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Why Partition a disc drive?

For all the problems I hear about with "my xxxx partition is full" ... why are disc drives divided into separate parts in the first place?

I was asked again the other day (the question related to Windows) but I'm a Solaris / Unix / Linux person ... here are some answers / thoughts:

a) Multiple boot partitions / Operating systems b) Allowing a huge disc to be used by an operating system
     that has a small maximum disc size
c) Allowing a separate partition to be set aside as "swap
     space" - to be used to extend memory when you run a
     lot of programs at the same time
d) To keep operating system and data apart so that a data
     area full won't crash the computer
e) To keep apart areas that have different backup schedules
     and strategies
f) To help with network file sharing, where complete
     partitions on one machine are made available as remote
     discs to another
g) to keep physical and logical layers apart. This should
     allow future flexibility - for example, you should be
     able to plug in an extra disc and shift (in Windows'
     terms) the D: drive to it without the need to change all
     your software setups that point to the d: drive.

Don't know how much these excuses reasons apply to Windows.

By the way, in some circles you should use the word "slices" and not the word "partitions", since the word partition implies rendering asunder, breaking up, dividing - perhaps in a violent way. Political correctness gone mad


See also Backups and file system management

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