Drive setup/partitioning XP-your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Windows Desktop Systems' started by Bah!, Mar 12, 2003.

  1. Bah!

    Bah! Guest

    Hello all. I'm new here. I hope this is the right place to ask this.

    I’ve got some general drive set-up questions I’d like to get your thoughts on.

    I’m planning to reconfigure a recently built machine. I’ve purchased a second HD and want to set up some partitions on both drives.

    Currently, I have one 40g HD running XP Home sp1 on one big partition. I plan to wipe it and start from scratch, and I’ll be starting from a blank, unformatted disk with HD#2.

    Note: I have only done the XP set up once, when I set up HD#1 and I wasn’t concerned with setting up partitions. I’m not that well acquainted with setting up partitions in general (more familiar with vanilla win 98 installations—i.e. one HD, one partition). I’ve done partitioning once, a long time ago on an NT machine using F disk. And I’ve poked around with Partition Magic a bit and checked out the Disk Manager in XP. So the process is not completely foreign to me.

    I am planning to set up the following:

    HD #1 (40g)
    C: 5 G bootable XP sp1
    E: 35 G

    HD#2 (40g)
    D: 5 G bootable XP sp1
    F: 35 G

    1. Does the XP installation disk make it possible/fairly straight forward for me to set up partitions during set up? If not, what do you suggest? Partition magic? I’d rather not resort to other software if I don’t have too.

    2. Is 5G enough for an XP boot partition? Too much? I know that depends on a lot but, in general?

    3. Any other “issues” you can see me running into with this , albeit, basic strategy?

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. Hipster Doofus

    Hipster Doofus Good grief Charlie Brown

    Melbourne Australia
    This is how I would do it.

    Disk 1. Partition 1 = 3.5 to 4 gig. Put XP here. All window programs go on the left over in partition 2.

    Disk 2. Partiton 1 = 2.5gig. Another XP here. Rest of the drive for storing programs, mp3's etc.

    Now you can use xcopy to very easily backup both xp installations. Takes about 6 - 7 minutes to do each one. No more activating xp.

    Have a read of this. It is very simple to figure out.

    The xp cd will do all the partitioning for you when inserted at boot up.
  3. Bah!

    Bah! Guest


    Yes, it was your posting not too far back that mentioned the Lexun idea that first prompted me to approach my set up this way. That's exactly what I'm planning to do.

    I had a bad experience trying to use Drive image on my freshly set up machine (burning image to a cd). Becuase I'm addicted to the idea of (nearly) instant fresh install, it sent me searching for another solution.

    I guess my concern, not being fluent in partitioning or XP installation, is whether or not the install disk would be all I needed to set up those partitions.

    I just hope I don't run into activation issues along the way.

    Also, why do you suggest the increments of 3.5/4 and 2.5?

    Thanks for your feedback.
  4. Hipster Doofus

    Hipster Doofus Good grief Charlie Brown

    Melbourne Australia
    If you have a nice clean hard drive the xp disk should handle that with no problems.

    Using the lexun way, one xp install is for daily use. (3.5 - 4gig) The other is for backing up the main system hence only a small partition is needed.

    Have a look over here to see how the xp cd picks the hard drive up.
  5. jkipk

    jkipk OSNN Addict

    If you haven't done your install yet, you might want to make one alteration, and that's to set up a small partition on the beginning of drive 2 for your pagefile. Doesn't have to be much bigger than 1.5x memory, but plan for memory expansion if that's in the cards. Speeds up the system, allows for an unfragmenting pagefile, and apps like Photoshop request that you put the pf on another drive.

  6. Bah!

    Bah! Guest

    Ok, regarding the page file (I see the topic has been bandied about quite a bit here). Thanks for the suggestion. I am a regular Photoshop user and have read where doing this is a good idea, but I've never actually done it. I think I'd like to give it a shot though.

    So, I have 1GB DDR memory installed currently, and may conceivably increase that to 1.5. So--how large should I set the partition size at the beginning of the second disk? Not quite clear on that.

    And also, once I've set up that partition, at what point in the set-up process do I tell XP that I want to put the page file there?

    well, I'm finding some good info here
    Looks like telling XP about page file location, etc is all handeled in the virtual memory properties tab. Fair enough.

    But I'd still like to hear your thoughts about sizing. I've got a fair amount of memory installed, but I do in the furture plan to do some memory intensive stuff like possibly some music recording. So I want to be sure there's some room there. But how much is too much, etc?
  7. Bah!

    Bah! Guest

    Here's another question:

    What would you suggest as my IDE arrangement. I realize this argument is pretty subjective but what do you think of this:

    IDE 1
    HD1 Master
    CDROM Slave

    HD2 Slave

    Any obvious problems? Should HD2 be set as master on the second IDE?

    I'm only planning to use HD2 as Hipster pointed out to do backing up of the main system and for some storage. Also as jkipk suggested, I will also probably set HD2 up to have my page file on.

    I do a lot of CD burning, both CD to CD and probably from HD1 to the CDRW.
  8. 2z

    2z OSNN Gamer


    your cd rom's are ata 33 & will slow down your hard drives performance

  9. jkipk

    jkipk OSNN Addict

    ok we need a tutorial....

    os hd on ide0 master
    2nd hd on ide0 slave

    cdrw on ide1 master
    cd on ide1 slave

    the ide channels will run at the rate of the slowest device on the channel, so you want the fastest w/ the next fastest. A cd on each channel will slow down both channels.

