View Full Version : Why partition?

02-11-2002, 07:49 AM
Hello everyone,

New guy here. Just bought one of the discontinued G4s and I have to admit that I have been out-of-touch with the latest from Apple for a while.

I bought a 60 GB Barracuda from the gentlemen at MacGurus. Installed it no problem with the 40 in the machine. (As a side note, I bought the 60 to get a 7,200 rpm drive since the 733 supposedly ships with a 5,400 rpm drive. Ends up the machine came with a 7,200 barracuda in it already (confirmed it on the Seagate website). Is that normal to get a "better" drive at the end of a model run? I figure Apple may have been out of 5,400 rpm drives gearing up for the latest QS production. Thing came with a combo drive too... not that I'm complaining, mind you! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Just curious.)

Anyway, the point of this post is to task about partitioning one or both of the drives. Why would I do this and what use is it? I admit that years ago I partitioned the harddrive of a Performa, but never really understood what the advantages were.

Perhaps a brief lesson if someone is up for it? http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif



02-11-2002, 08:22 AM
Welcome aboard, Anthony.
I'm no expert so I'm sure the mods and others 'll have things to say on this perennial subject...From my limited experience though, partitioning can help with the following:

1.You can set up a dedicated scratch partition for temp files when using Photoshop and other graphics programs. This will increase the response of the program since it doesn't have to search all over kingdom come looking for free space to write and read it's temp file.
2. Because disk fragmentation tends to begin again right after one optimizes, it sometimes helps to place your documents folders- let's say- on a different partition than your system and applications, which tend to get fragmented more slowly...

Course too much partitioning might lead to complete mayhem. After trial and error, I've concluded my IDE's in the QS733 really don't like partitioning. I found it to be more of a nuisance than a help on those drives. Besides, I'd rather have a whole lot of stuff on the fast outer tracks than spread all over on slower, inner partitions.

02-11-2002, 09:02 AM
...and of course the most important reason.

If you keep your system in one place, and your documents in another, a crash/virus/reinstall/corruption/etc. will not affect your data. This means that if OSX or OS9 get quirky (or blow up) on you, and you decide to do a reinstall, you can reformat the system partition, while all your data remains on the data partition.

It is also a good idea to separate OS9 & OSX, so they don't have a turf war on a partition.

Here's what I would do, give your 40GB Drive two partitions. One for OSX & one for OS9. On your X partition, install all your carbon & cocoa apps. Install Classic only apps on your 9 partition. I would go 30GB/10GB in X's favor, unless you plan to use 9 as your primary OS.

Move your Home directory & all docs, mp3s, etc. onto your 60GB drive (moving Home is explained on various web sites).

With this setup, you can hose your whole system (via user error, virus, bad update, etc), and quickly recover (via Restore CDs) without losing your data, or your Home, which contains many personal settings.

Bear in mind, some virii can jump partitions while destroying data, and having Home on a different partiton is not the norm, but this will give you some added protection for your files.

[This message has been edited by chrismenke (edited 11 February 2002).]

02-11-2002, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the advice from both of you. Things have changed so much even since my Yosemite 300 back in 99, and now, I frankly want to get into more of the power stuff and don't want to get burned, especially with trying to navigate OS X.

I'll try your idea Chris. I actually partitioned both of them in half and put OS 9 on the 40 and OS X on the 60. I planned to use the other partition on each for documents, mp3s and graphics files, but that was before I knew you could move the Home directory (its function is still a little difficult to understand). Maybe I'll reformat everything tonight.

Again, thanks for the help!


02-11-2002, 12:22 PM
Hi ya Anthony,

I'm still getting a handle on this concept so please excuse me if I use some laborious methods to describe it.

From what I understand Chris has this exactly right, keep the OSX system in a minimum and separate partition. (less than a gig) You accomplish two main things, 1: In the event of the need to reinstall the system you can do this without messing with your files. 2: When you do replace or move the system you don't have to worry about privileges and aliases. The new system will be accessed by your user programs without you changing anything.

The only thing you really have to add to what Apple gives you in OSX is an Applications folder for the User. The Applications folder currently resides in the root folder where you will NOT want to put apps because a reinstall of the system will require a reinstall of those apps. Don't move that folder though, create another.

By doing things this way you almost never will have to log in as the administrator, you will do all your installs at the user level with the applications resources installed at the user level. Because those resources are not in the root folder, they do not get touched during a reinstall of theOS. HUGE.

At first I put everything in the Application folder at root. When I had to reinstall there was no way to separate the Application resources from the system resources. I had to redownload every last program. Everything from iPhoto to my accounting program upgrade. Get it separated out from the beginning and save yourself the hassles.

Welcome to the forums, glad to have you. And congrats on the new G4.


02-11-2002, 03:41 PM
I am going to watch this from the sidelines - new to the argument

So many opinions on it. Depending on your uses.

I did my first drive partition about a year ago on a 18.4 gig Cheetah.
1. 2 gig for system
2. 5 gig for applications
3. Remainder - storage.

I like the way the system and application partitions say clean and uncluttered.

