more about partitioning

Well, I just reinstalled windows, cause I thought that during the installation it would ask me if I wanted to partition my drive, and it didn’t.

So, how do I create a 10gig partition on my main drive?

Also, how do I install two different versions of WinXP on the two partitions? And how do I make one of them a “clean” minimum install for my audio side?

Computers are confusing, man…


One thing I should add, I don’t actually have a winxp cd, I have a restore cd that came with my computer. Don’t know if that makes a difference or not…


hey Stully.

Each company’s restore CD is a bit different, bud. But i think you should be able to do what you want to do. Most restore CDs simply place a cloned copy of your Windows image onto whatever partition it finds. I don’t think they care if the partition is 10g or 100 gig. So if you manually create the partitions you want, i’d guess your restore CD would target the first one it finds. Depending on how it was programmed, it may even prompt you to select which partition you want to target.

Manually creating a partition is easy once you’ve done it. If you’ve never done it, it can be a bit daunting tho’. And you have to create a bootable DOS disk and work with DOS utilitites.

Get yourself a blank floppy, download this Win98 Bootable Disk, and run the program. It’ll create a bootable disk with the utilities you need…
- FDisk
- Format

Use FDisk to create the partitions. The defaults should work fine except that you have to enter a size. If you want 10gig, enter 10000 when prompted. I wouldn’t take time to create the second partition. You can do that after Windows has been installed.

Use Format to get the disk ready to accept the image created by the restore disk. Again, depending on the restore disk, you may end up with FAT32 or NTFS file system. Generally, NTFS is more secure and stable. But even if you end up with FAT32, you can convert it after you’re done with the restore disk. And some restore disks actually format the target partition for you anyway.

I spose it’s possible you wouldn’t need to format it using DOS. The restore disk may use Ghost or some other cloning software and completely overwrite any formatting job you do. Not sure…

If you’re gonna do this much work, you might want to consider doing one more step…
- Write zeroes to the entire drive before you use FDisk.

Formatting creates a new file allocation table, but it doesn’t actually erase everything on the disk. Zeroing a disk changes every bit to a zero and is wise in terms of completely cleaning the disk prior to installing Windows. There are a few diff zeroing utilities. I use GWScan from Gateway.

Hope this helps some…


Wow! Thanks for the help there.

I am having some problems however.

What I did was to first delete the current partition that was on the drive, because it took up 100%. Then, I created a 10gig partition. Then, I rebooted, then I typed in format, but it says that is an invalid command. What do I do now?

Glad I have a laptop so I can ask for help!

Another thing I still don’t understand is how do I get my restore cd to put windows on both parts? I assume that if I put the cd in, it will do whatever it does to the 10gig part that is currently set as “active”. How will I “switch” over to the other partition to install the restore cd on that? You had said not to create a second partition, and that I would do that after windows was installed. I don’t understand that either.

Sorry for my computer incompetence!
Thanks for the help,

Okay, well, I just found out that my restore cd automatically formats the drive back to 1 40gig partition.

I guess I’m just screwed.

Thanks anyways,

Have a look:


Hmmm… Apparently the restore CD uses cloning software. Sorry, bud. I don’t think there’s a free solution.

Partition Magic, as suggested by King, will do what you need. And it’s not that expensive. For that matter, you can often find PM packaged with Ghost for $70 or so. That’s a very nice combo to have in your toolbox!


I wouldn’t be opposed to buying that, but here is my concern.

If I buy partition magic, use it to create a 10 gig partition and a 30 gig partition, then when I try to install windows using my restore cd all that will happen is it will erase whatever partition magic did, and I will be left with the original 40gig drive partition.

I think when I stick my restore cd in to load windows, it automatically re-formats the drive, which would erase whatever partition magic did. And, if I try all this and it doesn’t work, I’m out $80 for PM, since I doubt I could return it.

And there is no way I’m going to go out and buy winXP.

Is it really that big of a deal to have internet on the same drive as my DAW stuff. I do have a 2nd drive for audio files, and I know I need to turn off my firewall and antivirus stuff before doing any audio work.

