Do you partition your iMac hard disk? Is there any side effect?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by seasurfer, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. seasurfer macrumors 6502a

    Dec 12, 2007
    I know it may sounds stupid to ask, I am thinking of partitioning my 500GB hard disk to 200GB and 300GB, with the 300GB holding the OS. Is it a good idea? Have anyone done it before? Any unwanted effects?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No unwanted side affects, many people do this. Clearly apple prefers a single partition since its difficult to move your home directory off the main partition, but that also is doable.
  3. The ArchAngel macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2008
    Were you thinking for Boot Camp or just to have a System and a Data partition? I've partitioned my iMac for Boot Camp, giving the Mac OS 900GB and the Windows partition 100GB with no issues whatsoever. I've known folks who have partitioned their single disk into multiple data partitions as well with no issues, though depending on your goals this may or may not be a worthwhile exercise.
  4. wessew macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2010
    Be aware that the default storage location for music, photos, movies, documents, etc. is your startup drive. You can change these locations but if you do not, you may eventually run out of space with only 300 gb allocated.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I partition. Always have.

    One way to do it is to have a main (i.e., "boot") partition, then a smaller secondary but still-bootable partition. This way, you can "switch-boot" to the secondary partition, and run maintenance on your main partition.

    Having a second bootable partition also gives you an easy way to get booted up if something on your main partition is causing problems (failed boot, etc.). You can quickly reboot and "attack" the problem with your diagnostic utilities, etc.

    I also keep my most important data on its own partition that is separated from my boot partition. Makes it much easier to backup (the total size of the data files is small vis-a-vis the size of the system files), and having the important data on a separate volume lessens the chance of corruption if for some reason your system volume becomes corrupted.

    This has worked well for me for 25 years....
  6. H00513R macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2010
    I don't use any "inter Mac" partitioning. I've never found any need to have one. I don't even have Bootcamp as I wanted to stay wholly in my Mac environment.
  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    I don't catch the aim of partitioning... Sure it's needed for installing multiple OSs but that I understand but I've seen people having like 5 partitions for absolutely nothing! In externals, I get it because you may need it with other OSs as well, plus you may not want to give Time Machine the whole 2TB so you give it only 500GB.

    Why would you partition the HD? It just makes things harder and you always have to pay attention where you put that and that file and in the end, folders are for that
  8. robby818 macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2007
    If I have enough space,i prefer to partition the hard drive into two partitions:Macintosh HD A and Macintosh HD B

    A: OS
    B: documents, itunes library, iphoto library, downloads, superduper images of HD A, and Vmware fusion virtual machines.

    I prefer to keep data away from the OS for a few reasons:

    1. if there is a crash (even a hardware problem) if the data is on a seperate partition is is much easier to recover it than if it is intermingled with the OS. A corrupt OS can make accessing your data on the same partition very difficult. Likewise a physical problem (scratch) with a sector on the OS partition can make reading data on that partition impossible...if it is on a separate partition there is a better chance of reading it despite problems with the OS partition.

    2. i can restore the OS on HD A in under 10 minutes by using a superduper image stored on B. This is a very fast way to restore your OS, a USB drive will be much slower by comparison. I do not need to worry about backing up my personal data with a few exceptions- address book, ical, bookmarks.

    3. i like to keep the virtual machines on their own partition anyways. it keeps the file size of my superduper images of OSX small.

    *I got into this habit because I come from Windows where being able to restore a machine from a Ghost image is a real time saver. I do not do it on my SSD equipped laptops due to limited space but with the 2 TB hard drive in my imac I do prefer it.
  9. smokingun macrumors newbie

    Apr 5, 2010
    This is my question also, as I undertake "The Great Migration" on a 1TB iMac drive.

    I am considering partition -

    A: Mac OS X
    B: Windows 7 (via parallels)
    C: All Docs, data, OS Images (gotta figure out what superduper is)
    D: An encrypted data partition for some confidential work I do.

    Everything backed up to Time Machine

    Is there any reason both Mac and Win DATA (MS Office docs and Pages docs, for example) should not reside on the same partition? Or should I have data partitions for each?

    I have several external harddrives I had intended to use for redundant physical backups; however, an Apple Genius suggested I keep the windows OS and data files there. Any reason to really do that? Will Time Machine back up an external drive seamlessly?

    Thanks for all your help. This is daunting but exciting, as I know little about Mac except it will soon be all better!
  10. svenwillmann macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    I do partition.

    I used to keep data and application completely separate but softened up this approach with Leopard, keeping my home folder on the main (os partition) and just divert things like iTunes/iPhoto library to the second partition.
    I also keep all the “nonsense” like movies, temp dvd etc. on the second partition.
    On all my macs I call the first partition HD and the second SHARE. I also share folders on the SHARE and none on the HD.
    Funny enough the HD (I generally set up smaller than the SHARE) containing the OS, applications and my user folder (excl. the iTunes/iPhoto) is always smaller and is not half as occupied than the SHARE I use for playing around.

    Reason for partitioning , probably personal taste.

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