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Best setup for a storage-only 60GB HD?

btvillarin

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If my subject isn't self explanatory, I'll explain more. I have a 60GB WD600AB. It supplements my IBM 75GXP (in case it dies or something), and is only used to hold documents, mp3s, downloaded software. But, I'm pondering if it'd be better to partition it. I've also read that partitions over 32GB should be NTFS. I was redirected from the Anandtech FAQs to this page:

<A HREF="http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cook/Cluster.htm" target="_new">http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cook/Cluster.htm</A>

Any suggestions? I have a 128MB swap file on my 60GB drive, at the front of it (optimized with VoptMe 6.2). I was thinking of having this in it's own partition. Then, another for just small documents, another for Music/Music Videos, another for programs, and yet another for backups (I use Drive Image).

BTW, even though I'm currently running Win98, I'm gonna migrate to Win2K fairly soon.

Thanks for any suggestions! Any links would also be helpful, because the more I learn, the better. :smile:

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Lars_Coleman

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One thing to keep in mind is that the only reason you would want multiple partitions on the drive is for a smaller cluster sizes and ease of use.

If you will be able to find things easier with everything on it's own partition then that's what you should do.

<A HREF="http://www.storagereview.com/welcome.pl/http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/file/partSlack.html" target="_new">Check this</A>

Other then that if you use a lot of small files and they aren't very large (ie MP3's) then you would want a small cluster size. If you use bigger files then you don't really need to worry if they're big or small.

The whole reason behind the cluster size is because if you have smaller files and a large cluster size then you will use a large cluster for a small file that doesn't fill the whole cluster. If that happens the space that you didn't use isn't going to be used and will be wasted.

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Toejam31

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If it was me, and I was dual-booting Win98SE and Win2K, I'd put at least two partitions on the second drive ... perhaps even three or four.

First ... Win98SE and Win2K can use the same paging file, and that should be on the second drive for performance (as you already know.) This doesn't necessarily need to be in a separate partition, but you may prefer to do it this way in order to decrease fragmentation. If so, due to the amount of memory in your system, I'd make the partition 1536MB. Win2K, by default, will set the paging file minimum size at half again the amount of RAM physically installed in the system, and the maximum amount twice that. With this much virtual memory, in a separate partition, you'll need never worry about paging with either OS.

The next partition I'd create just for Win2K.

The third for extra third-party programs, such as games.

The fourth for personal files.

I'd distribute the free space among the three major partitions evenly.

There are a couple of advantages to the partitioning. One, the cluster size will be smaller, so the drive will be more efficient due to reduced slack space. Two, if you ever suffer an impending failure of the secondary drive, you'll have a little extra time to be able to move your personal files off the drive. I've had a drive fail twice this year while running a dual-boot ... and by using the XCOPY command from a Win98 DOS Prompt, I was able to save the majority of my files and move them to the primary drive. Without an extra partition, that wouldn't have been possible.

Also ... having smaller parities will make it easier to back up with Drive Image. The program works best if the image is placed on a separate partition on the hard drive, and then burned to CD's.

If course ... this is assuming the file system is FAT32, which is best for a dual-boot. But ... if you migrate to Win2K and drop Win98 completely, the situation changes somewhat.

Cluster sizes in NTFS don't get larger and larger as the size of the partition is increased. The maximum cluster size is 4kb for all partitions over 2.0GB, regardless of their size. So the problem of increased slack space as the partition size increases is null and void.

This means, with a single OS installation of Win2K, NTFS is the best choice for efficiency. It is also more secure than FAT32, making it more difficult to become infected with a boot sector virus.

With two hard drives, Win2K, and NTFS, I'd have three partitions. One on the primary, and two on the secondary.

The active partition for the OS, of course. The first partition on the second hard drive for the paging file. The rest for personal files. I'd pay more attention to having an organized directory structure when using NTFS than worrying about whether my personal programs were installed in the primary active partition.

Note: Partitions over 32GB don't <i>have</i> to be NTFS. But if you use the Win2K disk to create NTFS partitions, that will be the limitation. If you want larger partitions, create them with a Win98 boot disk, and then install the OS. You can always go back later and convert the partitions from FAT32 to NTFS, whenever you wish. You won't suffer any performance degradation doing this in Win2K, unlike in NT 4.0.

There is a limit to the amount of partitions that I'd place on the drives. Too many partitions, and you'll just end up having to resize them if a volume becomes full.

If you are wondering about gaming and NTFS ... it doesn't matter. File system calls are handled by the OS, not the application. It may be even faster than FAT32, because it is very good at indexing (locating and reading individual file headers.

Of course, you might be interested in knowing that I'm not anywhere near to following my own advice. <GRIN> I'm running two drives, each partitioned in half ... both FAT32. If there is any system performance loss ... I don't see it. And I don't have to deal with defragging the MFT, or having the paging file in 32 segments, etc. I compress all my installation files with WinZip, and move them onto CD's. I don't mess around with boot-time defragmenting, except to move organize the directories. I keep the system clean, and defrag everyday ... and everything runs fine.

I guess I'm just basically lazy at heart, and this setup was sufficient for me! But if you are determined to squeeze all the speed possible out of your system, don't do as I do ... do as I say! LOL!

That's my contribution. Varying crazed opinions are encouraged! I think.

Yeehaw!!

Toejam31

P.S. Here's a link that will keep you occupied for a while:

<A HREF="http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/index.htm" target="_new">http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/file/index.htm</A>

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btvillarin

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Thanks Lars...that's exactly what I was concluding about my situation. Let's see what Toejam's gotta say...

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btvillarin

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With two hard drives, Win2K, and NTFS, I'd have three partitions. One on the primary, and two on the secondary.
This is what I was deciding on.

