Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top


I have a Biostar TA790GX3A2+ Mobo

2x Seagate 750Gb Hard drive (with 2 different speeds)

an X4 9750

A GeForce 9800GT

and 2GB RAM

Hardware Specs link text

I want to configure my computer with partitions in various RAID arrays.

The Partitions I know i want (disk letters are mostly for reference here)

C: XP Boot

D: XP Swap

E: XP Run

F: Games

G: Data

The Partitions I think I want (repeat caveat)

H: small FAT for Win Legacy and DOS

I: Linux

J: Linux Swap

K-?M?: Other Linux /whatever partitions

N & O: Attic for D1 and D2

What I'd like to do, is have C: written on Disk 1 (D1),.. D: on D2,.. E: and F: striped on D1 & D2,.. G: mirrored or D1 & D2,.. I: on D2 (so i can just switch disc boot priority to open in Ubuntu),.. J: on D1,.. and H: somewhere low on D1

I am inexperienced with VMs, so i am unsure as to whether those run out of XP, or whether i need to reserve a primary partition for them. However, I think they would be preferable for testing new OS's to scheduling a partition for the same purpose.

I'm also not married to XP, but -64 IS pretty important to me.

QUestion Time

1) Ignoring the irrationality of it all, is such a configuration possible? If not, can some pseudo-approximation be achieved?

2) My RAID is software, isnt it?

3) How much should I short a 750GB HD? And should i use that space for my attics, or for my attics and something else, or for something else (.iso's perhaps?)?

4) if XP is striped on D1 & D2, will that interfere egregiously with my Swap writes on D2? If so, would striping both XP and Swap relieve (or at least mitigate) that issue? Should XP and Swap just be written normally on 2 different HDs?

5) Should I keep DL's and Drivers on E: (XP Run), F: (Games), or elsewhere?

6) Is 4GB enough for C:?

7) Is 30GB enough (or too much) for E:?

8) How much to reserve for the Linux and sub-Linux partitions? Also, where on the platter do you think i should put them?

9) Am I a fool to use FAT16 instead of FAT32 for H: because I'd rather run 95 than 98SE? If not, do you think 2GB or 4GB?

10) I cant predict what my Max Commit Charge will be, so recommendations for Pagefile size? 5GB? 12GB?

11) VMs, where do I run them? do they exacerbate anything? Would it be better to just emulate Linux, 95, and DOS?

EC) What havent I considered that I really should?

Notes: computer is mostly for playing games and watching media, though I wouldnt rule out the use of particularly blah-intensive anything.

share|improve this question
I'm not going to be much help answering all your questions, but for starters, if you want to virtualise anything, you'll need a whole lot more RAM than 2GB. 4GB is minimum, 8GB is recommended. Then your RAID configuration (which isn't possible on the physical layer - I'd just do a straight mirror) wouldn't be an issue. – user3463 Apr 4 '10 at 23:07
Naturally, the extra RAM puts you into 64-bit territory, so that answers the host OS question as well, or you could get close to the metal with xen or something. – user3463 Apr 4 '10 at 23:08
noted. 2GB was just to make it cheap to buy. picked my mobo cuz in 64 it will handle 16GB. thx for the tip tho. – beauregarde Apr 4 '10 at 23:36
  1. No. No.
  2. It depends on the jumper settings. pins 1-2 for software, 3-4 for hardware. Unless you have no pins, then it's software on weekends.
  3. Drives should never be shorted more than 4-5 cm. for a 750GB, 3.2 should be enough.
  4. Yes.
  5. Keep all D's on E and all L's on F. It holds colour better that way.
  6. It's too much.
  7. Blue.
  8. This is a matter of personal preference. I keep them on the left so they load first.
  9. See 7.
  10. Just remove RAM to match whatever partition space you want.
  11. Emulation requires a steady hand, too much and it splits. If so re-heat and stir rapidly.

