I have a PC with 1 TB hdd. My question is based on the utility of using drive partitions (other than dual-boot).

In case the Windows OS files get corrupted somehow and it becomes unbootable. Will other Non-OS drive partitions be intact or they also needed to be formatted during a reinstall.

Can I get away with only re-installing the Windows and my data files safe in other drive partition? I mean in case of reinstall do I have advantage by having my data files safely residing on other Non-OS drive partition?

2 Answers 2


Your non-os partitions will remain unaffected except in the case of your actual drive itself suffering a catastrophic failure either by failure/malfunction of the hardware or as the result of malicious attack.

If you have a dual/multiple OS setup, of which windows should always be on the first partition to avoid "aggravation", you other OS will be intact/reachable/bootable as long as your bootloader is intact. GRUB, Plop, etc. It's no too big a deal to restore your bootloader if it gets porked. There are many live distros/pe environments to help you get that sorted. The care needs to come when re-establishing/re-installing your Windows. Do it supervised/manually, as an unsupervised install could result in completely trashing your setup. On the storage partition, it's a good idea to have that at least. My hard drive breakdown is usually

  • Plop bootloader mbl
  • Hiren's BootCD on 1st partition with grub4dos as pbl fat32
  • WindowsXP on second partition with ntfs bootloader as pbl fat32
  • Kali/Debian on 3rd partition with grub installed as mbr then booting to Hiren's Partition to adjust things a bit and install Plop on mbr. ext4
  • Finally my storage/media partition ntfs or ext4

If it's just corruption of your Windows installation from, say, a virus, power loss at a weird moment, or a bad controller/driver for your hard disk, you're fine using a separate partition for your recovery data. Many (maybe most) new computers you buy come this way out of the box now.

However, hard disk failure is one of the biggest reasons to have this kind of problem, and in that case you're screwed. Hard disk failure will destroy both your windows partition and your recovery partition.

If you're looking for a real back up, you need to think in terms of both physical separation (the backup should be some distance away) and version separation (you actually want to have one backup that's at least a little bit stale, to give you the ability to recover from accidental changes or deletes for a certain amount of time).

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