optimizing new system w/ partitions
question from a lurker to these forums; input from the more tech-savvy posters is MUCH appreciated.
i just got my new dell system (p4 3.4 ghz, 1 gig ram, 160 gig hd, XP home) and want to set it up the best i can. i have been advised to re-format the system and create a separate partition for windows, because otherwise, in the words of my friend, "windows can get funky."
i am pretty confident i know how to boot from the CD that came with my system and order the system to re-format the hard drive... and to divide the drive into however many partitions... so here are my questions:
-- should i do this in the first place? pros or cons?
-- how large of a partition should i create for windows?
-- am i missing some bump in the road with the format / reinstall process?
-- a friend did this for my last machine (windows ME), and it ran OK, but windows would always try to install programs on the C / windows drive, always try to save documents there... changing save / install drives constantly was a pain. is there a way to tell windows to default to saving / installing on the "application / document" partition?
just for background, i mainly use my system for writing, web, heavy mp3 and video downloading / burning, and lite gaming (sims, the next civ installment when it comes out).
thanks... i just want to make the right decisions now that will keep my system running reliably for years to come. any tips you can give me, regarding this question or otherwise, are MUCH APPRECIATED.