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What is Disk Partitioning and Why is It Useful?

Disk Partitioning Creates Flexibility

Disk partitioning is the act of dividing a single physical hard drive into several independent volumes. This is useful if you are installing a new operating system on your computer and you need to divide the data up. This way, you can place your most important files and documents onto a segment of the hard disk while the incoming operating system is placed on another. Remember that if your disk has not yet been partitioned, it is crucial to back up important files, data and documents before you begin. As soon as the disk has been partitioned you will be able to copy over your files and install your operating system safely.

Enhance your Computers Performance

Partitioning your hard drive is a sensible solution for a number of reasons. Many PCs are designed in the factory with only one partition on their hard drive. This means that all the information will show up as a single drive, such as C:. Although this may seem convenient at first, remember that if anything were to happen to this one index file you could potentially lose all of your valuable information and data. If the computer is compromised during the installation process it may be unable to boot up using that particular drive.

Choosing an Appropriate File System Type

As you are getting ready to partition the disk, you should select the most appropriate file system for your backup file. The file system you choose will depend on the operating system you will be using.

Microsoft Windows – You will want to use a variety of the New Technology File System (NTFS) if you are using versions of Windows such as NT4, XP, 2k, Vista or 7. If you are installing an earlier version of Windows, such as 95, 98, or ME, you should use FAT. The difference between these two file systems is that NTFS offers enhanced security over FAT.

Mac OS X – The most logical option for many Mac OS users is the Hierarchical File System (HFS). This system is often referred to as Mac OS Extended and it is the preferred choice over the previous Max OS X version called Hierarchical File System (HFS) as it offers increased security and functionality. However, if you are also booting with Microsoft Windows and need read-write access for the partition, FAT is the best choice.

Selecting the Best Partitioning Application

After you have chosen the most appropriate file system type, you will need to select a partitioning application. If you use the software that is built in to the computer, you should know that it is easy to navigate but it often does not support the expansive amount of file system types that many commercial packages provide.

Third-Party Software

Another option is to use third-party software, although this is a better choice for operating systems such as Windows and Linux than for Mac OS X. For several computers that are running on different operating system, a platform independent partitioning application is a great choice. Thank you for reading our article about what is disk partitioning and why is it useful.