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If using a single 500G hard drive, I’d have a C and D partition, windows and data.
** 50G for windows to allow plenty of room for programs, and the remaining 450G for data.
I keep a backup disc with all of my favourite programs and activation codes on it, and I try to make a disc with latest versions of my data including my documents, music and pictures at least fortnightly.
Of course keeping windows separate from data means reinstalling windows is easy without hurting your data and I consider that and my regular backups as sufficient security. If a hard drive crashes completely then I still have most of what I need on DVD.
Example where partitions are not needed:
On my other computer I’m currently using 5 hard drives, one 75G Raptor installed with PCLinuxOS, and 4x 320G Samsung drives.
The Samsung drives are all identical, and are set up as a RAID0+1 array, running XP Pro, which gives me a fast 600G virtual drive using 2 disks and an exact copy of that virtual drive with the other 2 disks.
I dual boot into either Linux or Windows depending on my needs at the time. My Linux drive has 5G swap partition and remaining space is /, and the windows drive is a single large partition. As I have a mirrored copy of the whole windows installation, I no longer see the need for a data partition in this instance, and my Linux installation is actually using the windows drives as a data reservoir, so I would lose nothing important if the Linux drive crashed either.
I’m lucky to have an Intel Q9550 Quad core with 4G RAM, and this nice clean drive setup is reliable, secure and blindingly fast in this system.
Mitz from Tips4pc