Is it possible to partition a new intel imac?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by irishboy102, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. irishboy102 macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2007

    I will be getting a new imac shortly and coming from a PC background and wondering is it possible to partition the harddisk on it prior to installation. However, I have been told it will be coming pre-installed with Tiger on it and wonder is this still possible. I read that some iMacs are shipped with restore disks rather than an Install disk and wonder what the difference is and the following:

    Is it possible to start up the mac, using the restore cd/dvd, 'c' at start up I have been told, open up disk utility and split the drive in two; have it 1st partition with the operating system, fonts etc, and just keep my music, pictures, videos etc on the 2nd partition. Then after formatting each partition, install OSX on the 1st partition and leave the 2nd partition for use after installation. Is this possible?

    Does a complete OSX system exist on the restore CD, or is it just a program on that that activates a hidden partition (similar to emergency boot cds with some PC computers) on the harddrive. I don't want to be left with no operating system to install if I partition it.

    Or does anyone have advice in doing the above?

  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Yes, you can partition a new iMac. Yes you get a restore/install disk (same as retail). No hidden partitions, it's all quite simple.

    Get your iMac (with Leopard installed if it's brand new).
    Put in Install DVD, reboot and hold 'C' down til you get the grey Apple.
    Go to Utilities Menu, open Disk Utility.
    Erase drive and partition as you like.
    Install OS to whatever partition.

    Whistle a little song and wait for it to be done.
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    The Restore disks contain a full install of the OS and included applications. There's no "hidden" partition.

    You'll be able to partition on-the-fly with Leopard, which will either come pre-installed or you can install from included disks. This will let you create the second partition without reformatting.

    You can install the OS on any partition you like.

    If you want to create a partition for Windows, the Boot Camp assistant will create that partition for you (also, on-the-fly).
  4. irishboy102 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2007
    I just want to use this for mac files, dont want to partition for windows. That is great to know, thanks for your replies.

    Is there any options I should look out for in disk utility when partitioning, even if it takes longer to setup, I'd rather do it right first time.

    How much space would you recommend to dedicate to OSX???

    Many Thanks
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I cannot for the life of me see the point of partitioning expressly for your home folder, which is the terminal hack you'll have to do to get anything on your desktop onto another partition or anything in your library, preferences, iTunes etc.

    You're coming at this from a Windows background but the Unix file structure of the Mac OS makes this an impediment to running your machine smoothly, not making things easier at all.

    Ill-advised in my opinion. What's the point of what you're trying to achieve?
  6. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2007
    Errrr, what does "Unix file structure" have to do with this and why would it be bad for the machine? You're simply moving your files where you want them, still on the same drive, so it's not a performance loss or anything... It's a practice very commonly used by Linux users - you can arrange backups to be made just for your home partition, you can encrypt just your home partition, when you decide to reinstall your system you can erase/format the main partition while leaving your home partition intact, etc.
  7. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    You can do all this without partioning your Mac. All your preferences in your Home's library, setting multiple users, troubleshooting font problems... all this and more are a complete pain if you move your Home folder to another partition. In short, there's not that much to be gained and a lot of hassle potentially down the line if you do.

    To move your Home folder in earlier versions of OS X, there's a thread here.

    Leopard doesn't have NetInfo Manager though, and I've only had it on my Mac for a few days and haven't had a chance to look more deeply into it.

    What's more, in the event of disk failure, a partitioned drive is harder to work with or troubleshoot than one that has it's partition set to one. The only performance gain would come from possibly moving your Home directory to another drive and I'm assuming that the OP, with an iMac, is possibly not too keen on that.
  8. Matek macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2007
    You have some points there, yes, although I still think this is a OS X specific issue, not an issue of the "Unix file structure", because as i said, Linux users do this all the time, it's a well documented and recommended thing to do.

    It's true you can do most things I mentioned without having partitions, except for formatting the main partition while keeping the home partition. One may argue that doing the Backup & Erase thing with the OS X installer is a similar thing, but I have to disagree. Actually formatting the drive has its advantages (you can change the filesystem, you get a completely defragmented drive, etc).
  9. irishboy102 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2007
    I wanted to have the operating system on one partition, just in the event of the operating sytem crashing badly, I wouldn't loose my own stuff except emails, preferences etc relating to itunes etc, which I would have to set up again after a re-install. I just wipe the first partition again and reinstall the operating system, load up my own software and my own files would reside on the 2nd partition untouched.

    Thanks for responses.:)
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    That's not how it works. Your emails, preferences, your desktop etc. live inside your home folder which sits inside the Users folder at root level of the drive. No OS X corruption (extremely rare) should touch the stuff inside there anyway... in the case of catastrophic disk or OS failure, you're better off backing up the User's folder on a regular basis and restoring the accounts on a clean or archived install.

    I'd advise you to spend some time with OS X, seeing how it works, before deciding on this virtually pointless path.
  11. Machacs macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2007
    Is OS X secure?

    If OS X is 'opensource' how can a mac ever be regarded as secure?

    If key objects of the operating system can be replaced by malware without the users knowledge then how can that operating system be considered safe and secure?

    My Mac Book Pro was hacked within 5 mins of connecting to the net.

    I have an encrypted home folder and always use secure removal for trash.

    However my securely removed trash has often reappeared.

    I appear to have 778 plugins on my mac book pro and my .aiff files are increasing at an alarming rate. Everytime I delete or create a file, a duplicate file appers in aiff format.

    I know that disabling the root account and logging on to the net with a user with only standard powers would help security but should Apple not get rid of opensource??
  12. irishboy102 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2007
    Thanks for responses.
    The 2nd partition was to be used mainly as a storage area to file items away when not in use, e.g. photos of camera by date etc. The bulk of the work would be using the main partition with osx on it. I didnt plan to more the users folder, at present there would only be one user, me. The user folder would reside on the primary partition, i.e. 1st partition.

    Surely when you startup and get to the desktop, you have two harddisks on the display, I saw it working on a OS9 machine and I liked the idea of filing stuff off the main drive and allowing the primary partition more room to work. It would just save alot of hassle if later down the line the operating system got buggy, then I could just wipe the 1st partition and reinstall OSX again, leaving my files that I have transferred to the 2nd partition okay.

    I wouldnt be putting a system on the 2nd partition, it would just be for filing items away. I had a similar system on a pc and it worked fine. Is it possible the Mac wouldnt identify which drive was the startup disk when you turn it on, is that what you mean?

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