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Is partitioning your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) a good idea? Pros and Cons

When you set up a new hard drive on your computer you have the option to partition it or let the operating system take care of it.

Disk partitioning is one of those age-old things where you find a broad spectrum of users on different sides. Some will argue that proper partitioning aids performance, improve productivity and makes backing up a whole lot easier and is just generally “better” overall.

While others simply opt to let the operating system sort it all out, believing that improper partitioning practices might well prevent the system from optimal performance.

While I identify myself with the latter group, let’s look at some of the pros and cons to partitioning your hard drive to help you decide where you would fit in.

Also read: Hard Disk Drives (HDD) vs Solid State Drives (SSD)

Pros

  • Install multiple Operating systems: This is the primary reason why many back in the day and even today use to partition their hard drives so they can have Linux and Windows or any other combination on the same drive.
  • Backup: Another reason why people loved partitions back in the day as software and drivers were often unstable and buggy, requiring re-installation of OS and drivers — having a backup partition saves your files from formatting.
  • Better organisation: Some people love to organise in their respective places. Partitioning lets you catalogue your data types. Perhaps you’d like to create a partition for games, apps and an another for documents, music — the choice is yours.
  • Security: Partitions can be encrypted and possibly provide better safety for user data. Users also have a lower chance of malware and ransomware attacks on a partition, which is a boon.
  • Speed: Considering how you use your data, moving specific data files such as games and applications to a separate partition might aid in noticeable performance improvement.

Cons

  • Complexity: With multiple partitions allocating and locating data might become a hassle.
  • False sense of security: Although saved as a separate partition it does not protect your data from a hard drive failure or a severe malware attack.
  • Speed: This is a double-edged sword as it’s possible that by having data on separate partitions on your hard disk it will have to work twice as harder to access the same data that are spread further apart on the drive.
  • Data fragmentation: There is a possibility of data fragmentation while you move data around or plan to install software or driver on a partition.
  • Memory management: Once set up a partition’s size can’t be altered unless formatted and this may limit the user’s choices.

Now, since we’ve discussed the various pros and cons to disk partitioning, you’ll quickly realise partitioning brings marginal gains to the average user.

But if you’re a power user and would like to have some partitioned space for specific work, security, and storage, partitioning is the way to go. Just don’t overdo it and pre-plan your allocation sizes and purpose according to your use.

Also read: SATA SSD vs PCIe SSDs: Which one should you buy?

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