Re: Jargon: Splitting hard disks?

Subject: Re: Jargon: Splitting hard disks?
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 14:59:27 -0800

Jonathan West wrote:

Partitioning is not something I would expect the average computer user ever
to have to do, but if you are assured that your target audience is familiar
with the principle, then that is the term they will be using.

Partitioning is more common than you might think. PowerQuest's flagship product is PartitionMagic, a GUI tool for partitioning, and a number of other tools for the task exist, including the free software GNU parted (short for "partition editor").

Some of the reasons for partitioning:

- Freeing space: for example, if a two gigabyte hard drive is divided into four separate partitions, instead of treated as a single drive, you'll gain about an extra 40 megabytes of free space if you're using the standard Windows filesystem (FAT32). Considering the size of modern hard drives, this often isn't much of an issue any more, but it was a common reason in the past.

- Another level of organization: Multiple, labelled partitions help you to organize your programs. For example, you might have one partition labelled "Work," and another labelled "Games."

- Faster disk access: The smaller the drive, the faster you can search it.

- Recovery: Many users put the operating system on one partition, and their personal files on another. That way, if the partition with the operating system fails, there's more of a chance that the personal files will be intact. If they are, you can use a boot disk and retrieve them.

- Multiple-operating systems: You can put different operating systems on the same computer, and use a boot manager to select which one to use each time that you start your computer. Many people have dual systems with Linux and Windows on them. Some developers also like to have different versions of the same operating system installed so that programs can be tested on all of them. For example, a developer might have Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, NT and 2000 on different partitions.

For the past decade, I've used multiple partitions for all of these purposes. At least once, I was very glad that I did, since the habit allowed me to recover files that I hadn't had time to backup yet.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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RE: Jargon: Splitting hard disks?: From: Jonathan West

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