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Old 11. May 2011, 06:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Best way to organise a 1 TB Sata drive?

I was thinking of trying to simplify and organise my hard disk and all the data, programs, music (a lot), documents, photos etc much better than the mess it is in at the minute. I was just wondering if any of you guys had a good system of your own, or any ideas? ie separate folders for music, docs, photos etc. My music particularly is scattered all over and seems to have no system of organisation at all. Also would it be better to have separate partitions to aid better organisation? If so what sort of size divisions would you suggest? Would it be better for example to definitely at least a separate boot and Windows partition?

Yours in anticipation and thanks

Wekslap
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Old 11. May 2011, 11:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by wekslap View Post
I was just wondering if any of you guys had a good system of your own, or any ideas? ie separate folders for music, docs, photos etc. My music particularly is scattered all over and seems to have no system of organisation at all. Also would it be better to have separate partitions to aid better organisation? If so what sort of size divisions would you suggest? Would it be better for example to definitely at least a separate boot and Windows partition?
I've tried a lot of configurations over the years and found that the solution depends upon a few simple factors I've listed below. I've forgotten more than I can remember about the technical details but hope this helps.

My Windows configuration is usually like this.
  1. Boot disk
    Cache/virtual memory
    Operating System and most programs
  2. Settings
    Often modified documents, email, etc
  3. Large programs that are used/updated infrequently or don't need backups.
    Downloads related to the system ie hardware and software
  4. Written then largely unchanged data files e.g. photographs, videos, music
  5. Local disk images and backups
This has 9 groups which on one drive could be 9 partitions but I usually go for 5 partitions. Performance is not an issue so I don't do a separate partition for virtual memory. I just get it setup permanently when installing Windows.

I don't worry about getting partition sizes incorrect because, once I've got backups, I reorganize with a good partition manager.

Two would be the least number of partitions I would use because you should separate the software from your data.


Performance
Which files need the best performance?
There are low-level technical issues related to drive technology and operating system features but I'd largely ignore them unless performance is very critical.

Use multiple drives and partitions to give the best performance to files in this sort of order:
  1. virtual memory/caching - I always try to put it on a dedicated partition or drive particularly for UNIX-like systems.
  2. operating system
  3. temporary files - they often change the most
  4. applications - aren't modified as often but the faster they are read the quicker you can get into your work
  5. most changeable data - regularly modified e.g. settings, primary documents email.
  6. least changeable data - once written it isn't modified e.g. music, photos, archives.

Convenience
Separate the files onto different partitions to make it easier to do various tasks. I have files I don't backup e.g. games, original download files for software installs, OS copies, etc. These are tasks I commonly do:
  • Reinstall the operating system (OS)
  • Reinstall application programs
  • Back-up and restore OS
  • Back-up and restore applications - I usually do this with the OS because they are so interlinked
  • Back-up and restore data
  • Clean-up unneeded files and other housekeeping tasks
  • Erasing personal information when get rid of system - it is quicker to only use more secure wipes on the data areas.

Security
It used to be the case that many viruses use the operating system defaults such as "C:\Windows" to find their target. So greater security was achieved from by not using the defaults. In general, that will remain true. The problem is that a minority software will also assume the defaults apply.
Here's some ideas that are relevant:
  • Have a partition that is only used to boot your system.
  • Don't use the defaults where that is convenient. But if you are using OS supplied security at the folder and file level then usually it is best to go with most default settings because there will be less setup and maintenance required later on. Again this is more important for UNIX-like systems
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Old 12. May 2011, 12:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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There, I've already thought of things I've forgotten to say. I apologise that this is getting too wordy.

This comment is not about partitions but about organizing your files.

I always use folders to organize my photographs and videos. This means that I can change program and I don't have to lose too much information. It also means that I can search backup files to find the files and folders to find that I want when I don't have access to the application programs.

Usually, I group by media type (photo, video, music, picture, etc.) but this not essential because the end use is more important. Why not mix video and photo for a family event?

Any date related content has a folder name beginning with the date in YYYYMMDD order e.g. 20110512 is 12 May 2011. This means they appear in data order when I view a folder.

I usually group photographs by event so I can have more than one folder for a day. I put the initials of important people in the name e.g. first two initials of family members (it means when my daughter got married and changed her surname I don't have to update her initials). If I took photos of my day so far I would be grouping them in folders like this.
20110512 Breakfast CA JJ JD
20110512 CRE at Waterloo
20110512 Posting to forum on TSA
20110512 Lunch IM

If I did a file search for " IM " I would find all folder with photos or videos of this friend.

You can take this down to the individual photo level but it is usually not necessary because most folders only have a screenful of files.

Some will say this is a waste of time when photo files have the date created and internally store date details. Well it is common to lose the original file dates. But I have also lost internal date information (bad programs, user error, bad conversions, etc) meaning that I have no idea when some photos were taken except that I've stored them in a date named folder.

I also group dated content by year because otherwise I get too many folders.
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Old 12. May 2011, 01:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would just use 2 partitions. One for the System, and another for the Data.
Their size is dependent on how large your OS installation is. Leave at least 10 GB free for the System, if you don't add things regularly. If you do, at least 20 GB. There rest goes to Data.

Backups should be on another drive, but putting it in Data or another partition is okay.

Also, what is your OS? If it's Vista+, I would recommend leaving more space, because of many further patches.
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Old 12. May 2011, 10:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My advice would be to keep it fairly simple. It'll be easier/less time consuming to set up and manage.

For example, under Windows 7 I find three partitions to be enough for my purposes.

First partition is C: System files and program files etc.
Second partition is reserved for games and related programs (Steam, Fraps etc.)
Third Partition contains my personal files i.e. My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, My Videos folders plus any other additional data such as the Downloads folder.

This way I can backup/image my system partition and personal data partition separately while avoiding the large amounts of data associated with installed games files and the like.

I've actually allocated 80GB for the system partition which I know is a bit over the top (currently only 25GB of it is used), but I considered it wasn't much out of 1TB and I know I'm not going to run out of space for updates and additional third party software installations any time soon!

Last edited by Sope; 12. May 2011 at 10:09 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 12. May 2011, 10:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Before you go down the road into partitioning your hard drive, I recommend that you read the following article. He gives several strong reasons for NOT partitioning a hard drive.

After reading this article, I choose not to partition my hard drive. I've never regretted that decision.

http://askbobrankin.com/partitioning...ard_drive.html

P.S. I realize that I am probably in the minority on this opinion.
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Old 12. May 2011, 11:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kendall View Post
After reading this article, I choose not to partition my hard drive. I've never regretted that decision.

http://askbobrankin.com/partitioning...ard_drive.html

P.S. I realize that I am probably in the minority on this opinion.
I completely agree with the author with regard to putting installed programs, page file etc. on separate partitions being a poor idea, and also moving Windows to a partition other than C: being needless. Also giving folders containing music, photos etc. their own individual partitions is unnecessary.

However, I disagree with his statement that defragging and backup becomes more of a chore. Personally I would say it becomes more efficient when you separate your personal data from your system and installed program files.
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Old 12. May 2011, 11:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sope View Post
However, I disagree with his statement that defragging and backup becomes more of a chore. Personally I would say it becomes more efficient when you separate your personal data from your system and installed program files.
Indeed. Imagine defragging terabytes of files. You only need to do that for system and programs in order to increase performance.
As for Backup, bloating my disk image with data unrelated to my system is not an option. Those should be backed up separately (or better yet, synced).
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