Pro's or Cons of partitioning a hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DEXTERITY, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. DEXTERITY macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2004
    I usually partition my hard drives because I was always under the belief that if it failed I may be able to at least save half of my data. I assume that isn't true based on what happened to my hard drive last week.

    I have an external lacie hard drive that I was going to use as a back up drive. Should I partition it or just leave it as one? I'm not sure if there are any real pro's to having a partition other than organizational purposes?

    I would appreciate any help. Thank you.
  2. develove macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2006
    From what I was told, partitioning is not a good way to do backup. If there's any physical failure on the drive, all partitions will be suffered. That being said, partitioning is a good way to have things organized.

    I have a 80GB partition sitting on my 160GB external drive as a clone of my internal drive. The other 80GB was used as a storage.
  3. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    I haven't seen partitioning being required since the Windows NT days and I never bothered with it in my HP-UX admin days. I haven't heard of anyone currently needing to partition other than for different file systems such as multiple OS's on the same disk. Unless you are dabbling in the latter, I wouldn't bother partitioning. Also, if you don't partition then you won't have to worry about monitoring free space on multiple volumes, just one.

    I have two 250 GB disks striped with raid 0. Yes, I am using the dreaded level 0 raid on my personal box. I like the speed. What can I say? However, I do backups to an external drive frequently because the prospect of completely and permanently losing everything doesn't appeal to me much. I have files going back to my Graphite iMac 600/System9 days. (yeesh)

    Whatever you decide for partitioning, backing up is a good habit to get into.

    As far as organizing goes, create whatever folders you need to keep it neat and clean.
  4. dops7107 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2005
    Perth, Oztrailya
    I have two partitions on my 200 GB external. One is just 10 GB, and I use that as a bootable partition that has just Tiger on it, and I can use that as a means to run my computer and get it fixed should my main hard drive fail. The other partition I use to hold a back up of data and other storage (music, video, photos mostly). I can keep an operating system completely separate from all other data.

    The downside of partitioning... well if you run out of space on one partition you'll have to use the other one. Which may or may not matter, depending on how organised you want to be. But if you need lots of temporary space, say for video editing, you cannot combine the two partitions together for space. They are essentially separate. So in that case an unpartitioned drive maximises the space you have available for large files.
  5. Eniregnat macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    Seeing as data structure failure isn't as likely or as hard to repair than physical failure of a drive, a partition would not be a good way to save your data.

    If you want a back up, clone your drive to an inexpensive FireWire drive. I am a big believe in cloning drives, as it offers a way to quickly boot or restore a machine with out having to do much work. I have a FireWire drive partitioned in half. I have a clone on one half (I clone once a month) and a progressive backup on the other half.

    There is another reason why one would not want to have redundant data on a single drive. Data reclamation companies charge by the gig. They don't care about restoring one file, it's generally an all or nothing deal.

    Lacie drive owners have use of Silverkeeper which can be downloaded for free by Lacie users. I have 5 Lacie drives and have not had any problems with any of them. Others may say different. Silver Keeper can make progressive automatic copies, even from logical drive to logical drive with in the same physical drive.

    Some people pay a for a program like Super Duper and are very happy.

    Edit: partitioning is a good way to organize data, but there is a cost. A drive looses significant space when it is partitioned.
  6. DEXTERITY thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2004
    Thanks for the feedback and help. I was actually starting to feel the same way about the free space issue as well. Good to know it really isn't an issue. I was in the process of re-doing all my hard drives and wanted to double check to see whats best.. Thanks for the help and tips..

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