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Why do we partition the HDD into :C and :D?


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11 replies to this topic

#1 Just_One_Question

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 06:45 AM

Why do we split the hard drive into a :C and a :D partition (or more) and not just one whole block of storage space?:)

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:21 AM

The number and size of partitions...is a matter of judgement/desire by whomever installs Windows.

 

OEMs create 2 or 3 partitions typically, with one being a hidden restore partition.

 

Many users create at least 2 partitions...because there is no value in having a singular partition on a hard drive of any size.  Windows needs a partition because it's the O/S.  Installing Windows on a partition that is larger than 50GB generally creates a situation where chkdsk scans, AV scans. and such...may/will take an exceptional amount of complete...which is irritating.  If I install Win 7 on a 2TB drive with a single large partition (rather than a much smaller SSSD)...all scans will take what seems like forever.

 

This can be avoided by creating multiple partitions, with some of those used for data storage and backups.

 

In short, creating at least 2 partitions (regardless of who does it) makes the system partition true to its designation...and not a mislabled storage partition/drive.

 

With multiple partitions...running chkdsk /r on any partition other than C:...can proceed while the user is still employing the system for other tasks.  To run chkdsk /r on the Windows partition (no matter what size) calls for Windows not to be operative and can only be executed from boot.  Advantage goes to having multiple partitions, since every partition needs chkdsk /r and other scans at various times..

 

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#3 Drillingmachine

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 07:33 AM

+ another reason: if you need to reinstall OS, it's much easier if you can just format C drive and lose only OS. Using one partition you would lose OS + all other stuff also if formatting OS partition.

And still another reason: If OS partition really screws up so that you cannot rescue anything from there, you just lose OS and not all other stuff.

#4 Just_One_Question

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 08:00 AM

I see. Thank you for your elaborate responses. You are very kind!:)

#5 Kilroy

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

Since I've been using Solid State Drives (SSD) I only create one partition per drive.  When I was using hard drives I would partition a C: OS Drive and D: Data drive.  As I accumulated more and more data I have my OS on the C: drive and my user files redirected to my Data drive.



#6 MadmanRB

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 06:03 PM

The C and D label is just a leftover from the DOS days and while Microsoft has moved on to NT based OS's and is designated by the OS but to find out how this started:

 

 

It should be noted that only Windows has the C drive dedicated to the main OS, other systems such as linux label drives as SDA and on a Mac its simply labeled as Macintosh HD as Apple likes hierarchy in its file system layout.


Edited by MadmanRB, 08 May 2017 - 06:23 PM.

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#7 mjd420nova

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 06:51 PM

Way back when the first hard drives were thought up, it was mostly a cutdown version of mainframe software and began with the Intel 8080 chips.  Dual floppy drives were common so the logic next step was to assign the hard drive the third drive in the letter set : : C.  Initially, the size of the first partition was limited by the amount of memory (both RAM and Hard drive) the processor could address.  When the software gurus got ahold of that and solved the addressing problem, even found a way to increase RAM size.   "C" is a convention carried from the first operationing systems and has remain since mainly because it  isn't hard to understand.  A single drive can be divided into how many partitions you wish (some software limits exist here still) and they will be added to the list, in alphabetical order.  A common configuration might be an "a" drive being a 5 1/4 inch 360K/720K dual sided floppy drive, "b" would be a 1.44 MB diskette drive.  The hard drive may be divided into two parts, "C"  &  "D".  An added drive would be an optical CD/DVD unit designated as "e".  Connecting an external drive would be picked up by the OS and assigned the next letter in order.  It's an old convention that makes sense, even today.


Edited by mjd420nova, 08 May 2017 - 06:52 PM.


#8 smax013

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:38 PM

+ another reason: if you need to reinstall OS, it's much easier if you can just format C drive and lose only OS. Using one partition you would lose OS + all other stuff also if formatting OS partition.

And still another reason: If OS partition really screws up so that you cannot rescue anything from there, you just lose OS and not all other stuff.


All reasons for why I have used either separate partitions or drives for data.

It also makes backing up just your data much easier if you have a separate data partition (or data drive) that keeps your data separate from the boot partition (or drive).

Personally, I tend to try to use a separate drive if I can (which I do for my desktops).

I used to do this for my Macs as well (although no C: and D: drive, etc), but have not lately. This is partly because Apple made partitioning your drive more interesting when they went to hidden recovery partitions (repartitioning the drive sometimes can hose the recovery partition). But, it is also because Macs can deal with restoring backed up applications better (in my opinion) than Windows can, so having "full" backups tends to make more sense. With the issues of programs and the Registry in Windows, I had found that for my routine frequent backups of data, it was a waste to also backup the programs as restoring them may or may not work. It is still a bit of a waste to do routine backups on a Mac that back up the OS and programs, but I just live with it.

Once thing that I will offer a caution about is the size of the boot partition (or drive). Some Windows programs have to be installed on the boot drive (unless things have gotten better on that front). So, you typically want to make sure your boot partition (drive) is large enough that you can install all the programs you want.

I believe one last reason was partition size limits in the past. If memory serves, in the some what distant past, there were limits to partition sizes that were less than the size of available drives. So, you were forced to partition the drive if you did not want to waste drive space. I could be wrong...my memories of DOS and Windows 3 to Windows 95/98/Me days are fuzzy now.

#9 mjd420nova

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 12:57 PM

With the initial use of DOS based operating systems, the size of addressable memory and hard drive space was limited by the number of bits the processor could address,     eight with the original 8080, 8086, 8080.  With the  advance to the 80286, a 16 bit address became available.  From there, it became possible  to address more space with software programs and special add on boards.



#10 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 01:18 PM

I hate to think of the money I spent on a memory expansion card and 640k of memory for an old IBM PC. 



#11 mjd420nova

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:08 PM

I still use an IBM PC AT unit.  It has an Intel board in it called  "Aboveboard" that supported 2.0 MB of RAM.  Full length card and populated with 64K chips.  I use an extra fan to keep it cool as the unit runs 24/7 except for a yearly cleaning and I try to do that without powering it down.


Edited by mjd420nova, 10 May 2017 - 06:08 PM.


#12 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:23 PM

Old hardware was built to last. I had some old intergraph cards from my place of employment when they decided to dump them. They all had gold traces.






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