My question/problem is that my "System partition" still has over 1.5 gigs on it. My 5 gig Application partition - I am using about 2-3 gigs for storage. My "Storage partition" working fine, just not large enough.

I will be setting up a new 60 Gig drive and want 2-3-4 partitions... oh and a "scratch area" I know I want one but have no idea where or how large...

My 2 cents worth

02-11-2002, 03:54 PM
Again, much appreciation on the advice.

I thought the G3 300 I had was pretty slick when I got it in 99 (and I wan't much of a power user than, just didn't much care to get involved in another non-expandable Performa-like machine). This G4 733 is really slick so I can't imagine one of the Dual processor models.

Either way, I'll futz around with partitioning for a while and see what works best for me (with a CD-RW drive, it is way easy to back-up now) and I'll continue to follow the tips, tricks and advice that is kindly offered here.

Thanks again!


02-11-2002, 06:35 PM
One more thing...

Having two partitions for docs is kinda wasteful. Since graphics, .mp3s, .docs, .pdfs, etc. are used whether your in 9 or X, you should have one shared document library.

This way, as everything migrates to X, you don't need to verson control all of your files from 9 Docs into X Docs, if you see what I mean.

ricks' suggestion about installing your apps as User & not Root is a very simple way of saving time (if you only intend to use one user account). this allows a VERY small OSX partition!

02-11-2002, 10:33 PM
Hey Chris,

I would think that If you have more than one user and wanted to share apps instead of wasting drive space by double installing that you would just have a shared privilege apps folder still on the user level. This is exactly how a NFS would do it, though mostly each user would have a copy of each app they intend to use.

I am still very much on the low end of the learning curve on OSX and user access and so on. Kicking it around is definately the way for all of us to learn some of the tricks. As you learn something new keep posting it will ya?

Been hitting the books on OSX, I find I don't know nothin' yet. But I will someday.


02-12-2002, 09:03 AM

Find any books on OSX particularly useful? I need to get one myself. I am still thinking OS9 when navigating around X! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif



02-12-2002, 12:19 PM
Hi ya Anthony,

OSX is pretty much a different beast. Sometimes it gets pretty frustrating trying to do something that's now hard and used to be taken for granted in 9.

Mac OSX The Complete Reference by Jesse Feiler is probably the most technical and long term useful of the ones I've read. However it's so technical it's hard work to read.

The X for Dummies is a lot better read and presents in a better format for the average OS9 user. Likable but not nearly as complete.

I have one more on order, I'll post it if it's any good/better.

I am really lucky, I have a wife and brother(lives next door) who are both Unix speaking sorts. I have them drawing diagrams and flow charts all the time. I may have to find somewhere else to live soon, I'm wearing out my welcome here. It is fascinating though. (unfortunately just for me and not them)


I asked about the 2 user scenario and while this sounds hard, it's really quite easy. Adding a directory in between root and users and calling it 'local' is where we would install all apps useful to any users. This would not go in the OS partition and WOULD be installed under root access. By limiting write access we can prevent mistakes that modify the app incorrectly and also warn us if a modification/write over was about to happen.

Our directory path at install looks like this:
We change that to look like this:

Inside the local would be a Applications folder and a library folder for resources. If we are not adding the local directory then we would just add a Application and a Library folders to the user directory.

I'm going to build a OSX drive with this in mind and see what the bumps are in the process this weekend.

Later all,

02-13-2002, 12:53 AM
[begin ricks]
I asked about the 2 user scenario and while this sounds hard, it's really quite easy. Adding a directory in between root and users and calling it 'local' is where we would install all apps useful to any users. This would not go in the OS partition and WOULD be installed under root access. By limiting write access
[end ricks]

If you're going to attack things on that level, I would just reassign the system's location for /Applications. This way, the /Applications folder is universally accessible, but located on a partition away from the system.

02-13-2002, 01:02 AM

I'm going to reach a little here. I would guess (and guess is the word) that some apps like Quicktime for instance, are going to look for a Apps folder at root. I know this is true of the Utility Folder. I moved the darn thing so it would be more visible and my next install put a new one back in the root directory. This caused me no end of troubles, actually had to move it back via Terminal.

I'll keep trying things and learning. i feel like a cave man learning to fly an airplane. Thanks for all your input.


02-13-2002, 01:28 AM
Very true...

However, you can change where anything looks for anything else as you become more savvy in UNIX.

Since I suck at giving instruction (read: I don't you you mad at me when you break your system based on what I told you), here's a great link which explains moving your home dir: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2002/02/08/netinfo.html

With a good understanding of the command line, you can move anything. NetInfo Manager is prolly just a GUI for these sorts of things. When Apps search for a folder, they are actually searching for a variable which tells them where the folder is. If you move the folder, you must change the variable to reflect the new path.

[This message has been edited by chrismenke (edited 13 February 2002).]

02-13-2002, 01:34 AM
Thanks Chris, The saga will continue....


02-13-2002, 10:18 PM
Sorry I'm late to the game. Here are some excellent links to partitioning threads/debates.

Less useful, but good info.