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Is it possible to rearrange the order in which hard drive partitions appear on disk? Of course, there would be no point in doing this to a SSD, but I have heard that for a HDD the operating system closer to the physical outside of the disk will load faster due to less read/write head movement.

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Yes, it's possible with tools such as parted, but this affects sequential access, not random access which is the usual bottleneck with hard drives, so it's not worth the effort, you won't see any difference in everyday usage.

See also: Does the order of partitions matter?

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