Starting over, need partitioning advice.


T

Teflon

OK, I bit the bullet and reformatted the 250GB external HDD with the
undeletable files. After several attempts, I was able to get a
vanilla Check Disk System (no boxes checked) to run to completion. I
then ran Check Disk System with the 'Automatically Fix File System
Errors' box checked. Again, after several attempts, that too ran to
completion. However, when I tried to run Check Disk System with the
'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' box checked, it ran
through the whole routine, but ended with the message that Windows
could not complete the Check Disk System. I will keep trying, it
should eventually work.

So, once I am convinced I have a healthy HDD, I would like to
partition it to minimize the off-load and back-up effort, should I
have any other unrecoverable errors. Before I do the partitioning,
should I use one of those disk scrubbers to completely get rid of all
data residue on the disk?

I have Partition Magic, but am at a quandary as to what partition size
(s) I should create. This HDD is used for media storage only - music,
picture and video. Any suggestions?

I also have a new 160GB external HDD (better quality), mounted in an
external enclosure that I will be setting up as the backup for my OS
image. I thought about creating 2 - 20GB NTFS partitions to support
father / son images of the XP files. Good idea?

Also would like to use the drive to backup my 98SE OS (yes, I know, it
can not be hooked up to both computers at the same time). I propose
to create a 2GB FAT32 partition to store the 98SE backup. Have both
Acronis True Image and Norton's Ghost to create the system backups.

The remaining 118GBs would just be a large data storage partition.

Since this HDD is mounted in an external enclosure, would it be
possible to also have a partition on it that has an XP clone, such
that this drive could be taken out of the external enclosure -
substituted for my internal drive - have XP boot - and it run my
computer (in case the internal totally drive fails)?

I would appreciate thoughts and comments on my plans. I know I've
asked similar questions in the past, but I keep getting different and
better hardware (graduating from flash-drives), so my questions
continue.

You gotta admit, I finally bit the bullet on those balky un-deletable
files.

Thanks,
 
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S

Shenan Stanley

Teflon said:
OK, I bit the bullet and reformatted the 250GB external HDD with the
undeletable files. After several attempts, I was able to get a
vanilla Check Disk System (no boxes checked) to run to completion.
I then ran Check Disk System with the 'Automatically Fix File System
Errors' box checked. Again, after several attempts, that too ran to
completion. However, when I tried to run Check Disk System with the
'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' box checked, it ran
through the whole routine, but ended with the message that Windows
could not complete the Check Disk System. I will keep trying, it
should eventually work.

So, once I am convinced I have a healthy HDD, I would like to
partition it to minimize the off-load and back-up effort, should I
have any other unrecoverable errors. Before I do the partitioning,
should I use one of those disk scrubbers to completely get rid of
all data residue on the disk?

I have Partition Magic, but am at a quandary as to what partition
size (s) I should create. This HDD is used for media storage only
- music, picture and video. Any suggestions?

I also have a new 160GB external HDD (better quality), mounted in an
external enclosure that I will be setting up as the backup for my OS
image. I thought about creating 2 - 20GB NTFS partitions to support
father / son images of the XP files. Good idea?

Also would like to use the drive to backup my 98SE OS (yes, I know,
it can not be hooked up to both computers at the same time). I
propose to create a 2GB FAT32 partition to store the 98SE backup.
Have both Acronis True Image and Norton's Ghost to create the
system backups.

The remaining 118GBs would just be a large data storage partition.

Since this HDD is mounted in an external enclosure, would it be
possible to also have a partition on it that has an XP clone, such
that this drive could be taken out of the external enclosure -
substituted for my internal drive - have XP boot - and it run my
computer (in case the internal totally drive fails)?

I would appreciate thoughts and comments on my plans. I know I've
asked similar questions in the past, but I keep getting different
and better hardware (graduating from flash-drives), so my questions
continue.

You gotta admit, I finally bit the bullet on those balky
un-deletable files.

Download and run the hard disk drive manufacturer's diagnostics utility to
test and zero-write to the drive... If it passes those tests and completes
that procedure - then try to install Windows XP.

One large partition.
 
D

Daave

Teflon said:
OK, I bit the bullet and reformatted the 250GB external HDD with the
undeletable files. After several attempts, I was able to get a
vanilla Check Disk System (no boxes checked) to run to completion. I
then ran Check Disk System with the 'Automatically Fix File System
Errors' box checked. Again, after several attempts, that too ran to
completion. However, when I tried to run Check Disk System with the
'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' box checked, it ran
through the whole routine, but ended with the message that Windows
could not complete the Check Disk System. I will keep trying, it
should eventually work.

