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Old 10-24-2003, 06:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Primary vs Extended Partitions

WindowsXP Pro

I am new to disk partitioning and was wondering why I would ever want to create an Extended partition rather than a Primary one. If I just want 2 or 3 extra partitions for things like data, music, video files etc then does it matter what type of partition I choose?

Obviously I don't understand what each do, and what benefits there may be of one over the other.

Also ..... how much Primary partition disk space should I allocate for windows XP Pro system files (Drive C)? Should I use the C drive for applications or use a separate partition to install these?


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Old 10-24-2003, 07:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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ok,...i can't exactly tell you what to do,..but i can share what i did with my partitions.

i have an 80 gig HD...separated into 3 partitions....c: is 20gig which has all programs including OS ...d: is 20gig with all my games and e: is 40gigs with all my media and backup.

all partitions are in ntfs format since its more efficient(i think).

i partition my HD for the simple reason that if in case i BSOD'd mp3's and media files are safe in another HD partition and i can just simply reinstall the os and other apps in c:

its more practical than having to back up all my media files to a cd. and if my system crashes ..i don't have to dig up all those back up cd's a copy their contents back the pc.

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Old 10-24-2003, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Might help if you told us how big this drive is. It does not matter what size you partition the drive out to, and no you do not have to. The only time you have to partition you drives out is if the max size of the drive is unsupported. For instance, i think the max that ntfs can do is something like 160gb ( or in that area). Then you have to divide the drive up or you will not be able to use the whole amount of disk space. As for the preivous post you should still be able to reinstall your OS and apps if you get a BSOD even if you only have one partition. You are only reinstalling to the windows folder not to the whole partition. I dont see the benefit.

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Old 10-24-2003, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You can have one Primary partition and the rest are extended.

Keep in mind that this means nothing when in your OS. They all look the same there, just different drive letters.

So make your primary (C the make your extended. Then install your OS on C: and do whatever you want on the extended. Just make sure you format it so you can put data on it.
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Old 10-24-2003, 06:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll explain you this in the easiest, most comprehensible way. there are several conditions:

1) on basic MBR disks you can have maximum 4 primary partitions or 3 primary partitions and an extended partition with multiple logical drives contained inside.

2) an operating system needs to be installed on a primary partition only. usually for multiple boot systems you have a separate primary partition for each OS unless they can reside on the same primary partition with no conflicts.

3) you must have at least 1 primary partition on at least 1 of your hard drives for the OS to boot. example, if you have 3 physical disks the bootable partition must be on one of those physical disks. the other two disks do not have to have a primary partition.

4) keep in mind that partitioning and file systems are 2 different things. after partitioning you can format with FAT32, NTFS, or whatever the hell linux and MAC OS use.

what does all this mean?:
if you only need up to 4 partitions on each physical disk you can use primary partitions. if you need over 4 than you can use a combo of primary and logical drives to suite your environment.

here's a real example of a dual boot system, if i want 8 partitions on one physical 120GB hard disk you can set it up like this:

primary C: 15GB winXP OS installed
primary D: 10GB win98 OS installed
(optional 1 more primary making total of 3)
Extended partition holding (container for logical drives):
logical E: 20GB Data
logical D: 50GB Movies
logical ....... and so on to Z
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