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Partition a new pc using Windows 7


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#1 Thoughtful Skeptic

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:05 PM

With XP about to die, I want to buy a new PC using Windows 7 because I prefer Win 7 to Win 8 or Vista.

I would like to partition the new machine so that

 

i) the operating system is on one drive (C:\) ,

 

ii) my data files are on a separate drive (D:\)

 

iii) and leave some space on the hard drive to install Linux (Ubuntu) and have a dual boot system.

 

I did this with an old XP machine some years ago with help from Bleeping Computer. I was then able to burn clean images of the C-drive to a DVD from time to time so that I could refresh the OS. This has worked very well since then and recently enabled me to restore the OS (without loss of any data) when something had gone wrong and I lost all functionality from the computer.

 

These are my questions:

 

1. I have not yet chosen a particular manufacturer but am I right to prefer Win 7 over Win 8?

 

2. Can I use Easius Partition Master with WIN 7 to partition the hard drive?

 

3. Will I be able to burn an image on a DVD of the factory clean OS and subsequent images? 

 

4. Do you have any other helpful suggestions on how to proceed?

 

I'm looking forward to the work that I will have to do.

 

Thanks in advance for your help

 

Thoughtful Skeptic


Edited by hamluis, 17 March 2014 - 07:57 AM.
Moved from XP to Win 7 - Hamluis.


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#2 davnel

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 07:20 PM

Thoughtful Skeptic:

 

1. I prefer Windows 7, myself. I don't have a touch screen and therefore have no use for Win 8. We'll see what happens with Win 9. I am running Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit.

 

2. You can use whatever you prefer as a partition editor, including Windows. I prefer Parted Magic. I'll get into this later.

 

3. Windows 7, installed, with applications, takes up more than 20GB. Most of my Acronis Images are in the range of 30GB. I use an external USB drive of 2TB to store backups and data archives.

 

4. Boot disk:

  a. Using Parted Magic or the equivalent, create two partitions on the disk of roughly 50% size. When the second partition is finished, delete the first partition, leaving the first half of the disk unallocated. Install Windows 7 on that unallocated space. The Windows installer will create two partitions, one of 100MB or so for "System Reserved" and the second of the remainder of the partition for Windows itself.

 

  b. Once Windows 7 is installed and running, under Disk Management, delete the partition in the second half of the drive (don't mess with the first two Windows partitions). Linux or Windows 8 or just about anything else can be installed in the now unallocated back half of the disk. Linux and Windows 8 will set up the dual-boot controls for you.

 

5. Data Disk. In my setup, I have a separate drive designated as D that contains all of my data. This includes the "pagefile.sys" disk cache file, and all system data files like My Documents, Favorites, etc., that normally reside on C. Windows allows this. Because I have a lot of RAM (32GB), I find that the page file is never used, and have reduced it to 4GB. It still never gets used, but I leave it there just in case.

 

6. OS Backups: I use Acronis True Image Home to create and store an image of the boot drive. As stated, that image file usually runs around 30GB, so a single DVD or even single-layer BD won't do. I use an external USB drive. One of the reasons for moving all data to D is to minimize the amount of writing to the boot drive. Once the system is installed and running, very few writes occur. The reason is that I have transferred the image to an SSD - which boots the system MUCH faster - 23 seconds vs 2.5 minutes.

 

7. Data Backups: I keep a spare data disk or two, plus the external drive. On Sunday, every week, I run Beyond Compare 3 between the D drive and the spares. I use BC3 to compare the contents and to synchronize the drives. This normally takes around 10 minutes per drive, and they can be done simultaneously.

 

As always, should you or any of your team get killed or captured, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of you. This posting will self-destruct in 15 seconds. Good luck, Mr. Skeptic.

.


Edited by davnel, 16 March 2014 - 07:28 PM.


#3 hamluis

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:56 AM

These are my questions:

 

1. I have not yet chosen a particular manufacturer but am I right to prefer Win 7 over Win 8?

 

2. Can I use Easius Partition Master with WIN 7 to partition the hard drive?

 

3. Will I be able to burn an image on a DVD of the factory clean OS and subsequent images? 

 

4. Do you have any other helpful suggestions on how to proceed?

 

1.  Matter of opinion.

 

2.  Partitioning of the hard drive...depends partly on how the manufacturer has set the drive up.  You should not change the original setup until you fully understand just why the manufacturer created whatever partitions exist on the drive when new.  Deleting or otherwise fooling with boot partitions or recovery partitions installed by the system manufacturer...is discouraged, since doing so may render those functions incapable of doing what they are intended to do.

 

Data partitions can be created using native Windows 7 tools...or using a partition manager of your choice...there are many tools that allow for this.

 

3.  Backup images are, IME, much larger than the content that a DVD or CD can possibly hold.  Some softwares may allow for spanning, which allows user to save to multiple media, but I'm not familiar with such.

 

4.  Do some research before you proceed, particularly on which method you choose to create your data partition...and your method for saving/storing backups.  There are no standard answers to such questions other than to carefully read and understand the capabilities of any software which you choose to use for such tasks.

 

Louis



#4 jonuk76

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 09:07 AM


3.  Backup images are, IME, much larger than the content that a DVD or CD can possibly hold.  Some softwares may allow for spanning, which allows user to save to multiple media, but I'm not familiar with such.

 

 

 

I have come across software that allows you to span a backup set across DVD's.  But I'm not sure I'd trust a backup of important data to this method.  In most cases, one slight scratch, or unreadable section on one DVD in the set will render the whole thing unusable.  As you'd be looking at possibly a large number of DVD's to do a full backup of a Windows 7 installation, I think there are better options (like a hard drive).


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#5 Thoughtful Skeptic

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 01:50 PM

Hi davnel, Louis and jonuk76

 

Thank you for your helpful (and prompt) replies to my post. I will keep a record of my work and post the results on this forum.

 

I was very happy to hear from you (Louis) after so many years. I feel much more knowledgeable now than when we first met on BP five years ago.

 

The computer that I used then was dated around 2002 and has now gone to its last resting place, together with its 125K of RAM. It was a humble machine and the latter part of its life was used to experiment with disk partitioning, dual booting Linux and backup (and recovery) of the OS, all without fear of accidentally destroying an important asset. I was loath to see it go but my wife needed more space in our apartment. May it rest in peace.

 

Thank you again for all that I learned from you at that time. I am very impressed to see how much the BP website has grown since then.

 

Regards,

 

Thoughtful



#6 hamluis

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 04:17 PM

:thumbsup2: , kind words are always appreciated, whether deserved or not :).

 

 

Happy computing :).

 

Louis






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