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Windows 7 Pro Installation Anomaly


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#1 StarGator

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Posted 29 November 2014 - 06:54 PM

Question:  is an installation of Windows 7 Pro valid if (1) the drive is partitioned into two "primary" partitions, and (2) Win7 is installed on the second partition, which Win7 designates as Drive C, instead of the first partition, which Win 7 designates as Drive D? 

 

Of course, if that arrangement did not work then I doubt that I could run MSIE to post this question.

 

However, what problems -- if any -- might ensue if I do not re-install Win7 on the first partition of the drive? For example, can malware install itself on the other primary partition, change the MBR to designate it as the boot partition, then load itself into memory before booting Win 7? 

 

Can I change the designation of the first partition as a "primary" partition to another status?

 

Not that this outcome was deliberately intended. ....

 

LONG!

 

Recently I bought a 250GB Samsung EVO SSD and installed it in my computer (which I built myself at the end of April 2011). There haven't been any problems with it of which I am aware.

 

So I decided to perform a fresh Windows 7 Pro installation rather than attempt to "migrate" any of the content of the 500 GB Western Digital HDD to it. Windows has become "sluggish" since it was re-installed (for the same reason) about 18 months ago. Before installing Win7 on the SSD, I disconnected the HDD -- on which Win7 was installed on Partition 0 designated as Drive C -- until after Win7 was installed and fully updated on the SSD, and I was ready to run the software installers archived on the HDD.

 

Whether it matters, before partitioning the SSD I installed an AHCI driver for the Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 motherboard SATA III 6 GB/s controller. Originally I installed AHCI for the WD HDD because the CPU is an AMD Phenom II X4 910e (four cores). Of course, I obtained the most recent AHCI update before the Win7 install on the SSD.

 

The first Win7 installation did not go very well. Some updates failed to install and were not downloaded again. Then Win7 either ignored some driver updates which I installed, or declared that they did not install correctly and either reverted to the Windows 7 default or to an outdated driver that had been installed from the Win7 disc or during an update.  There were enough of these "exceptions" to my expectations that, eventually, I decided to risk wiping the SSD drive and try again. I used the Samsung Magician utility "Secure Erase" process. Evidently, it succeeded, there hasn't been any problem with the SSD that has become evident to me since.  But we should not do that except as the last resort, when truly necessary.

 

During the second installation, I partitioned the SSD into one 107 GB partition and one 125 GB partition, which I created and formatted respectively in that order. Thus partition 0 should be and is 107 GB and partition 1 should have been and was 125 GB. The Windows 7 installer also created a 100 MB "System" partition at the "start" of the SSD although, in my experience, less than about 100 KB or so is ever used.

 

After Win 7 was installed for the second time, after many hours of downloading and installing all of the OS updates (about 300+ of them!), I successfully updated the drivers which Win 7 had not installed or updated, and installed some software. 

 

Considering and investigating what I need to do with the partitions on the HDD, I ran the Admin Tools Disk Management utility.

 

Lo and behold:  on the SSD, partition 0 is Drive D, which has 107 GB. Partition 1 is Drive C. Windows 7 is installed on Drive C, of course. After using ~ 23 GB for Overprovisioning, which Samsung Magician created at the "end" of the drive, Partition 1 (Drive C) is now a bit more than 100 GB. (Overprovisioning was done immediately after the Win7 install per se completed, before any Win7 updates.)

 

Okay, I forgot this possibility. It happened once when I installed Windows 7 for the second or third time on the 500 GB Western Digital HDD after I assembled the components to create the computer. Windows tech support advised me to wipe the HDD and repeat the Win 7 installation.

 

After all this time and effort, though, there are no evident problems with the fact that Windows 7 is installed on partition 1 / Drive C. Admin Tools Disk Management reports:

 

(1) "Volume" C has a simple layout, basic type, NTFS and is "Healthy (Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)." 

 

(2) Volume D is reported to have the same attributes and as a "Healthy (Primary Partition)" without any other characterization.

 

If memory serves, when I created the first partition during the installation, Win7 reported it as a "Primary" partition, and when I created the second partition, it was also reported to be a "Primary" partition.  I am not sure what I did that was any different than what I have done during other Win7 installations, i.e., if I did anything differently. I have no idea what I needed to do to prevent the second partition from being created as a "Primary" partition, if that is the reason for the installation outcome.

