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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

OS 10.4 - A question about partitioning ...


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mokjok

 
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I have just switched to Mac and my shiny new iMac is due any day soon. Ah, no more BSOD ...

As a long-time PC user accustomed to Windows' tendency to crash and need to be reinstalled, I have for many years had my HD partitioned with Windows & apps on one partition and all my "user data" on the other (docs, musics, photos etc). That way, when I need to reinstall the OS, my data is safe.

My question is -- is there any reason NOT to do this in OS X?

I have spent some time looking into this, and found many people who recommend against it, seemingly on the basis that it is not necessary. I assume this is because of the inherently greater stability of OS X compared to Windows, which minimises the likelihood of a system crash. I am completely aware that my approach does not protect me from HD failure, and I still keep external backups (when I remember!).

I have also found mentions of partitioning (as I describe) affecting OS X's disk and file maintenance and vague references to it complicating the backup process.

So, can anyone tell me if there is a reason I should ditch one more of my old habits?

As a side-note, I intend to run WinXP via Boot Camp and/or Parallels, and have found reasonably straightforward descriptions of how to get this to coexist with a multi-partition OS X installation.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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MacsWork

 
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In the case of a reinstall, OS X has a non destructive method which preserves Applications, Users and User data called Archive and Install. Score one for OS X.

On large HD's partitioning will allow for smaller volumes which in turn are "faster" in the sense of searching for data. But how much faster,...really?

The thought of separating data from OS is understood but since file sizes are so large and programs containing more resources, trying to find a happy place for partition sizes may drive you mad. you obviously don't want to waste space on the OS partition.

All said, partition may give you slight speed improvements on say a 500gb HD, but using one partition for OS and data is the way to go.
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If you maintain an effective backup strategy, the point may be mute. As MacsWork points out, if you partition, you are left with having to decide the right sizing for your at least two partitions. Given the size of hard drives these days, that may not be so much of an issue... I quite understand that.

However, if you keep your personal data backed up fairly regularly, and are then forced to do a re-install, you can simply copy it back when you are done. This is the approach I have taken. I prefer to treat the hard drive as one big "bucket" - that way I don't have to decide how big my personal files may grow vs how big the OS and apps may grow, and partition accordingly. It is just simpler that way for me.

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mokjok

 
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Thankyou both for the reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsWork View Post
In the case of a reinstall, OS X has a non destructive method which preserves Applications, Users and User data called Archive and Install. Score one for OS X.
I was not aware of this feature, which is indeed a distinct improvement on Windows.

As far as speed goes, I don't think partitioning makes a significant difference and that was never my primary goal.

Right then, can't see any reason to complicate life for myself. Scratch one more old Windows habit ...
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