What's a good size for a Windows 7 Boot Camp partition in an iMac?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by doxavita, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. doxavita macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I'll be installing Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium through Boot Camp, and then link such partition to Parallels.

    It will be for a 2011 27"iMac which has a 1TB hard drive. I'll be using the partition for gaming (not too heavy) and some databases.

    What would be a good hard drive size then? I was thinking about 300GB-350GB, is that a good amount? I understand the partition can't be re-sized once it's been made. What size have you given to your partition?
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    That really depends on the databases.

    I have a 1 Tb drive in my iMac with a 64 Gb partition for gaming. Your guess of 300-350 could be spot-on, or it could be way too big or too small, depending on what types of databases you plan to use and how big you want them to be.

    Caveat: OS X is my primary OS, and I seldom boot over to Windows for any reason, so I didn't want a bigger-than-necessary Windows partition.
     
  3. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    The entire databases shouldn't take up more than 50-60GB, but wasn't sure about the gaming part. With a 1TB hard drive, I have some space to spare. How much does the Win 7 installation take? Would I need something smaller than 300GB?
     
  4. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #4
    Your goal of 300-350 GB seems fine. I usually use 20-25% of the HDD and this is closer to 30-35%, but you have a reason for it.

    You can resize later, but it can be tricky. So yes, overestimate unless it leaves you too little space for OS X.

    B
     
  5. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Windows 7 takes about 15-25 GB space, then other apps, probably another 5-10 GB. Plus your databases of 60 GB, would be a minimum of 100 Gb without games to be on the safe side.

    Games these days take up 10, 20, even 30 Gb of space, so 300 Gb sounds about right. You may also want a third FAT32 partition of about 100 GB as a data swap between windows and Mac OS if you decide to go with a bootcamp partition over parallels.
     
  6. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #6
    Just note that when you do that you are leaving Boot Camp Assistant behind and are on your own for partitions.

    B
     
  7. doxavita, Jun 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011

    doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    All I want is a simple partition I can later link to Parallels. I'm not too knowledgeable regarding advanced partitioning such as the one you mentioned. Perhaps I should create a 300GB-350GB NTFS one?
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #8
    Yes. We all agree. 300-350 GB seems fine given what you have described.

    B
     
  9. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    And what about file format? NTFS for the whole partition should get the job done? Maybe a USB thumb drive could be used to share data. Since I'll link it to Parallels. Isn't NTFS a bit faster?
     
  10. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #10
    Correct. I left an SD card in my MBP for sharing files between the OSes.

    B
     
  11. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Alright, so a simple thumb drive will take care of any sharing issues. If I went FAT32 it would be easier to share, but nowadays NTFS is standard? (and faster)
     
  12. crewkid89 macrumors regular

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    #12
    Also you can't boot windows 7 from FAT32. XP was the last windows os to support booting from that filesystem. Although it can still read it fine obviously so you could still have the data partition.
     
  13. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    So it would be a 350GB main partition, then link that to Parallels, and later take off about 60GB from the 350GB, would Parallels see the partition within the partition?
     
  14. vistadude macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Good question. I didn't know the answer to this when I got an iMac at work, and couldn't find any of the IT support who knew the answer, so we ended making one mac os partition, and one bootcamp partition (NTFS). We then installed parallels and windows 7 within the Mac OS partition. It didn't need a third partition as it can somehow be installed within the mac OS partition. So basically we had two ways to run windows, both native, and thru virtualization, and we had to install all the windows apps on both windows. It's somewhat of a convoluted approach, but wastes a lot of space. There might be a way to install one windows 7, and share it between bootcamp and parallels/Fusion.

     
  15. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #15
    Booting your Boot Camp partition in place is supported by all three major VM systems. Parallels/VMWare and Virtualbox. You just have to be careful, all three also support importing your BC partition which is not what you want and all three call each option something different.

    B
     
  16. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    And when I import/link my BootCamp partition to Parallels, I can still write to the partition while in Parallels, right? (Can I install a program while in Parallels, and see that program installed when I boot into BootCamp?) Just want to be sure, I'm almost 100% sure this shouldn't be a problem.
     
  17. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #17
    If you link but don't import, it is the same install. Windows basically treats it as two configurations of the hardware (e.g. Docked vs. Undocked laptop). Changes made reflect immediately since there is only one Windows install.

    Import is a different beast...

    B
     
  18. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
  19. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    That's correct. You should be ready to go. I'm doing the same very soon and had those same instructions bookmarked.
     
  20. doxavita, Jun 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011

    doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
  21. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #21
    Pay attention to the order of steps in the second case.

    Don't activate the Boot Camp partition until after you have created your VM and installed Parallels Tools.

    B
     
  22. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Hmm, so this is still an issue? so during the bootcamp windows 7 installation there's a way to skip and do the activation later on, without a problem?
    Should I call AppleCare during all this and have them guide/help me?
     
  23. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #23
    Don't enter the key and you won't be able to activate until later.

    This is a Parallels issue, so maybe Parallels Customer Support is a better choice.

    B
     
  24. doxavita thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Yeah, but their support service (forums) are not that good (they barely answer, as I've asked there before). And I think they charge $20 per issue using their phone support :(

    So there's a way to skip entering the key until later.
     

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