Anyways, if I buy partition magic will it create partitions that will fool my resore cd into not reformating the entire disk?

Thanks again,

Holy crap, I figured it out: Hardware profiles! I set up one regular with everything on, and one as audio with nothing (basically) but sound card and cpu.

Now, does anyone know what specifically MUST be kept on? I’d like to turn off every single thing I don’t need, but don’t really want to go just messing around.

Now I don’t have to partition my harddrive, yay!


Stully, new hard drives are awfully inexpensive these days, and far better for recording on than a partitioned drive. When you work with a partitioned drive your machine has to read the operating system and all your music files from the same disk, and ends up working twice as hard. An extra drive means that the system disk can operate more efficiently, equalling more tracks and effects with less hard drive work. If you ran a poll, I would guess that more than half the people here are using an extra drive (or drives) for recording.

Good luck!

'til next time;
Tony W

I’d like to add a question to this topic, if that’s OK with you, Stully.

I’ve been looking into using a separate “stripped down” installation of XP on a separate partition/logical drive. I have one laptop that must do the usual home office and internet stuff and my music. It would be great to be able to boot up to either a normal home office PC or to a lean mean DAW machine. The downside is the loss of around 2GB of hard disc capacity for the second XP. I have read that a DAW is happier if the OS and the DAW programmes are on a separate partition to the music files. So what can a chap like me with one laptop for all uses do to get the best DAW performance?

a) What I do now; XP and all the programs on partition C:, music files on D:. I can use Hardware Profiles to switch to DAW mode with the network and internal sound card disabled but I can’t easily implement all the XP tuning as recommended at, for example.

b) Use Partition Magic to create a third partition E; Leave the original XP and all non-music programs on C; install a second , tuned XP and the music programs on D; put my music files on E.

c) Buy an external hard drive, I guess firewire because I am already using an external USB audio/MIDI interface and I wouldn’t want to interfere with that. Install a second XP and the music software on D and use the external hard drive for music files.

My question is, would b) work OK? Or would c) be best?

Thanks to Stully for raising the issue again and to all who try to help.

Good for you, Stully. Glad you figured out a workaround.

Tony is right about partitions… it’s a trade off. You gain having 2 builds of Windows (one kept very clean for DAW work), but you lose performance (because the drive’s read/write heads have to jump from partition to partition). A second drive is MUCH better. I personally use 3 drives; the third has a standard build of Windows, Office, etc. I do my Internet stuff on this drive.

My drives are all internal (SATA), but a firewire for Internet use is a good idea. Heads-up: Some BIOSes will allow you to boot to an external device, some older ones won’t. Check that first before you spend money.

If yours doesn’t, check the manufacturer’s website for a BIOS upgrade. Proceed with caution!


AAaargh! I tried to install a second version of XP on a separate partition but the emergency XP reinstall disks that came with the laptop did not give me the option. The whole hard disc was reformatted so I lost my separate D partition. Grump. I am scared to use the Advanced option because I have forgotten all about DOS.

I have a legal full copy of XP that I bought and installed on another PC. Do you think that would work or would there be registration problems?

Being almost bald I will refrain from tearing out any hair.

Thanks to all

Hey, thats exactly what happened to me, except I don’t have an additional standalone copy of XP.

My advice would be to just use the winXP discs to install 2 versions, I don’t think you can use your restore discs.

Also, for an easy solution, you might just want to setup 2 different hardware profiles, in Control Panel->System->hardware. Thats what I had to do.


Thanx Stull. I’m a bit worried that the “proper” XP disk won’t work because I already installed and registered it on my wife’s machine, and I don’t think the license allows multiple installations. Like you I’m not about to buy another version, I’ve already got two! I’ll try using an external firewire drive for the files and using hardware profiles to do the best DAW tuning I can.

TB, if its any consolation, I’ve successfully recorded 16 tracks to a USB 2.0 external drive. I probably would not try mixing down that way as the extra processor load from effects plugins and such might cause problems. I was actually quite AMAZED that it worked. 16 tracks for about 7 minutes. n-Track and the USB drive just sat there and sucked it all up. Who’d a thunk it?