Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Disk Partitions
Name: Ross
Status: Student
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2002

What are the disadvantages to keeping a single disk partition on large drives such as these NTFS, Windows 95/98.

The reason why you do not want to keep one large partition is that you lose the ability to keep your data segregated. If you ever want to dual boot your computer between Windows NT and Windows 2000, it is mucheasier if you have more then one partition. In Windows 2000 you have the ability to keep quotas on the amount of drive usage users are using. If you have only one partition it is harder to manage these quotas. You also lose the ability to have more than one page file. A page file is a location on disk that acts like memory, consider it a virtual memory. If you have only one partition you can only have one page file. Plus it is much easier to defragment smaller drives than one lager drive at a time. I would recommend that you have a 5GB C: partition and then make whatever size you have left over for D: (data) drive.

Joseph F. Noga

Larger discs are less space efficient. Windows breaks down a drive into small chunks (I forget the numbers). The space a file takes up is actually larger than what it really is (because it will be rounded up to the nearest chunk). This difference is more significant in larger drives than smaller ones.

For instance, go to the C drive. Hit Ctrl-A (to highlight all files in the C drive). Right-Click, then go to Properties. Look at the total size of all the files. Now, right-click on the C drive, and go to Properties. Look at the used-space size. It will be larger than the other size number.

I believe that when you partition a drive into smaller ones, the space for the C drive takes up the perimeter of the physical disc. Other drives will take up the remainder of the disc space (going from the perimeter towards the center of the disc). As the disc spins, the points on the perimeter travels faster than the points nearer the center. This means that data is read and written faster in the C drive then in subsequent drives. Although defragging often helps, I like to put disc-intensive data in the C drive.

Hope this helps,
Wil Lam

Click here to return to the Computer Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory