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3 Reasons to Partition Your Hard Drive

Partitioning a hard drive refers to the practice of dividing up its capacity into different partitions. A partition acts as a separate hard disk. It will have its own letter and label assigned to it and you can format different partitions separately. Many new computers already have their drives partitioned. Usually there is a primary system partition where Windows, documents and programs are installed and a secondary partition containing the manufacturer's recovery software. If you are installing Windows yourself, you will have the opportunity to set up and configure your own partitions in the early stages of the installation. Changing partitions later on may be possible in Windows Vista and Windows 7 using Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Storage - Disk Management. This will only work with dynamic configurations. There are many reasons to partition a hard disk, as outlined below. Partitioning should ideally be done when installing Windows. In many cases, this is the only time when it is even possible.

1 - Backup
Having a partition dedicated to storing an up-to-date backup of all of your files is very convenient. If, for some reason, you need to reinstall Windows, everything can be copied over to the secondary partition. However, for the most important data, you should have other forms of backup in addition. Remember that a separate partition is still on the same physical disk and if that disk gets damaged, it will affect all of the partitions. For regular backup and for storing your programs and files when reinstalling Windows and reformatting the system partition, a backup partition is extremely helpful.

2 - Sort Your Data
Having a different partition for different types of data can be very convenient. You will always know where to find the data you need as everything can be stored tidily and independently. One popular type of setup is having a primary system partition with Windows and other software on it, a second partition containing your music and videos and a third containing your backup data. You can have more than three partitions if you want and what you choose to use them for is entirely up to you.

3 - Less Maintenance Time
Defragmenting your hard disk and scanning it for errors are all part of a regular maintenance routine that anyone should use to keep their computers running optimally. Unfortunately, this can take a long time. Defragmenting a 500 gigabyte hard drive, for example, can take several hours. Since each partition acts as a separate hard disk, you don't have to do the whole lot at once. You can run these maintenance tasks on one partition at a time. This can speed up the optimization process considerably.

As you can see, there are more reasons to partition your hard disk than not to. However, if you already have two or more physical hard drives, then partitioning becomes unnecessary. Separate physical hard drives are always superior to having a single, large hard disk separated into various partitions. It is better for security. If one disk fails, it should not affect the other disks. Most computers only contain one hard drive, however. In this case, partitioning them is by far the best thing to do aside from buying additional drives.


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