The ideal partitioning scheme

This member-submitted tip outlines the steps for partitioning your servers.

The ideal partitioning scheme for low and middle range servers is as follows:

  1. For the first partition, just boot partition with either of Win95 or Win98 installed with minimum options installed. I mean just network card drivers to have network access, no video drivers no other softwares, not even Internet Explorer. The size of the partition depends on the size of the hard disk, but, for example, if you have 20 GB HDD, 1 GB should be enough for this partition. After installation, never touch this partition. The main purpose of this partition with Win95/98 is to keep it as a backup operating system. You should keep the dump of Win95/98 (whichever you install) and your LAN card drivers on the same drive.
  2. The next partition should be where you will install your primary operating system, for example NT server or Win2k server. Obviously, from the Win95 or 98 you should start installing the NT or win2k. The size depends on the number of applications that you will install on the server. This is for the additional files that the applications put into the system32 directory. And not for the applications themselves. The applications should be on a partition different from that of the OS. I think 4 GB should do for the partition of OS in most cases, and I recommend that it should be kept on FAT file system. The reason behind this is that in case the OS crashes, you can go back to the Win95 or 98. From there you can access the system files of your primary OS since it is on a FAT partition which is accesible from win9x. Security on system files can be maintained by NOT sharing that drive.
  3. The next partition should be for applications. All the applications should be installed on this partition, so the size depends on the requirements of your applications as well as future growth. This partition should be kept NTFS for applications performance to be first priority.
  4. The next partition should be for the data storage. Store all your data on this partition. The size again depends on the need and future growth.
  5. The next partition you can keep for miscellaneous storage (like dump of applications, etc.).

Overall, you should keep the first partition as the primary active partition and others as the logical drives of an extended partition.
This was first published in July 2001
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