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What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Old 12-22-09, 12:13 PM
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What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

I've always heard it's "better for your computer" to have 2 hard drives, and you keep the OS on the main drive and all your stuff (music, movies, etc) on the 2nd one. I just ordered a new PC and I'm gonna get an additional drive for extra storage. So, what do I put on the 2nd one? Do I install all my programs (Office, Photoshop, etc) on the main one and just save files to the 2nd one? What about games? main drive or 2nd drive? or is it better to have ONLY the OS on the main drive, and install all programs on the 2nd? just curious

My main hard drive is 500 gb. personally I think thats plenty of space for me, but if it really is "better" to have the 2nd drive and can make my system last longer then I figure I may as well do it
Old 12-22-09, 12:23 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

It's good for allowing you to reformat the C: partition with your OS and programs without affecting your personal files. The value of this depends on how often you actually reinstall the OS though. You can also put the swapfile on a second drive which may make it a bit faster (since the drive doesn't have to keep accessing it and other files at the same time). If it happens to be a solid state drive, it can be much faster to have the OS and apps on that. SSDs are just so expensive that nobody can afford to use it for everything, and the extra speed isn't needed for media anyway.

Mainly though, I think people end up getting a second drive just to have more space.
Old 12-22-09, 12:31 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

porn.
Old 12-22-09, 12:53 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by necros View Post
Do I install all my programs (Office, Photoshop, etc) on the main one and just save files to the 2nd one?
This is exactly what I do.
Also, I use my smallest drive for the OS. I think it's an 80gb, and use the bigger ones for all my media stuff.
Old 12-22-09, 01:06 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

in the 1990's people used to say to install your apps to another hard drive, idiots

i like to keep files on an external one for backup purposes and to move them around
Old 12-22-09, 01:12 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

I hate installing applications to a second hard drive since it sometimes becomes a pain when dealing with application paths. It's easier for me to just install it on the main drive.

I just use a 2nd hard drive to store other stuff like music, movies, isos, etc as well as backup files when I need to format C:\.
Old 12-22-09, 01:16 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

meh
there is a performance gain.. just not what it use to be
spreading out the work across multiple spindles will increase performance.. but with newer and faster drives, this increase is marginal

if you were anal about optimizing your system.. you would have OS, App, Page file, and Data all on seperate spindles to maximize overall performance.. but thats definitly overkill in this day and age

that said.. i would still recommend that even if you arent using multiple drives.. that you do seperate out your data to multiple partitions to improve seek rates.

and its kindof silly to call anyone idiots for taking steps to improve performance..
Old 12-22-09, 01:19 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

btw
with current drives.. i typically buy a more expensive/faster smaller drive for my OS, App, and Page file.. but I still normally break them into smaller partitions

then a cheaper large drive for data storage.

my next upgrade, will most likely switch to using a ssd for the os, app, page file drive.. but Ive been too cheap to make the move for now.
Old 12-22-09, 01:24 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

ok so how about a 500 gig drive as my C drive, for OS and apps, D drive for music, downloads and games? thinking games on the 2nd drive because sometimes they take up lots & lots of space.

a SSD would be great, but they're still too pricey to be worth it right now.

just dunno how much space I need. 1 tb seems silly, when my music collection is a whole 30 gigs and I don't have too many movies. I won't be watching HD movies on my PC when I have a home theater in the same room... but then, I thought 200 gb was silly when I got my Mac 6 years ago, and that drive is pretty much full now.

wondering if it would be worth it to get the 2nd drive and then reformat/reinstall Windows 7 on the main one so it's fresh? It's a brand new Dell. There really doesn't seem to be much in the way of bloatware unlike some other systems out there...
Old 12-22-09, 01:30 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

if you arent using alot of data space.. you dont have a need for more than the 500gb drive you currently have

if it was me.. i would take your 500gb drive and partition it out and just go with that.. really doesnt sound like you need more

even if you dont want to to seperate out your page file and apps to a seperate partition.. be sure you put your data on a different partition that your OS..

and if you're worried about your data.. spend the money getting an external drive to sync your data partition to.. for backup purposes.
Old 12-22-09, 01:52 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Whats the use of partitioning 1 drive though? I mean, if all the stuff is still going to be all on 1 drive anyway why would it matter if it's partitioned or not? I just always thought it was better to have 2 separate drives. But I think your right though, 500 should be more than enough space for me. I just figured if it's better to have 2 separate drives I'd do that. I also plan to hook an external drive up to my airport router to use as a backup drive, trying to decide if I want to do a usb for that or go with one of those network externals instead.
Old 12-22-09, 01:54 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by necros View Post
Whats the use of partitioning 1 drive though? I mean, if all the stuff is still going to be all on 1 drive anyway why would it matter if it's partitioned or not? I just always thought it was better to have 2 separate drives. But I think your right though, 500 should be more than enough space for me. I just figured if it's better to have 2 separate drives I'd do that. I also plan to hook an external drive up to my airport router to use as a backup drive, trying to decide if I want to do a usb for that or go with one of those network externals instead.
The most practical use is that if you have to format your OS drive, the other partition can remain and you can easily copy stuff over to it.
Old 12-22-09, 02:33 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by necros View Post

just dunno how much space I need. 1 tb seems silly, when my music collection is a whole 30 gigs and I don't have too many movies. I won't be watching HD movies on my PC when I have a home theater in the same room... but then, I thought 200 gb was silly when I got my Mac 6 years ago, and that drive is pretty much full now.
More HD space is better if you get into any streaming of content from the PC to the HT.

