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How Should I Partition My New 500GB Hard Drive With Windows XP Pro? Answered

I have a new 500Gb Hard Drive, and I'm going to install XP Pro on it. How should I partition my drive if I plan to have a lot of pictures, a lot of music, and games on it? Also, how big is XP Pro when it is fully installed? Thanks.


Having gone through this same exercise a few times here's my 2 cents: Partitions aren't usually a good idea. Here's why. Partitions are good for separating portions of your HD, but if you get a virus or if there is a physical crash you're hooped either way. I agree that a partition will keep you pictures and movies and whatever separate, however you can achieve the exact same thing by just setting up a directory called for example c:/_partition, in there you can have folders such as one for pictures, one for movies, etc. This method has the least amount of problems associated with it, and no messy partition. Another even cleaner option is to install your OS on a completely different drive (I realize that this is the intent of a partition, however), by having it on a physically different drive if there is a crash then you only lose the OS drive, not your media. The largest drawback to this approach is that they really don't make drive that small anymore (40gigs or less), and finding one means it's old and is more prone to crashing. If you chose the route of one drive to do everything, I would allocate approximately 10gigs of space for the OS (it really only takes up less than 5gigs, but you have the space, so why risk it).

We get laptops from our school, but they partition them which is bloody annoying because the hard drives are 55.8gb, but they way they do it we get 19gb for our Local Disk and 36gb for our documents. With all they software they install on the Local Disk it takes up 17(yes 17) gb and they run bloody slowly. It has to be partitioned though so that our data is safe when they reinstall Windows, which has happened several times. Just thought i'd mention it.

Thanks for your answers, really helpful information!

Partitions in today's world of cheap SATA drives are pointless. Buy a smaller drive to install OS / Apps on and then buy two matched larger drives for data storage. Use a RAID setup to write your data to the two physical drives simultaneously for optimal data redundancy. If one crashes immediately pull data off the working drive onto a backup (preferably RAID also) and replace both drives that were controlled by the RAID.