of backup. One internal 80GB drive for backup files and images of my C drive, an old 40GB external also for files and Acronis images, 2 - 160GB external drives which are about full with my video project and now 2 - 200GB external drives to shift some of the load off the 160GB drives. I would never be needing these drives if I hadn't gotten addicted to that darn exercise show on PBS - 30 half-hour episodes per season with two seasons down and a new one coming. I don't go a day without it . . .

Edited by sisterscape

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest mlpasley

I think Bruce missed that these are EXTERNAL drives. Partitioning make perfect sense for your main hard drive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think Bruce missed that these are EXTERNAL drives. Partitioning make perfect sense for your main hard drive.

I think he did too. Either way, Partition Magic is simple and not hard to learn at all. So is Acronis. I've had to repartition the OS side a few times with no problems. But I do think it is a good idea for the main drive and not necessary for a spare though I do keep mine partitioned...(well, except for 1 small 60 gig drive....remember when that wasn't small?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, can I say wow? 840 gigs...I remember when I had a 120meg drive and I thought I had room for the whole world.

 

I remember what you first brought up...the question about large drives failing more often than smaller ones. I had two WD 250gig SATA drives fail on me. The seals broke and moisture got in (or so the diagnostics said). After that I had heard talk that larger drives fail more often. True or not...I can't say. From personal experience...I'm two for two (bad)...not a good record.

As a consequence, I now have the OS on one drive, files on another, and more files and backups on more still. I'm always looking for more externals and naturally backup on cds and dvds. I stay with 200gig and under drives. I'm sure there're lots of people out there with bigger drives and no problems. I'll still pass.

 

Anyway, to get back to it (I don't remember the thread and who else mentioned this) there was some thought out there that to help fight the possiblity of drive failure, partitioning might help. I'd say it's up to you but I'd just backup files rather than partition. Either way, as long as you are comfortable with the decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just had a chat with the local computer guy. He suggested creating a small - 10MB to 1GB partition - and leaving the rest unpartitioned for 200 to 500GB drives. Over 500GB he thought three partitions were best. The small first partition supposedly reduces wear and tear when when the drive first boots up.

 

But even with all the great feedback, I'm still in paralysis trying to come to a decision . . . :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just had a chat with the local computer guy. He suggested creating a small - 10MB to 1GB partition - and leaving the rest unpartitioned for 200 to 500GB drives. Over 500GB he thought three partitions were best. The small first partition supposedly reduces wear and tear when when the drive first boots up.

 

But even with all the great feedback, I'm still in paralysis trying to come to a decision . . . :)

Never heard that but I'm gullible enough to believe it....until I hear different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Never heard that but I'm gullible enough to believe it....until I hear different.

Neil wispers quietly in Paul's ear that he must drink bud light.... drink bud light....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess everyone has there own idea of what to do about partitioning a new drive and I'm no different. I did understand that the two new drives were for exterior use. Any time I get a new drive, I just always format it for one partition that takes up the entire capacity of the drive. Even on my "C:\" root drive I have it formatted for the entire capacity of the drive before installing the operating system on it. It happens to be 120GB. I also have three other HD's that I use for backup. One is a slave drive with the main C drive. It's also 120 GB. Then I have two other 200GB HD's that are being used as external HD's. Each of them are on notebook computers and formatted for the entire volume of the drives also. I have had no problems with loosing data and do a fragmentation on each of the drives everyone once in a while regardless of what MS's disk fragmentation analization shows.

 

Partitioning for a lot of users usually means placing the operating system on one partition and then other file information on the other partitions. I have always suggested if one has several HD's (say more than 3) just use the entire volume capacity of the drive.

 

Frank...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I just had a chat with the local computer guy. He suggested creating a small - 10MB to 1GB partition - and leaving the rest unpartitioned for 200 to 500GB drives. Over 500GB he thought three partitions were best. The small first partition supposedly reduces wear and tear when when the drive first boots up.

 

But even with all the great feedback, I'm still in paralysis trying to come to a decision . . . :)

Hmm... don't follow the logic of the first small partition, particularly on an external, non-boot drive. I've got three internal drives on my system. The first is a 160GB partitioned into three drives. A primary C: partition for the operating system and all those things that programs deem necessary to put on the C: drive. A larger D: partition for applications (like EMC 8, Lotus SmartSuite... all that stuff) and a yet larger E: partition, for data, and some overflow applications, but mostly for data.

 

My main reason for keeping a small'ish C: partition with primarily just the OS on it is for ease of backup. It all still fits onto a single DVD when backed up using Acronis True Image, which is scheduled to run weekly, putting the incremental backup onto a different physical drive. That's where the real "safety net" is. Unless there's a catastrophic power surge, I don't figure I'll lose two different drives at the same time, and even if I do, I'll have a backup of the image files on external optical media. I can also image my D: "applications" drive fairly reasonably too. Essential data should be all backed up, or readily recreatable.

 

The other two drives, F: (80GB) and G: (200GB) are single partitions, and exclusively for data.

 

Now, with all that said, for your application, as external "Data" drives, I'd go with a single large partition, unless you find it easier in your mind to keep track of multiple drives. I think it's just as easy in this case to use appropriately named folders for your various data. As far as making the drive last longer by partitioning it... I can't see any reason for it to do so mechanically.

 

My two cents, add your own salt.

Edited by d_deweywright

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just one other consideration - no matter how many partions you make on a drive, it is still ONE drive.

 

Someone I know made several partitions on his one-and-only Hard Drive, and had his "main" drive backed up on two of them.

 

I don't know the details, but something to do with fire or smoke, and he lost ALL of the backups.

 

Backups should be somewhere else, like an External HD, or DVDs or CDs, or at least a 2nd HD. Not on Logical Drives created by partitioning the main drive.

 

Lynn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since these will be external drives, I don't think it makes any difference. Even defragging isn't an issue with external drives. Ever try it? It's sloooooooooow. When it comes to my external drives, I just don't defrag at all. Maybe once in a blue moon if I'm not going to use teh computer all day - cause it will take that much time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sisterscape,

 

Partitioning is the initial setting-up of your drive - what FDISK used to do for you. Every new drive has to be partitioned before you can use it. What you're discussing here is splitting the drive up into several partitions rather than just one.

 

I've heard nothing to suggest that splitting the drive into several partitions will cause or prevent drive failure, and I can't see any reason why it should. That aside, it's really a matter of personal preference based on what you want to do with the new drives.

 

In general, smaller partitions are easier to do the housekeeping on. If you are trying to find a file, you don't need to pack a lunch before setting out to find it. However you can run out of drive letters if you have a lot of partitions, and too many can complicate keeping track of things. You have to find your own balance.

 

Like Dave, I prefer to keep the partition I boot off small where possible. It's a lot easier to back up frequently with a utility such as Norton's Ghost. (I'm not sure what your local computer guy would use a 10 MB partition for.) After that I make 'em as big as they need to be.

 

Splitting external drives makes defragging quicker, too. Rather than spending a week defragging, just move all the files into an empty partition and you're done.

 

I do think that if you have more than one drive you should learn to use a partitioning utility. I prefer Partition Magic, but there are good free ones out there. XP's disk management menu will give good basic functionality, and it's built into the operating system.

 

Once you can handle that, you don't have to worry so much about dividing drives. You can change things as you need to. I wonder how much that Kim Kommando person really knows if she can't handle partitions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×