[Recommendation] Setting up disks and partitions on Windows Nitro 7 - AN715-51

sri369 ACE Posts: 2,623 Pathfinder
edited August 2021 in Windows 10

This recommendation applies to pretty much all versions of Windows.

[I have been using this approach for many years on both Windows 7 and Windows 10. And will take it to Windows 11 too, whenever it is out.]


Why did I make this guide?

I have seen enough posts on here where people have had their Windows installation messed up, and stuck with being unable to restore back losing personal data in the process. This recommendation would help avoid such data losses even in the case of a totally messed up Windows installation requiring complete wipe and clean reinstall.

The Best Part

Switching to a new laptop/system is as easy as switching your disk from the old one to the new one.


Approximate Effort

Setting up partitions: 15 minutes
Installing Windows and such: Depends on your setup
Windows configuration changes: 15 minutes
Recovery software setup: 15 minutes


System Requirements

Any laptop or desktop that has Windows on it.


Hard Disk Partitioning

Single Hard Disk

As long as your hard disk is over 120 GB, you are good to go.

Partition the hard disk into two partitions - 80 to 120 as the first one - for Windows. The rest of the disk you can partition to whatever you want, but make sure there is atleast one partition that is large enough to hold all your data.

Example: If you have a 500 GB hard disk, and you expect your data to be about 20 GB (this is a lot considering personal data is barely even a GB or so; do not include videos and other items that can be redownloaded into this category), you can split as below:

Partition 1: 120 GB - Windows
Partition 2: 300 GB - Misc
Partition 3: 60 GB - Data
The numbers won't add up to 500 since the usable space on a 500 GB disk would be less than 500.

Multiple Hard Disks

Now if you have multiple hard disks, you are liberty to use whatever you want for Windows. But if your primary hard disk is over 120, you may want to partition is as 120 + rest.

The setup on my laptop is as below; on the HDD partitions I have also mentioned the reasoning being selecting a particular partition for a specific task.
If you have only two drives, you could set the second partition on Windows drive for games - SSDs improve game performance.

The data... I always save this onto a HDD and refrain from saving to SSD - a HDD would show signs when nearing death, a SSD can fail almost instantaneously.


Windows Folders Configuration

The most important item comes here... we now map our data folders out of the Windows partition to a differnt partition. For people with one disk it would be onto a different partition. For people with multiple disk, this would be a onto a partition on a differnt disk.
  1. Head to the partition that says Data (or where you want to save your data, and try to make sure this partition is not on the same disk where Windows is if using multiple disks).
  2. Create the folder My Documents
  3. Create a folder within the above with your name. Example: <data drive>\My Documents\<username>\ 
  4. Open Windows My Documents folder.
  5. Important folders to move within this are - Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Videos, Music and Saved Games. Favorites is optional.
  6. Right click on the folder Documents and select properties. Click on the Location tab. Update the location as <data drive>\My Documents\<username>\Documents. It will prompt you if you want to move the existing data too; select Yes. This will move all data from existing folder to the new folder. Repeat this process for all the folders in step 5.
  7. Logout and login or restart your system (not needed really, just to make yourself sure).
  8. Click on your user on the desktop and go into each folder manually and check to see if your contents are all there. Also check the address bar - it should the path on your Data partition and not that of Windows partition.


Periodic Backups

By this time we have our system set up. And since our data drive and Windows drives are small, you could actually set up periodic backups of those two drives. But.. wait... why would anyone want to flood the empty space with things that can be redownloaded, like the download folders. So here comes the selective backup part.


I used Macrium Reflect Personal edition for my uses.

Windows Partition

Setup a monthly task to backup the entire windows partition, including any recovery partitions. Limit the count of these to two or to a maximum of three.
Partitions to be selected on Windows drive are as below (with checkmarks). If you have entire drive, select all.

Backup retention rules are as below.

Important: Make sure your "backup" folder has enough space to accommodate your preferences.

Data Partition

Macrium needs to upgrade from Home to a higher edition to be able to save files and folders. So for this, I use FreeFileSync software so i can selectively backup only the necessary folders. I shall leave this segment to you folks to backup as you deem fit.



Well.. just reply to this thread :-) as simple as that.
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Nitro 7 - AN715-51 - user benchmark: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/37631045