Honestly I don't get the push for partitioning. Drives are cheap now. Run the OS on the fastest drive you have, then I'd say get a second internal drive, which is bigger than you think you will need and use it for data, media, etc. Then get an external to back that content up to on a frequent basis.

Last edited by sniper308; 12-22-09 at 02:44 PM.
Old 12-22-09, 02:36 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by necros View Post
Whats the use of partitioning 1 drive though? I mean, if all the stuff is still going to be all on 1 drive anyway why would it matter if it's partitioned or not? I just always thought it was better to have 2 separate drives. But I think your right though, 500 should be more than enough space for me. I just figured if it's better to have 2 separate drives I'd do that. I also plan to hook an external drive up to my airport router to use as a backup drive, trying to decide if I want to do a usb for that or go with one of those network externals instead.
cuts down on seek/access times
allows you to format the system partition without needing to backup data, or wipe any info outside of the OS
allows you to run virus scans, defrag, malware/spyware scans, searches, etc.. over just the partition targetted.. cutting all of these times dramatically.

well worth the minimal effort for the performance and operational gains
Old 12-22-09, 02:37 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by sniper308 View Post
More HD space is better if you get into any streaming of content from the PC to the HT.

Honestly I don't get the push for partitioning. Drives are cheap now. I'd say get a second internal drive, which is bigger than you think you will need and use it for data, media, etc. Then get an external to back that content up to on a frequent basis.
only reason i said to partition instead of seperate drive.. is because it doesnt sound like he even needs the 500gb he already has.
Im not a big fan of spending money when its not really needed.

but i agree.. and external drive for backup is important.. unless the only data that he cares about is his music.. in which case, his mp3 player is most likely functioning as a backup system.
Old 12-22-09, 02:42 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

just as a disclaimer:
my opinions come from my experience as a server admin, i dont really deal much on the workstation side.. so my recommendations are based on established best practices for setting up servers for optimal performance.. but if its good enough for a server, and doesnt cost extra money, its good enough for a desktop.
Im a senior systems engineer specializing in hardware and os configuration. I work primarily on unix servers (sun sparc for the most part), but do quite a bit on the x86 side as well.. Our best practices come from training, countless seminars, and vendor recommendations (many of which include the manufacturers of the hardware used).

of course, that doest mean much, if Im not good at my job anyways
Old 12-22-09, 02:48 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

well I do have a lot more than just music to back up. I'm a web designer and I have offline versions of almost ever site I've made for my portfolio, plus my current projects, my photos, etc. also used to do video editing on my mac and have thought about getting into that again, more for hobby stuff and home movies. I'd definitely use an extra hard drive for video if I ever get into that again... So yeah I'd say my "stuff" altogether is about 50+ gigs at the moment, and will only grow from there.

I just don't know if I'd get into streaming video to my HT though, I guess I'm just old fashioned, I like having a shelf full of movies
Old 12-22-09, 03:36 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

twikoff pretty much said all there is to say

My primary personal machine has a 1TB Western Digital Black SATA in it with 60GB partitioned off as the OS/APPS/swap file partition. The rest is split between two more partitions I use for various data.

I do not want the heat and noise that two drives generate.

Two drives will give a performance gain, IMO, not worth it to me until like twiky said the SSDs come down to a really good price. Since SSDs have no noise and minimal heat, I am willing to use one as a boot drive.

External drive for backups is a must in the home environment. Anything you have that is really sensitive should probably also be 'off site' (safe deposit box or something) on USB thumbs drives (since they are small/cheap/ and fairly reliable while 'at rest')

If you are not doing a lot of transfer every month, the Amazon S3 backup is reasonable.
Old 12-22-09, 03:44 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Decompressing .rar files across drives is substantially faster than doing it across partitions/same drive. That said, anything else and it really isn't all that big of a deal. I like keeping the OS drive on a fast drive to avoid framentation and to keep it clean in general, and do everything else on second/third hdds.