So, once I am convinced I have a healthy HDD, I would like to
partition it to minimize the off-load and back-up effort, should I
have any other unrecoverable errors. Before I do the partitioning,
should I use one of those disk scrubbers to completely get rid of all
data residue on the disk?

I'm not sure it's necessary, but it certainly won't hurt. DBAN is very
good:

http://www.dban.org/
I have Partition Magic, but am at a quandary as to what partition size
(s) I should create. This HDD is used for media storage only - music,
picture and video. Any suggestions?

I would create one partition and I would organize your data by creating
folders and sub-folders.
I also have a new 160GB external HDD (better quality), mounted in an
external enclosure that I will be setting up as the backup for my OS
image. I thought about creating 2 - 20GB NTFS partitions to support
father / son images of the XP files. Good idea?

Again, keep it simple. One partition. There is no advantage to place
image archives in separate partitions. An archive is just a very large
file (or in some cases, a series of files).
Also would like to use the drive to backup my 98SE OS (yes, I know, it
can not be hooked up to both computers at the same time). I propose
to create a 2GB FAT32 partition to store the 98SE backup. Have both
Acronis True Image and Norton's Ghost to create the system backups.

If you want to back up data *only*, then it would make sense to create a
FAT32 partition so that when you are unning 98SE, you would be able to
see the external drive partition and copy files in either direction.
However, if you are only interested in creating image archives while
running off either a boot disk or your XP environment, a FAT32 partition
is not needed; the archive of your 98SE system drive may be stored in an
NTFS partition. And again, one partition is all you would need.

If you want the option to copy data to or from your 98SE environment, by
all means create a FAT32 partition. But I would make it much larger tham
2GB! If you want to install your imaging program onto the 98SE system
drive and create images of it, then I would perhaps make that FAT32
partition 50GB (just a guesstimate, it depends on how large your 98SE
system drive is).
The remaining 118GBs would just be a large data storage partition.

Since this HDD is mounted in an external enclosure, would it be
possible to also have a partition on it that has an XP clone, such
that this drive could be taken out of the external enclosure -
substituted for my internal drive - have XP boot - and it run my
computer (in case the internal totally drive fails)?

Perhaps. But I would prefer to clone a hard drive to another hard drive.
YMMV. Images are a different story.
I would appreciate thoughts and comments on my plans. I know I've
asked similar questions in the past, but I keep getting different and
better hardware (graduating from flash-drives), so my questions
continue.

You gotta admit, I finally bit the bullet on those balky un-deletable
files.

I wish I would have seen that other thread earlier. I would have
suggested booting off a live Linux CD like Knoppix or Ubuntu. I would
have been curious to see if the file would still have been undeleteable.

Regarding paritioning, as a rule, I wouldn't create more than one
partition in an external drive, unless you *need* a FAT32 partition.
Partitioning is better suited for internal drives so that you may keep
your data in one. It is not necessary to do this, but it would make your
image of the *other* partition (the one that contains the OS and
programs) considerably smaller. But you need to make sure you have a
system to regularly back up that data! It is also suitable for internal
hard drives if you happen to have a multiple-boot environment.

(For the purposes of this discussion, an external eSATA drive is the
equivalent of an internal drive.)
 
S

Swifty

Teflon said:
I would appreciate thoughts and comments on my plans. I know I've
asked similar questions in the past, but I keep getting different and
better hardware (graduating from flash-drives), so my questions
continue.

Another vote for the single partition.

I don't recall your saying what type of drives you have, but if one or
more of them is SATA then you might be interested in a "drobo". This is
a USB2 or Firewire 800 or Network (extra $$) attached box with slots for
four SATA drives, of any size and specification. You plug it in, and say
what size drive you wish you had (I'm going to say 2Tb). You then put in
the biggest SATA drives you can afford/find. You don't even need to put
enough in (and certainly not 2Tb worth, at first).

As your system fills up the *physical* space, you will eventually get
told to add another drive, or replace the smallest one. It's totally
transparent. It is also safe from a single drive failure (or even a
double drive failure, but you need more physical space for this to work).

I'm so certain that I'm going to get one of these that I already snapped
up a couple of bargain basement 320Gb drives to get me started (I'll get
a single drive capable of holding about 300Gb from the drobo). I'm now
saving for the drobo itself. After that, I'll never have to migrate data
to a new drive (until SATA goes out of fashion) and I'll never run out
of space.
 
