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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just getting around to this. Currently I have 3 hard drives on my system. Two are just for data files(pictures etc...). My OS boots up using a 220GB hard drive which came partitioned as C and D. The "D" partition is for recovery, where as the "C" drive is where everything is running from.

When upgrading to Win 7, I realize I have to format the drive. What I am not sure of is what to do with the 2 partitions. Do I remove the D portion and then reformat the whole drive as one? Is there any value in keeping two partitions?
 

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Seeing as you're upgrading from the OS that came with the computer, I don't see any reason to keep the recovery partition. That partition would just boot into an environment for restoring your computer back to factory-default settings.
 

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A single large partition means windows can use the full space, anywhere on the drive. This can be good or bad.
Two partitions means windows is limited to the first x blocks of the drive, the remaining blocks are in the second partition.
In theory, creating a first partition large enough for your windows install + programs + 50% buffer can give you more performance than a whole-drive install.
Because of the nature of hard disks, data on the inside track can be read/written faster than outer tracks because it spins faster towards the centre than outside.
If you limit windows through partitions to only using the first 1/3 of a disk and slower file storage to the second partition (outer regions) you can, however minutely, increase performance of the system.
It also helps in defragmenting, as your windows partition is quite small, less likely to have files severely fragmented. (At most, the drive would have to seek from 0 to 1/3 the drive, versus a severely fragmented full partition would be from 0-end worst case)


A side note if you have multiple drives in a system:

If you install win7 somewhere other than drive0 (the first boot drive/first one connected) disconnect all other drives for the installation and reconnect them later.
For some reason win7 likes to place boot info on drive0, even if it's on drive1 or drive2
So if drive0 is removed down the line, you can't boot to windows, even though it's installed on drive1.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
From my system specs, I have the option to install the 64 bit version. I've done with win 7 compatibility check and it gives the same comments for either the 32 or 64 bit install. Is 64 bit the way to go or would I be running into problems with it. My motherboard is an Asus A8V-deluxe if that is of any help.
 

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Because of the nature of hard disks, data on the inside track can be read/written faster than outer tracks because it spins faster towards the centre than outside.
this is exactly backwards

principal is right tho, but the outside spins faster than the inside
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I'm not sure how much difference the spinning makes. I have three hard drives on this thing, I'm thinking to just format the whole C/D partitions then install on this. This will leave the two other drives for backup and file storage.

Any thoughts on the 32 vs 64 bit? I think my system is ~4 years old and from what I've read there are fewer issues with 32 bit.
 

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Well, I'm not sure how much difference the spinning makes. I have three hard drives on this thing, I'm thinking to just format the whole C/D partitions then install on this. This will leave the two other drives for backup and file storage.

Any thoughts on the 32 vs 64 bit? I think my system is ~4 years old and from what I've read there are fewer issues with 32 bit.
1. As mentioned, always a good idea to only connect the HDD you're trying to install Windows onto. After a couple of successful bootups, connect everything back as usual. Knowing how to select boot drive in the BIOS is good too.

2. My simple 'rule' is :
2GB RAM or less, always 32-bit
4GB RAM or more, always 64-bit
3GB RAM is the toughie, I'd do 32-bit as there is generally no reason to add RAM.
 

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the outside spins faster than the inside
They spin at the same speed (RPM.) Modern hard drives are laid out to maximize data density so more data is stored on the outside tracks. Therefore, data transfer rate is higher on the outside tracks (same data density but more linear distance per revolution.)

I'm thinking to just format the whole C/D partitions then install on this.
It does make some sense to install the OS on a smaller first partition. This does speed up disk access for OS files and makes the system more responsive. That can be negated if there is a lot of access to other partitions on the same disk but is an advantage if most non-OS disk access is to other disks. Some people even install the OS on a small partition at the start of the disk and leave the rest unused. These days it makes more sense to use an SSD drive for the OS. I install Win7 on a 55GB partition (or 55GB SSD drive) and create a separate partition for the rest of the disk. That can cause disk space shortage but that is easily remedied. 'My Documents' can be moved to another drive or partition. I highly recommend this since it preserves personal data over an OS crash or reinstall. Similarly, large applications can be installed on another drive.

Any thoughts on the 32 vs 64 bit?
A 32 bit Windows OS cannot be upgraded to 64 bit. That's a good reason to go with 64 bit. The RAM on a 32 bit OS cannot be upgraded to more than about 4GB minus ROM space minus video RAM space. Upgrading to a new video card can reduce available RAM with a 32 bit OS but does not with 64 bit. A 1GB video card will cut into a 32 bit address space severely. The only reason not to use 64 bit Win7 is if you have important hardware or software that will not work with 64 bit Win7. Most newer hardware and software will. I've also found hacks for making older, unsupported hardware work so 64 bit is the best way to go, even if it means doing some minor software or hardware upgrades.

As mentioned, always a good idea to only connect the HDD you're trying to install Windows onto.
Agreed. I've seen Windows put boot sectors and system partitions in weird places and use odd drive letters when more than drive is present. It's best to install with a single drive and reconnect the other drives later. Don't even have a USB flash drive plugged in.
 

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Yes, sorry. Had it backwards.
Obviously it spins at the same rate, but I was trying to simplify for those who don't understand hard drive tech :p

If you're moving in a circle of 2cm diameter you cover a distance of 2*Pi (i.e. the circumference)
In that same time, the outer track (let's say 8cm) is covering 8*pi

If you had bits equidistant from each other throughout the drive you'd be able to read 4x more data on the outer track than the inner track for every revolution (with my above numbers, which are purely made up for this example)
 
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