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To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/10/2014 9:37 AM

I've just redone my PC after crashing the old HD and losing a bunch of stuff. Here's the new setup:

Everything fits on the SSD (OS, apps, data), I boot off it, and data backups to HD nightly.

Now: is there any benefit to partitioning either of these drives? Keep data in one partition on the SSD and backup to another partition on the HD? Clone OS and apps in other partitions on the two drives? Or some more exotic config?

I've read lotsa stuff on the web and just get more confused. I don't want to unnecessarily complicate my life, but will partition if it has value, i.e., more secure, more reliable, easier to maintain, better for the environment, advance mankind's destiny...

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#1

Re: To Partition or not; pros/cons

08/10/2014 11:01 AM

Once upon a time... the answer would have been yes. In the old days.... minimum cluster size was a product of partition size. So... it made sense to limit the partition to as small as required to not loose storage because of wasted space in a cluster.

Given the state of current OSs disk operations, no, or at least I am pretty sure that there is no longer that issue.

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#2

Re: To Partition or not; pros/cons

08/10/2014 11:44 AM

The space saving with multiple partitions technique Northof60 mentioned is no longer needed. Today the common reasons that people will make multiple partitions on a drive will be to isolate code. This can be for multiple virtual or backup operating systems, data protection, data encryption, and sometimes just the ease of file location selection for carbon based processors to find things.

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#3

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/10/2014 2:05 PM

Consider using a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) if you're really concerned about losing stuff. After all, the old HD crashed and that's why you're here asking this question, yes? Think about it: if the drive crashes, partititions on that drive are going south with it.

Use a RAID. At one time they were prohibitively expensive, but today they're probably cheaper than replacing your lost stuff and far cheaper in terms of the time you're putting into recovering what's left, if anything.

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#4

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/10/2014 3:03 PM

I agree with EMII's suggestion about a RAID array. If you do go that way... RAID arrays are setup in either "mirroring" or "striping" modes. A mirrored array is where the contents of 1 drive are mirrored on a 2nd drive. Striping is an array where the data is split across multiple drives to increase performance. So... if data integrity is your concern, make sure the array is setup up as a mirrored one.

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#5

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/10/2014 9:36 PM

Very good, thank you, gentlemen. It would seem partitioning has little to offer the casual user. This RAID business: is it hard to set up, and is it just a software procedure or would one need more drives?

I really just want to read, write, surf and do some spreadsheets knowing that my stuff won't disappear in a drive crash. My regular data backups, plus cloning the OS and apps when there is a change, should do it. Do you agree?

How does mirroring differ from cloning? Pros/cons?

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/10/2014 10:48 PM

A RAID is a method to configure backup hard drives. There are three or four RAID array settings one can choose between. One setting is the multiple backup drives act as a mirror drive of your main computer drive. This mode guarantees a machine that can be quickly fully recovered regardless of which drive fails but slows everything down to a little slower than the slowest hard drive. Another mode distributes the backup information across the two drives with a compressed data table. In the event of any of the three drives failing (main, B1 or B2) the intact two drives and their compressed data reference will be able to eventually rebuild a new system. This will be faster in normal operation than a mirror but significantly slower in recovery time. Then there's the mode where the other drivers are just an external data site. A separate backup program must be told which files and folders should be stored on the external drives. This slows down operations the least and the user must actively decide which files to store. I also takes the most amount to recover but retains the most amount of usable storage space.

I think that there's a fourth mode but I cannot remember it.

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#7

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/11/2014 8:10 AM

If the data lost is of some value to you it can be restored. When a hard drive fails it's usually mechanical or electrical. The information is still on the disc. Have some one that knows what they are doing reclaim the information. The disc can be removed and placed in a working hard drive of the same type and read.

As others have said a RAID set up where the information is being written to two disc would be a solution for farther lost. There is also software out there that would do the same. Norton Ghost is one. I use Acronis which does a real time back up. If it slows the computer it's not noticeable.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/11/2014 8:24 AM

The last 'hard' drive I lost was an SSD. It was new, so basically all I lost was what came on the drive from the factory (Dell's. The screen also arrived with dead pixels. XPS Studio Pro, loaded. So much for Dell's QA).

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#9

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/12/2014 10:58 AM

This sounds like your home computer so this may not apply but here at work all the computers are networked and many SW files are saved on the network. Sometimes CAD operators realize faster rebuild and response times when working on a local hard drive that is partitioned to not be on the network.

So what they do is retrieve a model or file from the network and save it to a non-networked partition of their local hard drive and then when the work is done they will save it back to the network.

The risk is if the local hard drive fails only the networked data can be retrieved and all is lost on the non-networked partition.

Good Luck.

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#10

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/12/2014 12:53 PM

Yeah, it's my home PC. FYI, when it crashed I took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, and they 1) wanted to sell me a new PC, then 2) sold me a new HDD. The option of trying to retrieve info was never offered, and the Geek knew less than me about computers. Oh, they charged me $200 plus the cost of the HDD; seems like you have to take their "service contract" to get any work done. I won't be going back.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

08/12/2014 11:15 PM

I watched here as one of the Squad Geeks hooked up speakers to a *powered* amp, blowing the amp in the process. I'd purchased a unit like it the day before and brought it back to the store for an exchange because it didn't work - it too was blown. I'd asked them to verify that the new one worked before it left the store. I was so disgusted I got a refund instead and walked out. The Squad Geeks here couldn't blow their own noses without detailed, step-by-step instructions and strict supervision.

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#12

Re: To Partition or Not; Pros/Cons

10/03/2014 4:04 AM

Yes, yes and no... not necessarily in that order. Partition to facilitate a one button restore function is a major major goo-ud deal. Partitioning to enable parity of dissimilar media issues is a real hoot too. Putting your O/S on a smaller (60-80GB SSD drive) is prudent. RAID well let's say NAS (network assigned storage) is available in free NAS format; you'll want to check that out on youtube.

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