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I'm going to have a 128-GB SSD which will contain Windows 8 and most applications, and a 1-TB hard drive which will contain most of the rest (large games, documents, select frequently overwritten files [gotta figure out what those are], videos...)

My actual setup is a little bit more complicated: since I love to organise things, I'm never, or extremely rarely, going to access the hard drive directly. Everything that is not on the SSD will be accessible from it anyway, through symbolic links (Related question: Symlinking some of my drive to another, AND syncing structures (Link Shell Extension?) and if I have the happy surprise of finding a way of doing this, the hard drive will be synced and retain a pretty structure.)

In practical terms, despite most heavy data going to the hard disc, I'm only ever going to use C: (SSD), thanks to symlinks, and the D: (HDD) will mostly be a computer-used-only storage area, to which I'm only going to browse if I make a mistake, or to edit/create symbolic links.

And looking at things about partitions and why to use them, I'm wondering whether they would be useful for me.

Should make a different partition on the SSD for Windows and the rest that I put on it, to separate the OS from other programs?

Can I have this partition be visually the same as the main partition of the SSD (C:)? Can I symlink this partition to C: as well? Do I harm performance if I do this? Am I literally killing the purpose?

Should I make various partitions on the HDD with various allocation sizes (largest for videos, medium for photos and music, small for documents, or something like that)? Would it give me any significant advantages? I would mount those partitions as folders on the HDD to avoid the clatter of drive letters, and those folders would be symlinked to the C: like everything else. Does that three-layer path impact performance?

Also, they say it's more secure to have partitions, because then it's harder for malicious software and errors to corrupt the bootable area of the disc. Does this still hold if everything is mounted as folders and/or symlinked?

There are many questions in here, but I guess they can be mostly summed up to those two main ones:

  • Does symlinking everything to the main SSD affect performance negatively? If so, how much? And is there a better way to only ever browse to C:?

  • Keeping in mind the above wish (reducing the final user experience to only using C:) and my rather unusual configuration (small but not OS-only SSD), when I put my parts together, are there things I should do to ensure my configuration gives me all it can?

Oh! And one last thing. When you mount a drive as a folder, it disappears from Computer, right? If not, it's basically the same as a big symlink. o:

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"they say it's more secure to have partitions": who says this? Sounds like nonsense to me. – Harry Johnston Jan 14 '13 at 1:18… -- this for instance. Actually, when I search "why partition", such a thing is common. – Ariane Jan 14 '13 at 4:43
Urban myths are common too. :-) Yep, that's pretty much nonsense. Technically it's true that having two partitions slightly reduces the risk of losing both simultaneously, but not significantly. Also, Windows doesn't really let you cleanly separate system/application stuff from user stuff, so you should really be backing up your system partition even if you always remember to put your saved files on the other partition. – Harry Johnston Jan 14 '13 at 19:50
@HarryJohnston Well, uhm, most things will be symlinked over to the other partition. I guess it'd be useful to backup the SSD, though, because then, if an accident happens, I can fix it without needing to reinstall every app that'll be installed on it. – Ariane Jan 15 '13 at 3:08

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