Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

For the many machines here, sometimes they need have new OS, such as Windows 7, Win7 64-bit, Linux/Ubuntu, or just to install the old OS again in a new partition because the old OS is so clobbered with apps and start up apps that the machines become very slow to start up and use.

Is there a good strategy for doing that, such as, if the hard drive is 320GB, then partition some 10GB for testing to install new apps. And make 2 or 3 partition with 30GB or 60GB to install OS for real use. Such partition might be good to be made when the machine is brand new, since the hard drive will be mostly empty.

Is Vista or Win 7's partition app good enough for this purpose? Partition Magic was good but if Win 7's partition app is good already, then no need to use a 3rd party app.

share|improve this question
Seems like it belongs on superuser to me. – Zoredache Oct 20 '09 at 1:46
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here are a few possible strategies to consider.

Take advantage of one of the many free virtualization products currently available, such as VirtualBox. Instead of trying out new apps on your production system, first install them in a virtual machine guest running the same OS as the host. Once you're sure that you need it, go ahead and install it on the host. You can even keep "clean" clones of the virtual machine so you're always testing on a clean slate.

Set up two partitions of equal size, and install your main OS on the first one. When you get tired of it, install a new OS on the second partition, then gradually copy your data over to the second partition as you need it. Once that OS gets dirty, erase the first partition and put a new OS on, then move your data back. You can keep going like this indefinitely.

Separate data partition
If you find that you are frequently re-installing your OS, you can alleviate the pain somewhat by having a separate data partition. Install your apps on the system partition like normal, but keep your data (documents/music/etc) on the data partition. Then when you want a clean computer, re-install your OS and only the programs you need, and your data is still there ready for you without needing to do a big transfer.

For partitioning, I prefer to use GParted.

share|improve this answer
in some situations, Vista + Win 7 can be booting Vista then C: is Vista, D: is Win7's drive. Booting Win7, then Win7 is C: and Vista is D: drive. But yeah, if there can be a data partition, like X:, and then C:, D:, E:, F:, G:, just for installing various OS, that'd be cool too. – 太極者無極而生 Oct 20 '09 at 16:23
i want to use Vista or Win7's partition tool because it comes with the computer... and using it means no re-partition. The only catch is needing to use it when the computer is quite new and you can create several partitions just by resizing and creating. – 太極者無極而生 Oct 20 '09 at 16:25
Just be mindful of the fact that you can only have four primary partitions. If you're using one as a data drive, you can boot at most 3 different kinds of systems, without jumping through some complex hoops. – Nic Oct 20 '09 at 19:17

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.