Partitions.. a dying strategy

Published on: Author: Mike Hall 1 Comment

Potential for partitions on OEM systems:

Windows 3.1.. A possible three extra partitions over and above C as the OS created and required only one partition for it to work. The operating system recovery option was nine or maybe ten 1.44mb diskettes, always supplied even when the OS was preinstalled. Diskettes containing installation files for bundled software would also be included.

Windows 95.. As per Windows 3.1 except that everything was now on CD.

Windows 98/ME..  saw the advent of the CD recovery set which would wipe out any user created partition in the event that it was run. Even so, the OS required only one partition at set up, and there was room to create three other partitions. Bundled software was as Windows 95.

Windows XP.. continued the tradition of recovery sets, but also saw the advent of the recovery partition. Now, a possible two extra partitions could be created by the user, but they will be wiped out by the recovery process.

Windows Vista.. as per XP

Windows 7.. creates a ‘system reserved’ partition, a primary partition, and will also have a recovery partition. Some OEMs partition a largish primary partition for the OS and some leave almost the entire drive as just one. In the case of the latter, it is possible to create one more partition, but it will be wiped out by the recovery process.

Home and special build computers don’t have recovery partitions, and when the OS is re-installed, it uses whatever partition was first created as the default. In this way, all versions of Windows, other than 7, will allow for three partitions over and above C drive. Windows 7 only allows for two.

At a time when hard drives are so large that partitions would be useful, it is getting more difficult to create and keep them. Music and picture files are no larger than they ever were, but thousands more can be stuffed into a huge partition.

Picture takers aren’t  going to lose a year’s worth of pictures any more. They stand to lose ALL years, and many just can’t get their heads around the way to prevent the loss. The classic answer to ‘have you saved them’ is ‘I don’t know how’. Just recently, I spent nearly a whole day sorting a client’s photos into some kind of order and then consigning them to CD.

Partitions have always been on the sidelines for home users. The concept should have been made easier, but it wasn’t. Now the options to create them is going. Somebody is going to have to come up with a way to create more partitions which are every bit as easily accessed as they are today.

I don’t use drives larger than 320gb and I have two of them. One is the primary boot drive, the other in a USB enclosure. There is a second drive in the computer, a 160gb drive which I had been using as the primary boot, but it was proving to be a little unreliable in constant use. This is known as NOT putting all of your eggs in one basket, an adage used by many but rarely with respect to computer storage

If ever there was a case of needing to have more than one basket, a computer is it. I would like to see more options offered by hardware manufacturers and Microsoft.

Desktop machines would be easy. A dedicated bay for a regular HDD or an SSD which would auto-isolate when not in use would be cool. For laptops, maybe a small docking station type of thing which could do the same. USB is too general in the way it interfaces. It needs to be a common system to ALL computers which is dedicated to one job: saving and keeping safe whatever is saved to it.

If the above is too much to ask, set about making it possible to easily create more than four partitions on one drive, and do it before drive capacities really get out of hand.

One Response to Partitions.. a dying strategy Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. Honestly, I’m not sure partitions are the answer. Hard drive sizes are exploding and spinning platter drives are cheap. Trying to explain logical drives and physical drives is difficult enough, but then asking end users to create them is almost impossible. Plus, an end user is more likely to suffer from malware attacks and media failure, either of which partitioning doesn’t really help, and, in my experience, most every day users are unprepared to handle.

    I like using a smallish dedicated boot drive, a separate hard drive for large, temporary media storage, and a Windows Home Server to provided redundancy and nightly backups. Either Cloud or Home Servers (of some sort) seem to be a better solution that partitioning.

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