    On the pagefile partition: put it at the beginning of the 2nd hd. The pagefile should be 1.5x the memory (if you set windows to manage the pagefile, that's what it will do). Figure in memory upgrades, and set a partition that will hold the pf. It doesn't really matter if the partition is bigger than 1.5x, so give yourself a little breathing room, but no need to waste space. What will affect performance is setting the partition too small!

    Once you've got the partition set up, go to control panel> system> blah> blah> blah and set the pagefile on (x): and delete any pagefile on c: (x is of course your new partition). You can let windows manage the pagefile, or you can set it at 1.5x memory for both the min and the max (I don't think it really matters. I use the latter, but others will tell you different)

    have fun
  10. jdn

    jdn I'm trying

    Victoria, B.C. CANADA
    Okay looking at this thread
    couple of questions
    As you can see below lots of gbs
    I do some video editing which eats hds
    With the amount of ram I have how important is the paging file?
    At this point I have 7 partitions via p7
    hdd0 - c: 20gb winxp pro and some system tools
    e: 50 gb kid #1 f: 50 gb kid#2
    hdd1 g: 60 gb program files h: 60gb mp3s photos
    hdd2 m: 60 gb video only n: 60gb video only
    Except for m: I have lots of space on all partitions.
    I am interested in this system of backup .
    With regard to the original thread I think what you are doing with your comp has alot to do with it.
    I installed a maxtor 133ata pci ide card so I have only 1 cd-rw and 1 hd sharing a channel.
    My old setup had hhd0 on pri master, cdrom pri slave
    cd-rw on sec master, hdd1 on sec slave
    This setup was great for burning but like everything ymmv
  11. Bah!

    Bah! Guest

    Thanks for the tutorial jkipk.

    Set up my hard drives last night, and all seemed to go well....

    EXCEPT for the fact that I ran into some HD recognition problems. I had decided to go with HD2 has master on the second IDE and the CDRW as slave. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the HD recognized. The BIOS was showing it as a big string of garbly gook. It would give me a secondary master fail message also. The XP install disk didn't see it either, obviously. Well, I checked the cables, made sure the jumper was set correctly, etc etc but couldn't find the problem. I thought I'd gotten a bad drive. Finally I decided to try the CDRW as master and the HD2 as slave and presto, it was recognized.

    A little unsure of what that was all about. But, despite warnings of performance decrease, etc etc, I'm satisfied with it the way it is. My second HD will see minimal use for now. Open to any ideas as to what was wrong, or what I may have done wrong .:confused:

    I set up my partitions on both drives and as you suggested jkipk, I set up a page file just fine. So, I'm moving along. Will run xcopy on fresh install(s) this evening. And after that, I plan to do all of those App installs (lots of fun).


    Also, for anyone interested/wondering about the XP activation issue and what I encountered: Before starting over last night, I had already activated XP twice:
    1st activation--oh I thnink I have everything how I want it--'"let's activate"
    2nd activation--A drive image installation just screwed up my OS, I need to roll back to a restore point. Good, I'm back but in the process of figuring out what was wrong, I'd removed my network card. So when Xp comes back up, it says I need to reactivate. Fine, whatever.
    3rd activation--last night. After my first installation on C: I go to activate over the web and -- uh oh, "you've exceeded your activation limit" Call us. So I call based on the phn # the wizard gives you, answer a few questions, they give me a new code and that's it. Fairly hassle free unless you count the fact that I had to deal w/ it at all (which I do).
    4th Activation--Second installation on D: drive. Activated over the web, and anticipated having to do the phone thing again, but it Seemed to go through fine.
  12. jkipk

    jkipk OSNN Addict

    One of the things about all of this is that even though setup "x" may be faster than setup "y", will you notice a difference? Maybe not if all of your stuff is fairly new.

    On the question of "do I need a pagefile" it's my understanding that it kind of depends on the apps. Photoshop, for one, depends on a pagefile and uses it no matter how much ram you have.

    On the activation thing: about a month ago I uninstalled my network card cause I was doing some troubleshooting. When I re-installed it, I had to re-activate! by phone!!! Whaddya gonna do, yell at the poor geek on the other end? Oh well.

    Good job, have fun installing!!

  13. yoyo

    yoyo _________________


    Just a short remark. Photoshop doesn't use the Windows pagefile. It uses its own paging file, called scratch disks (Same applies to Adobe Premiere and Illustrator).
  14. jdn

    jdn I'm trying

    Victoria, B.C. CANADA
    Just a thought
    Did you have your jumper settings right on the hds?
  15. wassup

    wassup Guest

    Does anyone else have any advice on this subject. I currently have windows XP running on a unpartioned 40 gig 7200 ATA 100. I just purchased a 120 gig 7200 ATA 133. I have a ATA 100 card, so the max I am going to get is 100. I was thinking about following the LexunBackup...hopefully the site comes back up, I never printed the instructions! Do you guys really recommend a partition for the pagefile too?
  16. Hipster Doofus

    Hipster Doofus Good grief Charlie Brown

    Melbourne Australia
    The lexun site has moved to here. My computing experience really took off when I found that site. :)
  17. pazzer2002

    pazzer2002 Guest

    ok. with the page file, its definatley cool to set the size to that 1.5 bigger than ur physical mem. ur sayin u have 1 gig, so myself, i'd be prepared to make your lil partition for swap file 2.5gig, so that if u go up to 1.5gig of ram, the swapfile can rise to approx 2.25gig.

    when u set the initial/max sizes (2k/xp) or min/max sizes (98, me) you should keep the two values the same, this DOES perform better.

    good luck