In this day and age of online storage, cheap extrenals and even thumb drives (being realistic about how much "personal" data most people really have) it just isn't the big deal it used to be.
Old 12-22-09, 03:51 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

So if I decide to partition my main drive, how much extra space do I want to leave for the swap file? I think at the moment I'm up to almost 100 gigs used with Windows 7, office and Adobe apps. I guess I'd have to wipe my drive and install from scratch if I partition it? But then even still, if my hard drive gets fried, I still lose everything partition or not right? I've gone through 3 hard drives on my Mac, before I found out my model (Original G5) was prone to overheating.
Old 12-22-09, 04:12 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Naw, you should be able to "shrink" the drive's free space a bit with Windows 7.

And yeah, if you pour thermite on your hdd, you will not be able to recover anything off of it, no matter what the partition is.
Old 12-22-09, 05:32 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by necros View Post
So if I decide to partition my main drive, how much extra space do I want to leave for the swap file? I think at the moment I'm up to almost 100 gigs used with Windows 7, office and Adobe apps. I guess I'd have to wipe my drive and install from scratch if I partition it? But then even still, if my hard drive gets fried, I still lose everything partition or not right? I've gone through 3 hard drives on my Mac, before I found out my model (Original G5) was prone to overheating.
if you want to put swap on a seperate partition.. my recommendation is make the partition 2x your memory.. then make your swap 1.5x your memory.
that is unless of course you are running 64bit windows with a ton of memory.. in which case, swap should be limited more.

but given your situation.. i think you would be perfectly fine just letting swap run from your data partition... you most likely wont have heavy IO traffic on the data partitiion.. not like you will on an OS/APP partition.. so sticking the page file there isnt that big a deal.
Old 12-22-09, 05:39 PM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

if your harddrive gets 'fried'.. yes, you risk losing everything... which is why you backup your most important data to an external source
I have a robocopy batch file i created for syncing my data to an external.. then i remove the external

but really, i cant say i have had much trouble with many drives getting completely fried beyond salvation.. I have lost some data on failed drives, but through various utilities, I have been able to recover most of my data from drives that most people would have called 'fried'.

the bigger risk is microsoft, viruses, adware/malware, etc..
by keeping at least your OS on a seperate partition... If you have a software/os failure (which is more likely than a hardware failure), than you have the ability to quickly and easily format your OS drive and reinstall..
most people figure that they also need to wipe their apps and reinstall them..

personally.. thats another reason i keep my apps on a seperate partition.. I quickly wipe C, reinstall my OS.. and since my apps are on D.. many of them still work without being reinstalled.. Or I can reinstall the apps right over the top of themselves and in most cases all my settings will be completely intact.. making the process very quick and painless..
and for people that are really anal about it.. they can keep system state backups to recover the registry values and such, making it that much easier to recover without the hassle of reinstalling everything.
Old 12-23-09, 12:00 AM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

Originally Posted by twikoff View Post
only reason i said to partition instead of seperate drive.. is because it doesnt sound like he even needs the 500gb he already has.
Im not a big fan of spending money when its not really needed.

but i agree.. and external drive for backup is important.. unless the only data that he cares about is his music.. in which case, his mp3 player is most likely functioning as a backup system.
I'm not much into spending more money than necessary either, but drives are pretty cheap these days. I'm looking forward to when good SSD's are fairly cheap and a reasonable sized one of those is used primarily for the boot volume and then a good size hard drive is used for data. I can't really stand the thought of using a 500 GB drive for a boot drive. I'd rather have a fast, smaller drive for boot, and a second spindle or RAID set for data.

The main desktop in my house currently has 160 GB boot volume, and a 500 GB secondary internal drive for data, media, etc. Then I have 2 externals for scheduled backups.

Once I get another decent desktop in the house, I think I'm going to load Home Server on this desktop and play with that for backups, etc, as I have a couple of laptops and a Netbook that I'd like to connect to a Home Server.
Old 12-23-09, 09:19 AM
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Re: What's a 2nd hard drive good for?

well right now my system has 3 gb of ram. I run the little cpu meter widget and it's saying that's half used when the system is just idle, up around 70-80% when I start doing stuff. So I'm thinking I might want to upgrade the ram. I will probably get a set of 3 2gb chips so then I'll have 12 and that should be more than enough for the next few years. I'm running 64 bit windows 7.

I have all my important stuff copied over from my Mac now, so far using about 150 gigs of space on the main drive including my music and all. so I'm thinking I'll make the 1st partition be 200 gigs, and the remainder for the 2nd. OS & apps on the main partition and swap file, music, games and junk on the other. How do I go about making these partitions in windows 7, without losing my data? I think the last time I had to do anything like this I was using fdisk in dos....

as far as backups go, I didn't think of this till now but I have a website of my own with 300 gigs of space, and I use less than 1 gig for my site. Anyone know of any backup software (preferably freeware) that can just ftp my stuff to my web server automatically and always keep it in sync? I can do it manually but I was hoping there's something I can just install and it will take care of everything for me.

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