Partitioning strategy

  The Mountaineer 11:07 12 Jul 2009

For some time now I've always partitioned my hard drives into two partitions on laptops and PC's, one for Windows and programmes, the other for data including all personal files but NOT programme data or settings.
I am Mr Goody Twoshoes when it comes to backups also with full system and file backups done to two locations daily.
Soon to purchase a new laptop and have started to wonder whether there should be three partitions rather than two, one for Windows, one for programmes, one for files/data. My confusion is partly caused by the My Documents folder which is by default on the C drive, contains Programme Files, but I never put anything else in it since I use a seperate partition for business, charity and personal files.
So, the question: Three partitions or two please?

  Pine Man 11:24 12 Jul 2009

If you are doing a 'full system and file backups' everyday why bother with any partitions?

  MAT ALAN 11:24 12 Jul 2009

Partitions are technically flawed, Fine if you want to keep certain files all neat and tidy (my PC is partitioned) BUT if the HDD that is partitioned fails they are useless. sensibly an extra (external HDD) would be a better option...

  john bunyan 11:27 12 Jul 2009

I have two partitions, one for windows and all application programmes, and the other for "My Documents" I also keep the downloaded programmes themselves on this second drive - when I download I "save" the file, then "run" it to the first C drive so I have the download in case a reinstall is needed.. You can default My documents to the second drive. My Acronis and other back ups all are happy with two. I personally think two is enough.

  DieSse 14:02 12 Jul 2009

I think your current strategy is fine - as long as you're backing up onto external media.

MAT ALAN - "Partitions are technically flawed"

I've not heard that said before - in what way - or are you just referring to backup strategies (which are only ever sensible onto external media).

  LastChip 14:35 12 Jul 2009

Are they?

You'd better tell that to all the data centre managers around the world that use partitions in massive data bases every day of the year.

The point about partitions on a single drive, is it lets you reload the operating system, without destroying your data; a not uncommon procedure with Windows.

However, no partitioning system (with the exception of RAID 5 or better), will protect you from mechanical failure, but this is not the question that was asked.

I can't see any reason why you should need three partitions, unless you specifically want to configure your system that way. But much depends on how you manage your backups. If it's an automated backup, you may well want to separate out your personal files and hence, three partitions may be required.

I wonder if this is something Vista introduced, as XP certainly doesn't behave like that. Programs are situated on the "C" root. I can't comment on Vista, as I refuse to use it under any circumstances. In fact, as many here are already aware, I rarely use Windows at all any more.

  LastChip 14:40 12 Jul 2009

RAID 5 is not a partitioning system as such, but an array of hard drives arranged in such a way, that some hardware failure can be tolerated. The partition system sits on top of the RAID array.

  The Mountaineer 14:43 12 Jul 2009

Thanks for all the replies so far. I seem to have opened a can of worms, so to speak.
To try to answer some of the points made about why I specifically partition:
1. Performance, since I have been led to believe that separating the data from the OS improves it.
2. Reinstalling the OS, since it can be done without destroying data although this is negated by having a backup
To comment on the use of external hard disks instead of partitioning, my netbook has NO personal data on it at all. I access anything I want from my WD Passport external disk as required.
My initial query relates to 1 & 2 above since I wondered if seperating programmes from the OS helped performance AND, if programmes are on a seperate partition too then a reinstall of the OS will not need a day spent in reinstalling all the programmes.

  MAT ALAN 14:54 12 Jul 2009

DieSse, sorry mate the idea of partitioning is fine, me, i have lets say the "belt and braces" approach to backing up.

What i mean by flawed is some people seem to think it is all you need to satisfy some sort of backup strategy if you only have one HDD (as per say a lappy).One HDD partitioned all your files/progs neat and tidy, one for MUSIC GAMES PHOTO ALBUM "BACKUP", HDD fails you loose the lot.
the ideal scenario is of course another HDD or removable media like DvD....

i have suffered catstrophic failure in the past and it cost me dear.

to put it simply for anyone who thinks backing up to a seperate partition is enough, ITS NOT...

  DieSse 17:03 12 Jul 2009

"1. Performance, since I have been led to believe that separating the data from the OS improves it."

I can see no reason for that to be the case.

You cannot separate the OS and programs, then just reinstall the OS - it won't work. Programs (the vast majority) write stuff into the Registry, and various other places in the OS. Re-installing just an OS partition would mean probably all of the installed software wouldn't function.

  DieSse 17:07 12 Jul 2009

BTW - simply having your personal data on an external drive is not a backup strategy - you need at least one other separate copy, preferably on a different drive.

You did say you did backups to two locations - so I'm presuming you know what you're doing - only making the point for clarification of others that may read this.

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