5 Reasons Why Partitioning a Drive is Old Advice

Partitioning is a way of splitting one physical hard drive into many other hard drives that used to be done for performance and multiple OS booting. Like repairing permissions, zapping the PRAM, running a “defragger”, using screensavers, and sleeping your computer instead of shutting it down – partitioning a drive into a myriad of containers is just not necessary anymore. And with external hard drives at decent prices, there’s no reason for it.

Other than creating one hell of a complicated setup, with the exception of Boot Camp, what purpose did splitting your hard drive serve and what should you do instead?

Five Reasons Why Partitioning is Old Advice:

Old Advice #1. Creating a Repair Partition.

The whole idea of a “Repair Partition” is useless if your drive is physically damaged. Think about it, if the drive is dead – so is your little repair space. If you hose your system and need to re-install, that’s what the OS X Install DVD and Time Machine is for. If you’re a little more advanced, then you would’ve created a pre-configured system image already to avoid the install and setup hassle. Any respectable disk recovery/repair utility will be on a bootable CD / DVD – that’s your “Repair Partition”.

Old Advice #2. Speeding up System Performance.

The principle of partitioning to speed up disk performance is that like a record, data on the outside of the platter spins faster and is read faster than on the inside of the platter. So, it was recommended to partition your drive to a certain size and use only that partition, avoiding the rest of the drive. I guess you could do that if you want to waste half your drive..

What you should do instead is have two hard drives in a RAID 0 (striped) setup. Just remember that if one drive dies, your system is gone. Backup your data.

Old Advice #3. File Organization.

I don’t know where some of these partitioning ideas came from, but splitting your drive into sections for media, applications, documents, archives and active files.. Sounds like a great way to waste your drive’s space and create a lovely mess of organization. Take a deep breath and use folders for organization, not partitions.

Old Advice #4. Archiving and Backups.

Archives and Backups should never be on the same physical drive as your current system. If you lose that drive, your current data, archives and backups are all gone. It’s not a backup if it’s on the same physical device. External drives are reasonably priced and should always be used for large sized backup and archive storage.

Old Advice #5. Audio / Video Work.

Audio and Video work can be hell on a drive. Lots or reads, writes and re-writes. The old advice of partitioning a drive into system and media sections for fragmentation and directory structure purposes isn’t going to do anything for you here. Performance-wise you’re going to be moving the system and data apart and basically creating one huge fragment for the head to jump back and forth from as it reads / writes data and runs system activities at the same time.

What you should do is have your system and applications on your system drive and all your media (audio / video) files on a completely separate drive or drives in RAID 0 configuration.

The Only Reason to Ever Partition: Natively Running Different OS’s.

With Boot Camp, you’re going to have to partition. You’re also going to have to reboot whenever you want to run your other OS. Same with Linux, although it will require some partition tweaking to get it to run natively.

However, with VMWare Fusion and Parallels, you can run Windows or Linux without the hassle of partitioning, tweaking, and rebooting. Both are incredible applications that work extremely well and do away with the need for partitioning.

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