Determining appropriate Windows 7 partition size

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by KPVA, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. KPVA macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2011
    Hi... I'm a newbie MBP user (just converted from PC this week) and am having some start-up troubles, particularly getting Windows on my Mac. I paid extra for One-to-One service and went in yesterday all prepared with my VM Fusion and Windows 7 Home Premium disks, so they could help me get everything loaded up and running. BUT, we quickly ran into a problem with Boot Camp-- it's actually a known problem with the newest version of Boot Camp, which won't let you download the needed Windows support software to allow the Mac keyboard and mouse to work within Windows once installed. I wish the Apple Store person knew about it, because we wasted the entire hour appointment trying to troubleshoot... and considering I only get one personal session for what I paid, I'm not such a happy camper. So not off to the greatest start with Mac.

    So, after reading the Apple support forums, I have found a back door way to get everything loaded up. So, I am now at the screen with the slider bar asking me how big I want each the Mac and Windows partitions on the hard drive. I was under the impression that I will need to partition the memory between Mac and Windows (and not the hard drive) and that's why I was told to upgrade from 4GB to 8GB of RAM and from the i5 to the i7. And, the support people at VM Ware told me about how much memory I should parition (between 2.5 and 3.5 RAM). But, I guess it's the hard drive that I need to decide about.

    Anyway, I will be a fairly heavy Windows user on the Mac (unfortunately) because the software I need for my business either doesn't have a Mac version or the Mac version is not worth speaking of, such as Quickbooks.

    My questions is: how should I divide up the hard drive- what size partition for Mac/Windows? At a minimum, I'll be running Windows 7 Home Premium (Builders Pack version- 20 GB), Quickbooks Pro 2010 for Windows (1GB + room for data files), and another work-related program (300MB). And depending on how I like the Mac versions, I may also switch to the Windows versions of my VOIP phone/fax system (200MB) and MS Office 2007 (min of 3GB) for my phone/fax system to integrate with Outlook and Word (it doesn't do that on the Mac version).

    Any words of wisdom for this newbie? I just don't want to take a chance on making the Windows side too small because I can't start over and reload Windows with this Builder's Pack.

    Many thanks in advance!

    --Excited but Frustrated Newbie
  2. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Go with at least 50 gb. I found that 30 gb is too small and I'm having to delete files all the time to free up space.
  3. KPVA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2011
    Thanks, vistadude. I was thinking even more than 50BG. But, I don't want to overkill it.
  4. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    I am going to assign 120GB/500GB of my MBP to Windows 7.
  5. KPVA thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2011
    Hajime, thanks. What are you going to load on your Windows side if you don;t mind me asking? I've never had to do this (or think about it) before and I don't know how much room data files that I would create would take up.

    Thanks again!
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Like hajime I also recommend dedicating 20-25% of your drive to Windows and have ~125GB partitions on my 500GB drives and a 40 GB partition on my 160GB iMac.

    In my case, data goes on the NAS so I can retrieve it from OS X, but I want to be able to load engineering software or a game if I need to without going through the rigamarole of resizing my Windows partition.

    KPVA. I'd check with the manager of the store where you did the one to one to see if they would do a make up session given that the first one was wasted.

  7. hajime macrumors 601

    Jul 23, 2007
    3D software, Matlab, engineering software, etc.
  8. Andeavor macrumors 6502

    Aug 19, 2010
    I gave it a capacity of 55GB and even though I hardly use it except for the occasional PC game, I'm down to 15GB of free space already. So, anything between 60 and 100GB is a good start if you plan to use large programs or need quite some space for other data, but not more than that.
  9. S Reiman, Mar 22, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011

    S Reiman macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2011
    Running Microsoft Windows Products (HD SIZING)


    It sounds like many of you are either new converts to Mac, or reluctantly trying to squeeze Windows onto a tiny partition in your Intel based MBP. Honestly marketing wise, going to the Intel/PC chipset was a good move for Apple. Because they were never going to be able to drive key vendors to deliver fully equivalent applications for Mac.

    I'm a long time user of Microsoft Products, a hardware focused electrical engineer, and have finally entered the world of Mac because of hardware/software quality issues with PC/Windows products, not that Apple is perfect, they do try hard, and keep working at it.

    Today, I'm going to open a partition for Windows 7/64-bit on my 500GB, and 4G RAM MBP. I'm guarded at only having 4GB RAM, but my plans for the HD are 300G/200G. Leaving the larger chunk for Mac, due to images and the like. I was reading the posts here on topic and felt the need to contribute in kind.

    I have engineering, finance, and analysis applications not available for Mac.

    I'm writing this post because:

    It sounds like those commenting so far do not understand how Microsoft products behave. Windows makes extensive use of the HD to buffer its gluttonous appetite for RAM, especially when you don't have enough. In other words more RAM is best for Windows, and I may boost mine to 8GB in short order, when cash-flow allows.

    Even with 8GB RAM, the following guideline should be followed.

    > Size to always allow 20%~30% free space on your Windows partition
    - Why because Windows is a heavy user of the HD for Virtual Memory
    - Too little room and you risk sluggish behavior and/or a crash
    - Less than 10%~15% free space you will notice pain, and place memory intensive processes at risk. Such as large spreadsheets. Speaking of which try keeping Excel files below 100MB, and make a copy before making calculation changes to large spreadsheets. I've seen Excel processes crash around 120MB, at least they have with versions less than 10-years old. An undocumented feature, or ceiling whichever you prefer. From multiple encounters with this limit, I can tell you crashing a large Excel file between 110MB~130MB renders the file corrupt, and unusable. So be sure to make a copy first.

    Considering everything I've read here I'm going with my original thoughts.

    > I'm going to partition 300GB for Mac, and 200GB for Windows 7. So my Windows partition will look something like this over time, 50GB for Windows products, 50GB for other applications, 40GB for related data, and 60GB of head room, which will allow consumption of a 20GB buffer before exceeding the 20% free space threshold. This also helps defrag to work, which is essential to keep your disk access file/read/write speed up.

    To accommodate any future cramping of HD partition size, external storage is fine. However programs need on-baord HD storage and RAM to run most efficiently. Power users of Windows on Mac should consider increasing RAM, when cash-flow allows. Just be mindful of how fast processes complete, if you feel they're taking too long, then set funds aside for a memory boost.


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