Monday, January 17, 2011

Gotcha of the Day: Dealing with multiple partions in Windows 7

The previous owner of my netbook had split the drive into a C:\ and D:\ partition. D: had the bulk of the space.

Back when I was doing Linux installs, I had a firm appreciation for setting up a machine utilizing multiple partitions. If /var had its own partition, then a run away log file couldn't fill up the root file system. And a small root file system meant less chance of it getting corrupted during a power loss.

But, I wasn't quite sure what the value would be in a Windows 7 box.

At first, I tried to embrace the idea. I looked around for ways to relocate C:\Users\ben to an alternate drive, but everywhere I looked suggested this was going to be especially tricky to do. Then I looked into using symbolic links, but I found that they didn't appear to work with Cygwin.

OK, if I couldn't use both partitions, maybe I could remove one, and go back to the typical big C:\ drive approach.

Again, using my past Linux experience, I expected this to be a dicey path to follow. Back in the day, you could use Partion Magic to manipulate partitions. But, it was a fragile thing to do, and not something you wanted to attempt unless you really had to.

And here's where Windows 7 really surprised me. Windows 7 has a built in utility for manipulating partitions.

I brought it up, deleted the D:\ partition, and resized C:\ all in about 30 seconds. It was effortless.

I love it when Windows 7 surprises me with a feature like that.

1 comment:

  1. Gareth2:58 PM

    The primary reason (so far as I am aware) for having two partitions like that is to keep the OS and program files on the C: drive and data on the D: drive, then you could backup your C: drive to the D: drive. If the C: drive got corrupted by a nasty virus (which would not necessarily reach into the D: drive), you could do a system restore fairly easily. I did this with my old pc and it saved me many times from random hardware and OS fails.