This decision should be made when installing the hard drive in your computer. Do you need partitions at all, what are their benefits and are there any disadvantages?
If you bought a large capacity hard drive, you have two possible ways to use it. The first is simply to install it in your computer and use it. The second is to partition the disk (i.e., create several virtual disks). What is the best way to do it?
How does the number of partitions affect Windows?
A hard disk drive is a plate on which information is stored and a read head, which is racing through the surface of the plate in search of the right files. Data is written sequentially to each free cell, but what happens when the hard drive is partitioned?
Physically there is no way to divide it, it is done with the program. And you need it rather for convenience. It doesn’t affect the speed of the disk. It all depends on what data the system needs at the moment and in what sequence it is located.
Suppose you have a 1 TB hard drive and it is not partitioned. In that case, every new information will be written to the first available free cell – that is, right after the space is occupied. And it doesn’t matter if it’s system garbage, a downloadable game or an open project in some program. The disk will be filled in evenly and gradually.
If, as is customary, you have allocated 30% of the disk’s capacity for the system and programs (disk C), and 70% for games, movies and other files (disk D), the reader head (in theory) will need more time to process the files on the logical disk D, when they are active. In this case, the files are grouped and located next to each other, which reduces the time it takes for the read head to move. In practice, however, the performance gain from this division is tiny. But it is still convenient in some cases.
It is a good practice to periodically back up your operating system. It can save a lot of time in case of system failures. Why look for a problem when you can restore the entire system from an image in a few minutes? Of course, in this case a similar but simpler tool can be useful – restore points. But they will not save you if the system disk fails completely. We wrote more about this in another article.
So, the backups weigh quite a lot, and when there are a lot of them, you need a separate hard drive. By partitioning the disk, you tritely reduce the time it takes to create a system backup and its final capacity. Which backup partition will be created faster and take up less space? By 200 GB or 1000 GB? We think the answer is obvious.
Re-installation of the operating system
We all reinstall Windows regularly. Over time, the operating system is jammed with garbage, which is quite difficult to clean. Various errors accumulate and in general the software starts to work slower. All this is solved by simply reinstalling the system, which is much easier to do when the disk is partitioned.
If there is only one partition, there is a need to move the information. And if the operating system does not start up, it is quite problematic to do so. You have to connect the hard drive to another PC or start with a LiveCD. There are other ways to do this, but they all take time. Why would you want to waste it? You can just tear down the system partition and leave the others. This will save you a lot of time.
There are several operating systems
If you do not separate the drive and install multiple operating systems in the same directory, it will inevitably cause different failures. Windows is a rather naughty operating system, and it is very sensitive to boot files. You cannot place them on the same logical drive. By simply separating them, you will significantly increase the stability of all installed operating systems.
Hard disk maintenance
If you want your HDD to work fast, you will have to defragment it from time to time. The duration of this operation depends on the intensity of hard disk usage as well as its capacity. Defragmentation – organizes files so that data is grouped together and the reader head takes less time to find the necessary information.
This procedure may take several hours. In case of particularly active use of the computer, it has to be performed every week. During defragmentation, it is extremely undesirable to use any programs and to place heavy loads on system processes. The more active you use the features of the OS, the more files are created during its operation. These files interfere with the sorting process and the defragmentation efficiency is reduced.
When the drive is partitioned, the data created during operation is only stored on the system partition and does not affect the other partition in any way. The same is true for different programs. Therefore, if you regularly defragment large amounts of information, it is recommended that you partition the drive to improve file ordering efficiency.