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Will you install software on the same partition as Windows system?

I just bought a laptop, my first Windows 7 computer (I've been using XP), and I'm thinking about creating a separate partition to hold my data files. I'm assuming this would simplify backups and reinstallation of Windows, should that ever be necessary. I'm also assuming that most viruses target the OS and would leave my data partition untouched, should I ever get one.

Do you think using a separate partition to hold data files is a good practice? Would you redirect the Documents folder or even the entire Users directory to this partition?

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marked as duplicate by Oliver Salzburg Nov 5 '12 at 18:05

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Some laptops already have the maximum allowed 4 primary partitions, use disk management to check. Some brands also have a recovery partition to do a bare metal reinstall of the OS. What is the brand and specific model you have? –  Moab Feb 27 '11 at 23:53
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Separating your data from your OS partition is a good idea. You're correct that most viruses target the OS, but that doesn't mean viruses won't be detected in your data partition. After all, viruses will probably be first copied into your Downloads folder.

I suppose it could also simplify data access should you decide to dual-boot. Also separating your data into a virtual partition will let you copy it onto a physical partition later if you need performance gains.

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Moab, the laptop is a Dell 6510 w/ a ssd. –  draena Feb 28 '11 at 3:33
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