Disk Partitioning for better performance and ease of use

Why partition you hard disk?

As we discussed on this page: Temporary File Issues Having a single partition for all your files is most likely to result in a loss of performance over time.  By "Partitioning" the hard disk, this can be avoided and we can get other benefits from a more little planning and configuration than the "big Name" manufacturers provide when they opt for a "quick and dirty" single partition.

Note: Windows will often create a tiny, reservered "System" partition of 100MB - 250MB in addition to the main "C" drive.  Please ignore that partition and leave it exactly as it is - it is crucial for the correct booting and operation of the system.  We are referring to partitioning the "Rest" of the disk into two partitions - rather than one.

Improved and Simple Partition Structure

Apart from improved overall performance, an additional disk partition has other benefits:

  • Faster backups as the "C:" drive no longer includes many temporary files
  • Make an "install" folder for system drivers and downloaded installation files to make re-installing Windows much easier as the additional partition is not lost if the "C:" drive is re-formatted.
  • Quicker Virus and Malware scans of drive "C:" due to no temporary files. 
  • The Temp folder(s) can be easily located and emptied.

We suggest making the additional partition drive "T:" (for "Temp") and this also allows it to be consistent across many PCs.  By setting the volume name to be "T-Temp" it is very obvious what both the allocated drive letter and function of the partition are.  This is particularly useful when accessing the drive from a boot disk - or if connected to another PC via a USB adapter, for example, when the allocated drive letters will not be maintained.

By the same token, setting the volume label of the "C:" drive to a name such as "C-Win7" makes recognising the partitions very clear and simple when viewed from a different system.  As this is typically done to recover data from the disk, having clearly labled partitions makes the process far clearer.

To view the current disk partitioning arrangement, <Right-Click> on the "Computer" icon on the desktop (as shown below) or start menu and <Click> "Manage", in the "Computer Management" window displayed, click "Disk Management" in the left-hand pane.

Windows 7 disk partitioning

In the above example, the hard disk has a 100MB "System Reserved" partition, created automatically during installation and two additional partitions, a large 307GB drive "C:" and an additional 12GB "T:" drive for temporary files, drivers and downloaded installation files which has a volume label of "T-Temp" for quick and easy recognition.

Later we will see how to move the various temporary file locations and Internet Explorer to use the new partition.

For now, create a folder called "install" on the "T:" drive (T:\install) - this will be used to create sub-folders and store downloaded program files before installation.