T

Teflon

Another vote for the single partition.

Thanks to all for responding. Seems the single partition folks are in
the majority. That's a little confusing, cause when I had the
undeletable file problem with that 250GB Ext HDD, some of the folks
opined that I should have created multiple partitions so the back-up
recovery process wouldn't involve the entire drive. Seemed logical to
me. Thought multiple partitions would reduce the risk of data loss.
Comments?

Speaking of logical, when a drive is partitioned in to multiple
logical drives, is each logical drive assigned a fixed physical space
on the drive?

For those of you who responded to the undeletable file problem I had
with that Ext HDD, it turned out to be some bad sectors. I finally
got CHKDSK /r to run to completion and that got everything cleared
up. My problems in getting CHKDSK to run turned out to be cockpit
error. I was trying to run it from the G:\ directory prompt (that was
the drive having problems). I kept getting the message that the drive
was busy - of course it was busy, it was me trying to run CHKDSK.
When I cd\ to C:\ and ran it, no problems.

Finally, is there a way to create an image of a 98SE partition on an
ext HDD without having the HDD connected to the 98SE computer? How
about a clone of 98SE OS on an ext HDD? That's why I thought I had to
create FAT32 partitions on the HDD, so I could connect it to my 98SE
machine and create images and clones of 98SE. Not so?

Thanks again, OBTW, I used Disk Redacter to write 0's to that HDD, so
should be good to go, once I have the 'to partition or not to
partition' thing straight in my mind.
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

Thanks to all for responding. Seems the single partition folks are in
the majority. That's a little confusing, cause when I had the
undeletable file problem with that 250GB Ext HDD, some of the folks
opined that I should have created multiple partitions so the back-up
recovery process wouldn't involve the entire drive. Seemed logical to
me. Thought multiple partitions would reduce the risk of data loss.
Comments?



In my view, the major factor in choosing between one partition or two
is your backup strategy. If you clone or image the entire drive (the
best kind of backup for many people), then one partition is probably
best for you. But if you backup data only, then two partitions--one
for the system, and one for data--is probably best.

Multiple partitions reduces the risk of data loss only very
slightly--as far as I'm concerned, too little to take into
consideration. That's because the biggest risks include drive crashes,
severe power glitches, nearby lightning strikes, virus attacks, and
even theft of the computer--all of which will probably cause the loss
of everything on the drive.

Speaking of logical, when a drive is partitioned in to multiple
logical drives, is each logical drive assigned a fixed physical space
on the drive?


Yes.
 
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S

Shenan Stanley

<snipped>

Teflon wrote:
Thanks to all for responding. Seems the single partition folks are
in the majority. That's a little confusing, cause when I had the
undeletable file problem with that 250GB Ext HDD, some of the folks
opined that I should have created multiple partitions so the back-up
recovery process wouldn't involve the entire drive. Seemed logical
to me. Thought multiple partitions would reduce the risk of data
loss. Comments?
<snipped>

Having multiple partitions will not help you recover data.

If you have multiple partitions and you store all of your data on the
secondary partition* then - if you mess up your c drive - you could
theoretically clear that partition and/or overwrite that partition with a
ghost image and all of your data would be safe on the secondary partition.
You did not _recover_ anything.

(*not usually true - unless you did some pre-work and moved your "Documents
and Settings" folder to the D drive during the initial install or use folder
redirection - although the latter is probably not available to most people.)

However - if in the more common scenarios - something infects/infests your
machine and/or the hard drive develops a physical issue - the second
partition provides no protection for your data. Yes - if you can use the
drive even - you may be able to clear that partition and/or overwrite that
partition without affecting the secondary - but chances are that if it is a
virus/infection - you would not want to reconnect that second partitioon -
as it would likely infest/infect you again and/o if you had a physical disk
error - likely both partitions are toasted.

Where it honestly *might* help is in making it simpler to implement the only
true protection for your data. That would be in the creation and usage of a
consistent/persistent/timely backup system. You could easily setup whatever
backup application/method you utilize to backup everything on that second
partition. However - the advantage there is only slight - as most people
don't find the extra few minutes it takes to select the files/folders they
really want to backup that difficult. Again - if you did not move your
"Documents and Settings" folder at installation time or with folder
redirection - it's likely you are missing some files if all you backup is
the entire secondary partition anyway.

I saw something the other day - something that looked like it might help the
people who get all confused about system backups...
http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/external/replica/

Might look into it.
 
B

Bill in Co.