 

Regardless, it is passing peculiar that the Win7 installer evidently (1) created the System partition, then (2) created partition 0 with the size that I specified for the first partition, and (3) created partition 1 with the size that I specified for the second partition, then (4) decided that partition 0 would be Drive D and partition 1 would be Drive C. It seems to me that it should make the first partition after the System partition the boot partition and designate it as Drive C, then designate the next partition as Drive D.

 

Insofar as a "Primary" partition is ordinarily a prospective boot partition, I suppose that someone could want to create two (or more) Primary partitions and install a different OS on each one, then select the OS when the hardware boots. That isn't what I intended to do, but if partitioning the drive with multiple Primary partitions does not affect whether Windows (or an alternative OS) can boot from the one where it is installed, then I don't perceive any reason to re-install Windows 7 for the third time. ...

 

Even if the third time is a charm. :-)

 

 


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#2 bludshot

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 12:15 AM

is an installation of Windows 7 Pro valid if (1) the drive is partitioned into two "primary" partitions, and (2) Win7 is installed on the second partition, which Win7 designates as Drive C, instead of the first partition, which Win 7 designates as Drive D?

 

I would say yes

 

 

However, what problems -- if any -- might ensue if I do not re-install Win7 on the first partition of the drive? For example, can malware install itself on the other primary partition, change the MBR to designate it as the boot partition, then load itself into memory before booting Win 7?

 

I don't think there are any special problems such as this beyond normal.

 

...Not sure what the point of the rest of your long post was... appears to be thinking out loud...    But, anyways, personally, I would not partition the SSD at all. Then this is avoided.



#3 StarGator

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:16 PM

Thanks, Bludshot.

 

After many years of storing Windows and all of the other files on the same partition, I found it better to store Windows and most of the software that I use on one partition, then store data and archives on a separate partition(s). If you don't do that, then it can become rather difficult to identify which folders are Windows and which folders are not.


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#4 bludshot

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:25 PM

I do that as well, but I use whole other drives.



#5 StarGator

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 11:16 PM

I do that as well, but I use whole other drives.

 

SSDs are still too expensive for me to buy one just for Windows, and one or more others for programs and/or some data. Recently I bought a 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO and, as described in the OP, installed 64-bit Windows 7 Pro SP1 on a 100 GB partition of it, along with some utility programs.  Now I expect to install application software in the other 107 GB partition. About 23 GB is used for "overprovisioning". The 500 GB Western Digital HDD that formerly stored everything will be used for data storage and archives.

 

When SSDs first became available, people were buying ones that held 65 GB just for Windows, and maybe buying another one to serve for "caching" data writes pending transfer to a HDD. Whether an SSD with that capacity is still being manufactured, I don't know. The least expensive now is a 128 GB SSD, and I have yet to find any software that implements using an SSD, or a partition of one, for caching writes to a HDD.  Those who can afford the larger SSD capacities are apparently using them just as they once used HDDs. Some day, maybe, I will have a 2 TB SSD installed for data and archives. :-)


Edited by StarGator, 01 December 2014 - 11:23 PM.

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#6 bludshot

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 03:12 AM

Yeah, I didn't mean two SSDs though. I would put windows, and program files on C. I don't see much reason to put a program on a separate drive than C, unless it was a large game that I rarely play. If I was editing video, I would also put the video files on C for the speed boost, and big game(s) that I play frequently. For all other files, the speed difference of having them on the D non-ssd hard drive instead of the C SSD is negligible in my opinion. Loading windows, programs, and big games, are the only things I find that get a big boost from being on an SSD.

 

There's nothing wrong with partitioning drives, I just find that for me there is no reason to do it. Also I find I am able to keep my windows functioning great for years and years without needing a format (which is one reason people (used to?) partition, so they can reformat the C partition and install windows fresh again while keeping all the data on D partition.

 

Also, as far as I understand it, SSD's are inferior to HHD's for storing big data and archives, because of reliability and longevity. I could understand wanting to keep frequently accessed files on an SSD though.

 

Technically though, your method is slightly faster than mine (even if I think it is negligible) since I would be opening some files off a slower HDD.






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