Partitions are sections of a hard drive that store data. By default, you must always have at least one partition on a drive. Otherwise there’s no where to store the data! Although you may only have a single physical drive, you can use partitions to logically split it – meaning that Windows will see the partitions as individual drives.
Of course, you can also plug in another hard drive to your computer, whether you do so externally or by opening the case and slotting it inside. It’s worth saying, before continuing, that this is a better choice if you have the option. It’s less risky from a data storage and recovery standpoint. However, it’s not always possible, so partitioning is your next best.
People usually decide to partition their drive for a specific reason. For example, you can install different operating systems on different partitions. This means you could run Windows on one and Mac on another. This is called dual-booting and will generally only be of interest to the very techy folk out there.
For most people, partitioning has a much simpler benefit. It allows you to split your personal data away from the operating system. This means that if you want to upgrade or reinstall Windows, you can do it easily without having to mess around with your personal data.
The big benefit here is that it means data recovery is far easier if your operating system gets corrupted. If everything was on the same partition, a corrupted operating system would bring everything down, including your files. If they are separate, it doesn’t matter – you can reinstall the operating system on its separate partition and all your personal data will still be safe.
It’s also good when it comes to backing up your data. Rather than specifying particular files or folders that you want to backup, you can instead point to the entire partition. This will mean that any personal data you save will be stored on that separate partition, and you can be safe in the knowledge that it’ll be captured by your backup plan.
What happens if the partition holding your data gets corrupted, though? This is where you’ll need to use data recovery software. Many of the tools out there have facilities built in to help target and recover data from specific partitions. This means that rather than scanning an entire hard drive, which holds a lot of data that you won’t need to bother recovering, you can pinpoint the partition you want to resurrect.
Bear in mind, it’s fine to have partitions, but you shouldn’t keep your backups on the same physical drive as the primary data. If anything happens to the physical drive, like water damage or theft, then all your data is gone – backups and all. The best backup solution includes redundancy; ideally you should have at least one backup copy of your data off-site, away from the primary source. If that’s not possible, consider using the cloud, though bear in mind the security implications of that.
Does Partitioning Aid Data Recovery?
No comments yet. Sign in to add the first!