Subscribe to
NSLog(); Header Image

QotD: Partitions

Question: Are your disks partitioned? Why?

My Answer: Mine are not. Since moving to Mac OS X, I've seen absolutely no need to do so, and as a Mac Genius, I never advised people to do so either. It's easier, for example, to simply use an external disk as a scratch disk for video editing.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

11 Responses to "QotD: Partitions"

  1. Yes, I do, but only because OS X needs a partition smaller than 8 gigs to run on my beige G3.

  2. I have one of my laptops partitioned four ways. Right now it has OS 9, OS X 10.1.x, OS X 10.2.x, and a data partition. The data partition never gets wiped and has apps, source code, etc. I did it this way so I could quickly wipe an entire partition and install an OS from scratch, easily swapping OSes on and off the machine. I use it (but not very often) for testing my software on various OS configs (mostly when I need to check compatability with old OS versions, obviously). But that's a pretty rare approach, I'd expect. The machines I use daily for development and other work are running OS X 10.3.x and only have a single partition. For most things its just so much easier to do it that way. Generally, except for hardware restrictions that force partitioning on a few older machines, I tend to avoid it.

  3. I used to have one partition for the OS and another for my homedir. It was handy to be able to a clean install of OS X and not have to worry about my data being lost. But after Jaguar I was tired of the hassle and now I happily use a single partition.

  4. I have two partitions. One for my system and one for "everything else". I made the /Users directory a symlink to a directory on my "everything else" partition. The only problems I've ever had with this is that Apple's own Backup App (from .mac) and AtomicBird's "delocalizer" in Macaroni won't follow the /Users symlink.

    Why? If I ever have a complete meltdown of my system, I won't have to reinstall all my personal stuff unless it was a complete disk failure. Just reformat the system partition and reinstall the system itself, associated Apple apps, and Apple's Developer Tools. I also do a complete, automated backup/sync (with Synchronize Pro X from, if anyone cares) of my /Users directory and a few items on my System partition every night to an external firewire drive. I run Panther Server and run email accounts for several friends on my domain so I keep everything backed up just in case.

    The other reason would be if I wanted to keep multiple versions of the OS or even different OSes around like one of the previous posters. But I haven't found a real need/desire to do that yet.

  5. I'm steeling myself to repartition my drive (what, me backup?). I'd like to be able to test installers for some of the side projects I work on with different versions of OS X, and it's cheaper to repartition than to buy an external drive.

  6. Coming from the unix world where it's common to partition the disk up into many filesystems, it was difficult for me not to when I first installed 10.0. If I remember correctly I think I tried creating /, /etc, /var, /usr/, /Applications, and /Users partitions early on, and abandoned the project.

    That said, I do plan to partition my backwards-compatible old G3 tower, and install it with at least 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3 (possibly yellow-dog linux space permitting) for backwards-compatibility testing of apps I create.

  7. Nah. I don't feel the need to partition my drive. I use an external HD for my video because a good editor knows that you NEVER use your main CPU drive as your scratch disc.

  8. After bad experiences with trying to organise myself more on my remaining Windows machines, I gave up trying to partition (and when the HDD crashes, which it did, twice - it's even more of a bitch to setup again).

    I have two HDDs in my G4 and that's one too many when trying to figure out where to put something.

  9. Yes, because at the time I wanted to run both Jaguar and a Panther developer seed (this was in August, before Panther was released). and at one point I had a Panther Server developer seed on a third partition, and I kept one extra partition just in case I needed to have two Panther seeds installed side-by-side. (Never ended up happening.)

    At home I only have one partition, though, and if I were getting a new machine today I wouldn't partition its disk.

  10. Laptop yes (8 MB boot disk restriction) desktop no (sort of). I partitioned the original 40 GB into 10 GB (OS 9,1) and 30 GB (OS 10.0.3) because you could hold down the Option key at boot and choose which OS to boot into. That didn't/doesn't work unless you have separate volumes. Nowadays that original 40 GB drive has been joined by a pair of 120 giggers and I no longer boot from it. [I keep an OS 9 boot drive around because OS X's font handling is so abysmal (yes, even Jaguar's).]

  11. Finally, after long last, my question has been answered! Thanks.