EC: 2 things: Don't do drugs, and April fools is just on April 1st!


I assumed your question was a joke, but your comment leaves me unsure. If you are serious, I must say that you seem to be vastly overambitious and a bit confused. If that is the case I apologize for my initial reply which was just a joke and offer the following:

Keep the two drives separate, do not try to RAID them in any way.

Don't make more partitions than you need. Having 3 partitions for one XP install is pointless.

Put your main OS on the fastest drive, and make the OS partition (C:) large enough to hold the OS and all the apps you expect to install. If you want to install other operating systems on the machine, install them on this drive as well and reserve the other drive for data. That way you reduce the risk of wiping data when you mess about with the operating systems.

Once windows is installed, you can put the swap file on the other drive, so that the OS and swap are not using the same physical drive, but I don't think it will really be worth it in your case especially:

IF you are going to run VM's, keep the virtual drives on a separate disk from the host OS and the host OS swap.

So in summary, I would do something like this:

Fastest drive:

C: - windows XP and all it's apps, games etc. 100+ GB.

D: - Downloads, temporary files - 400-500GB.

Rest of the drive: Other (modern) operating systems, if you don't want to run them in VMs.

Slowest drive:

One partition for all important data, plus all virtual machines. Virtual machines don't need their own partitions, they can be installed into files that simulate real drives.

Instead of installing win95 natively on a modern motherboard and trying to find drivers for everything, I'd try something like dosbox.

share|improve this answer
1) then can i just mirror G: and leave the others unraided? 3)you mean short just like the last 4GB? and is that for never read, or for rarely read, cuz i thought itd be a goodplace for my backups. ---So short 4GB and write attic before that, or short a little more and keep backups and iso's there? 4. yes to all 3, or yes to parts 1 and 3? 5. reasonable 6. i thought xp SP3 was abt that size. recommend more like 3GB? 2? 7. ? 8. im inexperienced with linux, can you recommend a tutorial on sizing? 9 ? 10. this answer confuses me, like 7 and 9 did 11 noted. i got so much space anyway no xtra cred – beauregarde Apr 4 '10 at 23:48
You assumed a question from a user with 1 reputation was a joke? Tsk Tsk. It is certainly ambitious, but im an ambitious guy. I dont know whats confused about it though. Ive put a lot of thought into this, and i think my computer would be happy with something like i described. apparently personal hardware constraints and the present level of computer technology will stymie my efforts. You make some good points. tho, if i may continue in another comment – beauregarde Apr 5 '10 at 13:12
A) first, i wanted c: to not be my main drive for the extra, albeit marginal, defense against poorly written viruses that target C specifically. i thought to make C: boot so that i could keep that partition small (to preserve edge space) but still gain some functionality therefrom in the event of a system crash. Perhaps this function is redundant, but. (B) I like your suggestion for OS placement (specifically on one drive), but mostly cause of the extra speed on the fast one, the partitions should protect data from my blundering. (C) Dosbox looks like a not bad idea. – beauregarde Apr 5 '10 at 13:38
(D) I want games separate from Primary OS for a couple reasons. So i dont have to wade through WIN files to find some poorly placed game file, and to keep my multitudinous WIN files, updates and etc really close together, and not behind 300GB of game files. (E) e is where i say that your answer is more about what you think i should do, and less about helping me achieve what i want to do. while certain suggestions have proved fruitful, what you seem to suggest is rather easier than what i want, but tremendously more... lazze faire? (F) Is RAIDing 1 partition possible? Must Have Redundancy There – beauregarde Apr 5 '10 at 13:46
Some of the confusing parts: What's the difference between "XP boot" and "XP run", and why would you want a separate partition for swap? Xp swaps to a file anyway. Why would you keep an OS on a separate drive and switch primary drives to boot a different OS instead of using a boot manager? But the main confusion is that you seem to think you will gain anything with any of this. – Console Apr 5 '10 at 20:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.