[First: What’s a partition? It’s a area of your physical hard drive that has been marked so that it can be formatted and used for an operating system and/or for data.]
Reader Ron wrote:
I just bought an 80GB Seagate Hard Drive to replace the one that Seagate Seatools software reported as bad. This is the 2nd hard drive in my computer and I set it up with 3 logical partitions. After I set the drive
up, when I look at the drive using Windows/Computer Management/Disk Management, it show the 1st partition as Primary Partition. The 2nd and 3rd drive are shown as logical drives.
I called Seagate Tech Support and asked why Seagate Disk Wizard software did this when I just wanted a logical drive. With Partition Magic, I can change the drive to logical. Since I do not use this partition (or disk) for booting, which is best? Primary or Logical?
Does it matter?
Ron [last name removed]
In the WinMe & prior days, Windows would only show one primary partition. XP, or maybe XP as of SP1, shows multiple primary partitions.
You can create up to 4 primary partitions with most file system software (if you are using BootIt NG, you can create a lot more primary partitions — but your other utilities won’t recognize them!).
Usually, a purchased computer system (such as a Dell or HP) comes with two primary partitions. One is small and is the recovery partition created by the manufacturer. The other is the operating system — witj Windows, we call this C:.– the C drive.
Having said that preliminary, let me say that there is actually an intermediate step required to create a “logical partition.”
Windows and other common disk operating systems allow you to have 4 “primary partitions.” One, and only one, of these can be an “extended partition.” All logical partitions are created within the one extended partition. So, you could conceivably have three different bootable partitions (recovery, WinXP & Linux) as primaries (although Linux does not have to be a primary any more) and one extended partition with many more logical partitions created within it.
Back to the question at hand. The only benefit to making one big extended partition and creating all “drives” as logical partitions is if you are going to use resizing software (Partition Magic, BootIt NG, etc). You can move, shrink and expand the logical partitions. You can move, shrink and expand the primary partition(s).
BUT, you can not easily resize a primary partition and move some of its space into the extended partition (to add to a logical drive or create another one).
I used to always keep a small 200MB or so primary partition on a drive, formatted in FAT32, bootable, with utilities — just in case I had a hard drive failure. With the conversion to Windows XP and when using NTFS, the FAT32 is no longer usable for booting and fixing the NTFS partition.
Bottom line — Anything but my booting hard drive is set as one big extended partition, with logical partitions (logical drives) for any segregation of files or functions.
Bottom line #2 — I have _never_ used the wizard software that comes with a new hard drive. I’m still leary from the old days when they would load “drive overlays” that worked with Windows but wouldn’t work with anything else.