Getting a laptop, partition/security advice please

  eaglesrjh 09:45 17 May 2012

Ok I'm getting a new laptop delivered today and want to do the right things from the start.


The laptop has Windows 7 home premium 64 bit and a 750gb hard drive.

I want to do as much as possible with already installed software or free software.

I dont currently have any external drives or usb drives, i do have a load of blank dvds.

My thoughts

I'm thinking creating a partition for the windows operating system and a seperate one for data, does that make sense. If so how do i do it?

what should be on the system partition? Microsoft office for example? other program files?

Other partition would be for files, games, pictures, music etc. or is it worth multiple partitions?

Is it worth creating another partition for an image of the system partition on can that go on the data partiton. How do you create this image? how often should you do it and should it be saved to a dvd too?

Is there any easy way of doing incremental backups of part of the data drive? we would be gutted to lose our pictures, not so worried by files or music.

Anything else you would recommend doing. basically want to start right and keep it going from there.

all advice greatly appreciated.

  Nontek 09:58 17 May 2012

Depending on where you bought the laptop with Win7 pre-installed, it may already have a backup partition (hidden) already installed - probably best to ask the Vender.

I would advise getting an external hard drive on which to keep Full Backups created by using Acronis True Image. I would not make Incremental backups, only Full Backups, at least fortnightly, or weekly if you make lots of changes.

I personally do not believe in making multiple partitions and have never done so - just making more potential for possible problems IMHO.

Make sure you have one good Anti-virus and at least one Anti-Malware program - I recommend MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials (free) and MalwareBytes Anti-Malware also free, though the paid for version is better.

  eaglesrjh 10:53 17 May 2012

thanks for that,

so are you saying back up EVERYTHING fortnightly, so all photos etc everytime?

Is it not worth creating a system partition so at least if windows goes kaput then i can recreate from backup of that partition only leaving my data in tact?

  john bunyan 11:20 17 May 2012

I believe it is far easier for backing up to have the PS and programmes on the C partition (about 120 gig, and data on another. See here for my comments on an earlier thread:

Back up suggestions. 1. I would partition main drive into about 100 gigs for system and programmes, balance for Data. I make a Master folder on the Data partition called “ My Documents” Under that I have all the other folders, such as “ My Music”, “My Pictures” etc, and even “My Outlook” (i.e. my e Mails. 2. For the Data I use Freefilesynch (free) daily to make a mirror image of the Data partition to my second drive. My second SATA drive is mounted in the tower in a removable caddy. I also have a third HD in another caddy, same size as main drive which I keep elsewhere. I also have a USB HD. 3. You cannot simply copy OS and programme files. You can either use the W7 back up – I will not go into that as I do not use it as it seems too long and complicated. A special programme has to be used, of which a popular one is Acronis True Image. 4. There are two ways to use it (some use the continuous method but I do not know how!). a) An Image – either an incremental or a full image. I have found it better to do a full image. An Image can be of just a partition. In my case the C: Partition of 100gig, of which about 60 gigs is in use. I make an image to my USB drive about weekly, after running antivirus and anti malware scans and a defrag. These have to be “verified” using ATI, I keep the last two and delete the oldest when I make the third. 5. About once a month, after the scans, I use my removable caddy based drive that I keep elsewhere to make a clone of the whole of the main drive. A clone is an exact copy of the whole drive with all partitions, usually used if the main drive is on its last legs. Should it be needed you can use the Acronis CD to boot the PC and tell it to use the image or clone to replace the partition or drive you want to restore.

  john bunyan 11:22 17 May 2012

With a laptop the back ups would be to a USB HD. It is far quicker to back up data using a mirror image copy.

  eaglesrjh 12:06 17 May 2012

Ok it's now arrived and has the following

c: local disk 651GB free of 679gb

d: recovery 1.61gb free of 14.5gb

e: HP_TOOLS 1.08gb free of 3.95gb

so is the D: drive auto setup as a image or does it just have some basic files?

to be clear i bought it as a refurb so it does not have it's documentation.

also 679+14.5+3.95= 697.45GB total space was advertised as 750gb so wheres my 52.55gb gone?

  Nontek 12:09 17 May 2012

so are you saying back up EVERYTHING fortnightly, so all photos etc everytime? .............

Yes, exactly. It does not take very long, I have approx 100Gb of data which takes about 1hr to make a Full Backup. If a Restore is needed then that takes a lot less time, and you know that you will have Everything back to normal as it was before any catastrophe.

If the computer goes belly-up, so does the Partition!!

  Nontek 12:11 17 May 2012

That 'missing' 52Gb is used up by the OS (Win7) and the other software that is already pre-installed.

As I guessed, D: is your emergency backup of the OS (Win7 only).

  eaglesrjh 12:16 17 May 2012

but is that not part of the used space on C: already?

so do i still need to do an image of C: or is that what you mean D: is,

can i set it somehow to automatically update this as well?

thanks for all the help.

  Nontek 12:23 17 May 2012

No, you do not update D: - this is for emergency use only and if needed simply resets the PC to Factory condition as at time of installation. It does not include your subsequent installation of programs/pics etc. This is why a separate backup is required - that is, Acronis Full Backup, saved on a separate hard-drive, as per my recommendation.

  john bunyan 12:31 17 May 2012

I would partition the c drive into 120 gig for the os and future programme files, leaving about 530 for data (say the F Partition). Forget the recovery ones, they are for a doomsday recovery. Then I would do as I said above, - create your data master folder on this new F partition - Say "My Documents", with al the sub folders like "My Pictures", My Videos, My Music, etc. I find it far quicker the back the data up using Freefilesync than a ATI image. Once you have copied the "My Documents" folder to the other drive, subsequent (I do it daily) mirror image copies takes less than a minute as only deleted or added or modified files are involved. The OS , programme partition needs imaging with ATI or similar, I even have my Outlook mail ina a sub folder of my documents. I used Easeus (free) to partition.

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