In my view, the major factor in choosing between one partition or two
is your backup strategy. If you clone or image the entire drive (the
best kind of backup for many people), then one partition is probably
best for you. But if you backup data only, then two partitions--one
for the system, and one for data--is probably best.

Multiple partitions reduces the risk of data loss only very
slightly--as far as I'm concerned, too little to take into
consideration. That's because the biggest risks include drive crashes,
severe power glitches, nearby lightning strikes, virus attacks, and
even theft of the computer--all of which will probably cause the loss
of everything on the drive.




Yes.

Another example related to what you said above is if you have a large
collection of (for example) multimedia work, which takes up a lot of disk
space (especially video). If that multimedia stuff is on the same drive,
with only one partition, then when you image it or restore it, it will take
forever.

So there is another case where it is beneficial to have another partition on
the main drive, with the second partition just storing all the large
multimedia files you're working on, and with everything else (programs and
data, etc) on the main partition.
 
S

Shenan Stanley

<snip>
Another example related to what you said above is if you have a
large collection of (for example) multimedia work, which takes up a
lot of disk space (especially video). If that multimedia stuff
is on the same drive, with only one partition, then when you image
it or restore it, it will take forever.

So there is another case where it is beneficial to have another
partition on the main drive, with the second partition just storing
all the large multimedia files you're working on, and with
everything else (programs and data, etc) on the main partition.

Only if your backup plan is built around imaging the system.

Yes - if it is - then utilizing a partition schema for backup purposes makes
perfect sense. Image your partitions separately - or just the OS partition
when you have it scheduled to do so and backup the other files in another
means.

However - in my experience - those with these needs (like storing large
amounts of huge data/media files) often have whole disks/arrays (usually
arrays) set aside for the storage and it is not a partitioning issue - as
they use one physical disk/array for boot/applications and a completely
separate physical one for data (giving the best of all worlds - performance,
separation, etc.)

I know I have several systems I built for myself and others I support where
the boot disk is a smaller drive and the storage is a RAID array of 3+
drives for home video capture/editing, etc.
 
B

Bill in Co.

Shenan said:
<snip>


Only if your backup plan is built around imaging the system.

Yes - if it is - then utilizing a partition schema for backup purposes
makes
perfect sense. Image your partitions separately - or just the OS
partition
when you have it scheduled to do so and backup the other files in another
means.

However - in my experience - those with these needs (like storing large
amounts of huge data/media files) often have whole disks/arrays (usually
arrays) set aside for the storage and it is not a partitioning issue - as
they use one physical disk/array for boot/applications and a completely
separate physical one for data (giving the best of all worlds -
performance,
separation, etc.)

I know I have several systems I built for myself and others I support
where
the boot disk is a smaller drive and the storage is a RAID array of 3+
drives for home video capture/editing, etc.

Interesting point. I've only got two internal HDs, so with that
arrangement, it seems best for me to use the second drive solely to store
all the generational system images (I have a dated collection of several of
those). If I used the second drive to store the multimedia work, I'd have
to forego that.

Of course, I could always use an external SATA HD enclosure which I also
have for the images, instead. It's just that the internal SATA drive is
much more convenient, and lightning fast, for my image backups and
restorations (and I tend to use that quite a bit with my various software
tests).

It probably be a more ideal practice to use the external drive for image
backups, in the sense that it's an external backup, I guess :)
 
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T

Teflon

That is what I have, a large multimedia library, both video and audio.

Just so we're all on the same page, I do not have a desktop system.
The system I'm using is a laptop with only one 40GB internal HD that
has the OS on it (no data). Four external USB HDD's house all
application data and the multimedia library. The internal C: drive is
50% occupied with the OS, installed apps and the paging file. I use
the other 50% as a work area. Since there is no data stored on the
internal drive, I felt there was no need to partition it.

Therefore, my partitioning questions only concerned the 4 external USB
HDDs. It was my understanding from a previous post, that partitioning
these drives would be a good idea, for backup and recovery. Perhaps I
missed the point that poster was making.

I did ask about partitioning a 160GB 2.5" laptop internal drive,
mounted in an external USB enclosure, used for application data
storage. I was planning on creating a partition on it to store the
image of the internal drive, to recover from a virus, or such. I was
also considering creating a second partition on it where I would
periodically clone the C: drive, in case the internal drive failed,
then I could swap the drives and be back in business. The rest I
would have in a third partition and continue to use it as data storage
for apps like Quicken, Outlook and such. I would periodically back-up
that data on one of the other external HDDs.

Is there any info there that would change any of the suggestions?

Thanks.
 
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