The active partition for the OS, of course. The first partition on the second hard drive for the paging file. The rest for personal files. I'd pay more attention to having an organized directory structure when using NTFS than worrying about whether my personal programs were installed in the primary active partition.
I'm actually pretty organized, so that isn't a problem. I'm basically a neat freak. But, this is also what I was lookin' at.

And I don't have to deal with defragging the MFT, or having the paging file in 32 segments, etc.
What's all this about defragging the MFT and the paging file in 32 segments???

I compress all my installation files with WinZip, and move them onto CD's. I don't mess around with boot-time defragmenting, except to move organize the directories. I keep the system clean, and defrag everyday ... and everything runs fine.
How and why do you compress all the installation files? What's boot time defragging? Would you mind explaining?

Last question (for now, of course): what do you use to defragment Win2K? Just the one that comes with Win2K? Would it be worth it to get Diskeeper? Is it faster?

I guess I'm gonna set up my 2nd hard drive so that there's a first empty partition for the swap files. I'm debating if I should use NTFS for my first HD. I mean, I have PartitionMagic, and I can always go back. Anyways, my first priority overnight is to create a partition for the swap files.

Thanks for all the reading material! :smile:

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Toejam31

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Okay, there's a couple of things about NTFS that you should know.

First, the Master File Table.

<A HREF="http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q174/6/19.asp" target="_new">http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q174/6/19.asp</A>

<A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/administration/fileandprint/defrag.asp" target="_new">http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/administration/fileandprint/defrag.asp</A>

<A HREF="http://www.pureperformance.com/js/showtip.asp?id=20" target="_new">http://www.pureperformance.com/js/showtip.asp?id=20</A>

Obviously, over time, as files are deleted and moved around, the MFT can become fragmented, as it can increase in size, but not decrease.

You can't defrag the MFT from within Windows ... it must be done using a utility that performs this process during the boot.

This is not something that needs to be done that often, but having a fragmented MFT will definitely have an impact on the system performance.

Paging file:

Like all files, this can become highly fragmented, and as with the MFT, in order for the file to be contiguous, a utility must be used during the boot.

This is because the built-in disk defragmenter tool in the OS can't move certain files ... they are excluded by default.

<A HREF="http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q227/3/50.ASP" target="_new">http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q227/3/50.ASP</A>

Boot-time Defragmentation is a feature that comes with more advanced third-party utilities. It allows you to run CHKDSK before any other operations, to consolidate the Directory structure, reduce the Paging File fragments, defrag the MFT, and produce a summary file to the folder of your choice.

All of these operations can be scheduled, or done manually. You can also select the memory priority for each method.

I use Diskeeper. There are other choices, but I have always been satisfied with the program. The newest version, Diskeeper 7, is very fast ... many, many times faster than the "light" version that comes with the OS.

*********************************************************

NTFS allows you to selectively compress files and folders on the disk. This is something that you can't do with FAT32. Therefore, I use WinZip to compress files on the drive and archive them. This is just to free up disk space and keep the files organized. However, the advantage to having native compression support in a file system and OS is not needing a third party program to view or open the compressed files. NTFS is superior to FAT32 in this respect.

I generally compress and save all installation files for my programs and burn them to disk. This is because I dislike installing an OS on a machine and having to download all the updates, patches, and other programs all over again.

You know, after typing all of this, I think I've talked myself into converting my partitions to NTFS again! It just makes more sense to run a high-performance file system with Win2K. It's time for me to stop being lazy, and get with it.

It's easy to do, even if you don't select NTFS during the OS installation. There is a tool called Convert.exe:

<A HREF="http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q214/5/79.ASP" target="_new">http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q214/5/79.ASP</A>

Note: If you are going to dual-boot, and want the two operating systems to share the virtual memory:

<A HREF="http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cook/dualshare.htm" target="_new">http://web.ukonline.co.uk/cook/dualshare.htm</A>

The file system for both operating systems must be FAT32 for this to work.

Toejam31

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btvillarin

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NTFS allows you to selectively compress files and folders on the disk. This is something that you can't do with FAT32. Therefore, I use WinZip to compress files on the drive and archive them. This is just to free up disk space and keep the files organized. However, the advantage to having native compression support in a file system and OS is not needing a third party program to view or open the compressed files. NTFS is superior to FAT32 in this respect.
Do you mean programs that you've download and stuff? I have these in the other HD...

Anyways, I guess that means I gotsta go buy Diskeeper. I think I'll do the electronic download, yes no? (I'll actually go out of my way to try to find it online before having to buy it. :lol:

I've made up my mind that when I get Win2K, I'm not gonna use FAT32. So, that's cool.

Thanks for enlightening me once again... :smile:

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Toejam31

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With NTFS, you can compress <i>any</i> files or folders that you wish, including entire partitions. They won't be "zipped", as such, or archived in a folder ... just compressed.

There's some performance loss when doing this, so it's best to only compress infrequently accessed files, or anything personal, like downloaded installation files, hotfixes, security updates, etc. But it will save on some disk space, if needed.

The performance loss is not that bad ... I used to compress photographs all the time, and still access them on a regular basis. And I normally have around 40 to 50 thousand pics on a partition at any one time. So sue me; I like nude chicks. A lot. LOL!

You also have the option of displaying the compressed files in the folder tree a different color than the rest. That makes it easy to tell them apart.

Yeah ... I don't have a CD copy of Diskeeper ... I've always done the electronic download, myself.

Good luck finding a copy! Be aware that the download is around 14MB. And don't settle for less than the 6.0SE version ... the regular 6.0 version is too slow.

I'm always glad to help ... give a holler if you want me to try and answer anything specific. I do my best.

See ya ...

Toey (aka: The Man Of A Thousand Confusing Disorganized Links)

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