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I have recently brought a new laptop which has one 500gb hard drive and I would like to partition the main partition into two partitions. One for system and one for documents/music/photos... would shrinking this main partition using the built in partitioning tool achieve this?

Also would defragging allow all the free space to be used if I chose to partition the hard drive in this way? as currently it only allows about half to be used.

Is partitioning a hard drive in this way good? What are your suggestions?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

would shrinking this main partition using the built in partitioning tool achieve this?

in a word, yes.

and defragmenting the drive first helps in a way, you will get contiguous free space.

Is partitioning a hard drive in this way good?

main benefit: you can 'ghost' your system drive and always restore the computer from that image without losing data on the second partition. (now this is no excuse for not having a proper backup :)

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+1 Yes, definitely two partitions is a very good thing. It's disappointing PC manufacturers still won't deliver PCs like this; leaving you to wave goodbye to your documents if you have to use the recovery disc is ridiculous. However, you should still back up before using a partition resizer, because they're not always 100% solid. –  bobince Jan 5 '10 at 3:04
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