Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Partitioning Hard Disc

When performing a new installation, you need to decide how to configure your hard disk. The hard disk contains one or more partitions. Each partition is a logical drive and is assigned a drive letter, such as C: or D:. Each partition can use a different file system, such as FAT, FAT32, and NTFS. You can create partitions prior to installation, during the setup process, or after Windows 2000 Professional is installed. During setup, you should only create and size the partition on which you are installing the operating system. You can use the Disk Management tool to configure other partitions after installation.

The partition on which you installed the Windows 2000 Professional operating system files is called the boot partition.

It contains all the files needed when running Windows 2000 Professional. When the computer boots up, the active partition (normally the C:\ drive) is searched for the files needed to load Windows 2000 Professional (Ntldr, Ntdetect.com, Boot.ini). These files load the Windows 2000 Professional operating system from the system partition. If Windows 2000 Professional is installed on the boot partition, then this partition is both the system and boot partition. The partition on which Windows 2000 is installed is called the boot partition. One important fact to remember is that if you delete an existing partition, you cannot access the information that was previously stored on that partition.

Before deleting a partition, if there is any data that you need on that partition, make sure you back up the data. Actually, it is recommended that you back up all of your data before changing your partition configuration.

When creating a partition on which to install Windows 2000 Professional, you need to make sure the partition is large enough for the operating system, applications, and data that will be stored on the partition. To install Windows 2000 Professional, Setup needs at least 1GB of free disk space, with 650MB of free space on the partition on which Windows 2000 Professional will be installed. Also keep in mind that if you are going to configure your computer for multiple operating systems, you need to install Windows 2000 Professional on its own partition. This prevents Setup from overwriting files needed by other operating systems.

Choosing a File System

Once you have decided how to partition your hard disk and which partition to install Windows 2000 Professional on, you need to decide which file system to use for the partition. Windows 2000 supports the following file systems: NTFS, FAT, and FAT32. In most configurations, the NTFS file system is the best choice. The only reason to use FAT or FAT32 is for a dual-boot configuration where you have more than one operating system that can be run on a computer. During setup, you can convert an existing FAT or FAT32 partition to the new NTFS. This allows you to keep your existing data on the partition. If you do not need to keep the existing data on the partition, it is recommended to format the drive with NTFS rather than converting it. This will erase all existing data on the partition, but the partition will have less fragmentation and thus better performance.

The only reason to use the FAT or FAT32 file system is for dual-booting configurations. If you are not configuring your computer for dual-booting capability, you should use NTFS.

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