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Just bought a 1Tb drive, to go alongside my 60Gb, 250Gb, and 1Tb drive collection. Eventually I'll get a new machine and install Windows 7 (currently XP). So how should I format the new drive, assuming I'll want to put the windows 7 install there? Let's say I can live with only using 100Gb between now and the install.

  1. 100% NTFS
  2. 100Gb NTFS, rest unformatted
  3. ?

My major considerations here are having somewhere to install to, and ending up with a configuration which is roughly optimal.

(I know very little about Windows 7, which is probably pretty obvious.)

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2 Answers 2

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You generally have two options:

  1. either format it into one huge drive (with NTFS),
  2. or format it into several smaller partitions and use them for different purposes.

I'd recommend creating a system partition and an "everything else" partition. Make the system drive 50-100GB (hey, you've got space enough) - that will be enough for any kind of software installations. Let the other partition fill the disk and use that to store your data, movies, downloads, whatever.

Then have another physical disk that you use for backup, and remember to do backup on a regular basis. (Never use one partition as a backup destination for another partition on the same disk = unsafe!)

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It's a good practice to install your OS and your data (music, video, pics etc) on different partitions or disks, if possible.

I would recommend configuration option 2 but keep OS partition as small as possible (min 15 GB, recommended 40+ GB). Also, installing windows 7 on the fastest HD can increase performance. So if your current 250 GB is fastest, install windows 7 on it and use TBs for data only. Don't worry about the capacity; 250 GB is big enough for installing windows 7 and many games, applications.

Windows 7 has the new feature called "Libraries" which displays content from various locations inside a single virtual folder. For example, if your music files are on different folders, partitions, disks or even network drives you can access them all via Music library. The reason I mentioned this is that you don't need to allocate space for your data on your OS partition.

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15 GB is definitely too small and even 40 GB is pushing the min limit especially when all of the updates come in. However I highly agree with installing on a separate disk. Makes trouble shooting less stressful when all your data isn't on the 'messed up' OS drive. –  KronoS Dec 10 '10 at 14:50
    
You're right about the numbers, they're from Microsoft. They only consider core OS files. The more apps and games you install the more space you should allocate. –  Gani Simsek Dec 10 '10 at 18:20
    
Thanks for the advice. The new disk is definitely the fastest - the only 7200rpm disk I have. Thanks also for the tip about Libraries - sounds like an improvement. –  Steve Bennett Dec 11 '10 at 1:25
    
btw, slight update: I was quoting my original disk sizes from memory. actually it's 60Gb, 200Gb, 250Gb, 500Gb, and the new 1000Gb. sort of funny, really. –  Steve Bennett Dec 11 '10 at 8:10
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