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I have lot of multimedia, audio, video, images, etc, How should i partition my hard disk for effective usage of space?

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migrated from Apr 27 '11 at 12:22

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Whether or not you have multiple partitions is really a matter of personal taste

The advantage of having multiple partitions is if you reinstall frequently, you can seperate your personal files from the system files (eg, my documents in windows XP, users in windows vista and better, and /home/ in linux). The disadvantage is that if you missize the partitions, you'll need to resize them.Personally, i don't do multiple partitions - i used to, but its only a feature of my multiboot boxen cause it was often a pain to manage if you get it wrong. partitioning also has a tiny bit of overhead

The most effective way to handle it, to me is to let the filesystem do all the hard work, and just have one partition. Depending on your OS, you may want to consider deduplicating file systems if possible if you really want to be efficient.

On the other hand, if you have seperate drives for system boot, and data, you get some degree of redundancy, and the ability to mix and match drives - for example, a SSD for OS (which is faster) and a large standard HDD for data.

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+1 for multiple drives – or RAID arrays – SLaks Apr 27 '11 at 14:03
Multiple partitions are the poor man's multiple drives any advantage multiple partitions have, multiple drives have too, but are better. Raid arrays are probably a question on their own - There's so many different layouts, optimised for different needs. – Journeyman Geek Apr 27 '11 at 14:25
have you got any experience with deduplicating filesystems (especially on a home machine)? Would be interested in your feedback, even just anecdotal. Thanks. – Andy Apr 27 '11 at 15:22
not on windows, unfortunately - the only one i know of is opendedup - who claim media is not an ideal use case, but well, there's always duplicated. ZFS is supposed to be pretty impressive on openbsd tho. – Journeyman Geek Apr 27 '11 at 21:53

I kinda agree with most folk who've already answered, but you're quite clear in your question that you're interested in effective usage of space. In that case I'd recommend having one partition.

The reason I say that is if you think you might start running out of space, partitions can be a b!tch. It's frustrating having 2GB free on three partitions, and having one 3GB file that you can't store anywhere. It might sound a little contrived, but in practice I think that's been my experience (personally it doesn't bother me in the slightest as I'm not particularly focussed on being efficient with space, but that's another matter.)

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You should make one partition for Windows and programs, and a second partition for data.

The size of the first partition depends on what kind of programs you use.
I would probably recommend about 100GB + 5GB per game.

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Partitioning has no overhead whatsoever. Partitioning is a function of the file system. Basically, partitions are nothing but break points in the record of the file system. It's like adding a new section title to a table of contents. The biggest advantage of partitioning is that you can separate data. For example, I keep my OS and programs separate from my documents and music. I image my OS partition and I create a file backup for my documents and music. I image my OS partition every week and I file backup my documents and music as needed. If my OS gets corrupted, I don't have to worry about moving my documents and music since I can just reimage a single partition and be up and running again.

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all file systems have overhead - its tiny compared to modern drives, but IS there. Partitioning for data security is useless if the whole drive goes. You also need to juggle partition sizes and so on. There's a reason windows never asks you if you want to partition at install time – Journeyman Geek Apr 27 '11 at 13:25
@Journeyman Geek - seems a bit harsh to say Partitioning for data security is useless if the whole drive goes. It's true of course, but slightly obscures the possibility of corruption/damage that occurs only within a partition, leaving the other(s) 100% intact. – Andy Apr 27 '11 at 15:16

Advantage of having more than one partition.

  1. If you run out of space in your data partition, your system partition is unaffected. No boot problem on the following morning if vuze or emule have been running all night long.

Disadvantage of having separate partitions:

  1. Drag and drop between 2 partitions on the same disk are copies unless you know what you're doing and press CTRL/SHIFT to achieve your goal. So that you end up with too much clutter. Edit thx to Andy's comment. Even if you move (as opposed to copy), you can't escape the IO cost sincce there are in effect two different file systems involved.

  2. Some people back up files from one partition to the other which has no added value whatsoever in case of HDD failure.

Size of a system partition in 2011

Now to answer your question more precisely, I'd says that, given the size of today's HDD, a 100GB system partition is not particularly oversized.

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Note that for disadvantage #1, even if you know what you're doing, the data is still being copied. If you have one partition you can do a real move. – Andy Apr 27 '11 at 15:25
@Andy, correct. I was only concerned with the disk space overhead but there is also the IO cost, indeed. I'll update the answer. Thx. – Alain Pannetier Apr 27 '11 at 15:35

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