Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Partitioning Software Helps Prevent Wasted Space on PC Hard Drives

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Partitioning Software Helps Prevent Wasted Space on PC Hard Drives

Article excerpt

If you're shopping for a Christmas PC, be forewarned that two

maxims apply to everyone who buys a new computer:

1) Three months after you buy your PC, you'll see the same

machine -- or one with more features -- advertised for at least

$200 less.

2) No matter how much hard drive space you have, you'll need

more.

You can't do much about the former, but you do have some

control over the latter.

Most of today's generation of home computers come with hard

drives considered massive by the standards of a year ago -- 1.3

gigabytes or more are common.

But it's also true that today's generation of software is more

demanding of your computer system than ever. Windows 95,

multimedia games and the big office "suites" bundling word

processors, spreadsheets and other applications literally gobble

hard drive space.

The standard advice for computer shoppers is to buy the

biggest hard drive you can afford -- and then borrow money to buy

a bigger one.

However, with the big drives comes a drawback: wasted space.

Because of the way files are stored in the Windows operating

system, you could be wasting up to 40 percent of the space on

that new drive.

For example, a relatively puny 520 megabyte hard drive is

pre-set to store data in 16 kilobyte sections called "clusters."

If you write a letter to Aunt Tilda that takes up 20K of space,

the drive saves that letter in two clusters, using 32K of space.

That means 12K is wasted. The bigger the drive, the bigger the

clusters and the more wasted space.

To avoid this problem, you can divide your hard drive into

smaller drives called "partitions." You'll still have only one

physical hard drive -- usually labeled C -- but it will be broken

up into partitions your computer will read as drives C, D, etc.,

each using smaller clusters and wasting less space.

Another reason for creating partitions is to set aside a

separate space for each operating system you want on your disk.

Some people are afraid to let go of Windows 3.1, so they could

create a separate partition for that program, keeping it separate

from their new Windows 95. …

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