Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I would like to know more about why one would bother making partitions on a hard drive. I understand that you might want to dual boot your machine, but are there more interesting applications to partitioning?

Would it be beneficial to have an alternative file-system on hand? Would partitioning serve well for large and specific collections of data? Are some file-systems more powerful than others?

I'm really interested to see what kind of answers I'll be receiving.


share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, Nifle, slhck, Tom Wijsman, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Mar 11 '12 at 16:23

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You partition when you need to partition, it's that simple. – Tom Wijsman Mar 11 '12 at 12:54

"Whole drive encryption" often means whole partition encryption. A person may want to partition a drive and encrypt one of those partitions but not the other. They may store the more sensitive data on the encrypted partition.

share|improve this answer

For example, in Linux, you can separate your "/home" (containing your personal data) and "/" (containing system files) into two partitions. Then if your system breaks down, you can just format "/" and reinstall without disturbing your personal files, even without removing your preferences for each application. You can even change distro, without reconfiguring most apps.

The most beneficial thing: If one of your partition breaks down due to bad blocks or some other physical errors, your data on other partition will NOT be affected.

You can use tools such as GNU Parted and fdisk to partition a disk.

share|improve this answer
Using LVM means that you don't have to partition the disk, since you can create LVs however you like. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Mar 11 '12 at 6:31
@IgnacioVazquez-Abrams sorry, forgot that :( I had used LVM on my Fedora but it seemed to be a little performance drain. – hexchain Mar 11 '12 at 6:38

IMHO, sooner or later partitioning will become obsolete.

While having multiple file systems and raw devices on storage devices is useful, having them constrained to non overlapping fixed size preset areas (partitions, volumes) is an annoyance.

ZFS kind of demonstrated that.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .