It is all a matter if organization, the operating system normally installs to the primary hard drive parttition. Since it continues to grow in size, due to the addition of more and more applications (programs) it needs space in which to grow. I allocate approximately 40-60GB of space for this and to date have never really needed more than 30GB of this allocated space to meet the needs of my system. Unlike most people I do not store music, photos and other 'personal' files on my primary drive. Instead I allocate space for such storage on the other partitions. Why? If the system crashes and needs to be restored non of my personal data would be lost, should it become necessary to reformat the primary partition and start over.
I use Partition Magic to do this since it allows partitions to be reformatted or resized at will while the data is kept safe and sound during the process. MS DOS never had this capability, 'fdisk' could create partitions o.k., however once created you were stuck with your original sizes until you reformatted the entire drive. In the new scheme of things, partitions can be resized, moved around and reformatted individually at will, with little or no disturbance to the rest of the drive. So preferentially I limit my partition sizes to around 40-80GB. This makes the defragmentation of the individual partitions much faster, since data in storage does not really get very fragmented just sitting there. On the other hand the operating system is constantly changing, and requires more frequent defragging, and purging of temp files, and obselete or redundant registry entries no longer in use. Many excellent maintenance programs are available for these daily-weekly chores to keep the core of the computer system cleaned out and humming. I confine all these activities to my primary boot drive.
I always think of extra partitions as pigeon holes in a rolltop desk. They are there to allow me to keep my machine organized, each one carries a label spelling out its particular function in the overall scheme of things. I have been partitioning drives for at least the last 15 years, and found it to be the best way of organizing my own computer to take care of my filing system. The number of partitions is really a matter of personal choice, but with hard drives getting bigger and bigger, partitioning is almost mandatory. As an example I would partition a 320GB drive into at least 4 X 80GB sections. One primary partition for the operating system, and 3 logical partitions for other uses, even different operating systems.
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