One of the benefits of partitioning is safety. I like to put Windows on the smaller partition and then leave the bigger partition for data like videos/music/photos etc.
This way, if (when) Windows crashes and needs to be reinstalled. You can re-format the partition that the OS is on and reinstall with a fresh copy of Windows, but all of your data is safe on the other partition.
This of course does not help you if the drive itself fails since it's all on 1 disk. But great for reinstalling Windows.
If it's a big drive and you have room to spare, I like to start with a fresh install and then image the OS partition and store it's image on the 2nd partition. This way, if you do need to reinstall, you just re-image the PC from the copy you have on the 2nd partition. Saves you from doing going through the entire setup process. Plus you always have your image file close by and your not scrambling around trying to remember where you stored your image file.
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