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I'm not an expert in computer and nor do I have some experience with dealing with computer hardware and software. I have these basic questions:

1) Do we define the disks when we buy a new computer or are they pre-established?

2) What is the purpose of having more disks than generally available disks C and D?

3) Do we have the prerogative to define the disks after we format our computer? If yes, then what is the recommended practice to set up the disks?

4) Do we only use disk C for program files and disk D for recovery files?

5) Few other things that you think a guy should know when formatting a computer or start using a new machine.

EDIT: By disk I mean partition of computer memory in form of disk C, D etc.

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It's hard to understand what you mean by 'disk'. Do you mean a drive (a physical thing inside your computer) or a partition (a designated segment of storage space on the drive)? –  digitxp Sep 10 '10 at 0:19
    
Should really separate these into a few questions :P –  John T Sep 10 '10 at 0:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I couldn't understand what you mean by disks, so in this answer I assume that by disks you either mean a drive or a partition.

  1. Do we define the disks when we buy a new computer or are they pre-established?
    Drive: Depends if you buy it custom built (ex. going through Dell's computer customizer) or buying a baseline model without customizations.
    Partition: Nope, and they will never let you because they'll incur the wrath of Microsoft if they let you uninstall it from factory.

  2. What is the purpose of having more disks than generally available disks C and D?
    Drive: In general, you get more space.
    Partition: You may want to have multiple partitions so that you can format one partition and not worry about the data on another, for example, you can keep your data on a separate partition than your Windows stuff.

  3. Do we have the prerogative to define the disks after we format our computer? If yes, then what is the recommended practice to set up the disks?
    Drive: If you want more drives, buy more and find a guide to replacing a drive by googling {your computer make and model} drive replacement.
    Partition: If by formatting the computer, you mean setting it up, then of course. Use something like Parted Magic.

  4. Do we only use disk C for program files and disk D for recovery files?
    You don't have to, it's just the default. C and D aren't disks, as I said before, they are disk letters.

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1) Depends where you buy the computer from. If you purchase an off the shelf machine, there is no one answer fits all, but typically you will have 10-20GB reserved for recovery files and may not have a drive letter assigned, and the rest as usable on the C drive, (If Windows 7, possibly 100MB for the system partition).

If building yourself, when you install Windows, you will be presented with a screen that allows you to partition the drive anyway you like: alt text

2) There are many reasons for having more, usually people add more disks for more space. If you are talking about additional partitions (letter assignments) for the same drive, this is usually just done for organisation. (e.g. system files on one drive, personal data on another).

3) Yes you do, on Windows Vista or Windows 7 you can use the disk management tool to a basic level. It will allow you to shrink and grow partitions. For more advanced drive reassigning e.g. moving and growing, I would look at Gparted

4) Not at all, read 3. Recovery partitions are only used by some manufacturers.

5) When I first built a machine for myself, I thought it would be a good idea to have a partition for everything - one for system, one for work, one for downloads, one for applications etc. It is very hard to plan ahead and it is a waste of time! I then moved to a 20GB partition for system and the rest for data, however, I personally think it is a waste of time as many applications install to the C/system drive regardless and it is so much easier just to put everything on one drive!

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One major point that hasn't been mentioned for #2 is separation of program installation for performance reasons.

If disk C and D are separate physical disks, you can take advantage of the fact that most well-made applications will allow you to install to another location. This is where you can take advantage and install your games, for example, to your D drive. This allows for faster file access times while gaming since the actuator head on each drive is handling separate operations, something partitions will not grant you. Let the OS drive handle it's own stuff and let the application drive do the same :)

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Disk D is generally recovery disk (as in my computer) and it doesnt let you install anything there or access it for purpose of using space as decided by us. –  Pupil Sep 10 '10 at 1:26
    
@Harp that's why I used the word if a lot. IF they were separate disks. On your system they aren't so it doesn't apply. –  John T Sep 10 '10 at 16:47
    
Nice point, however, have you seen any computer with only two disks - C and D - which allows us to install us applications in disk D? And don't you think mixing application's program files with the recovery files in disk D would be a bad organization of files? –  Pupil Sep 11 '10 at 22:28
    
@Harpeet If the D drive is a recovery drive, it was likely put there by the manufacturer and is rather a partition than a drive. On my system my OS drive is a SSD (C:) and my applications are installed to D:. I don't have a recovery partition as I made this system myself. –  John T Sep 11 '10 at 22:45
    
I am sort of naive in these things, but I'd like to know what is SSD? What do you mean by Operating System drive? I guess my operating system directories etc are installed in disk C. –  Pupil Sep 11 '10 at 23:04

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