CHOPPING AND CHANGING
By splitting your drive up into several chunks, you can effectively organize your content and stifle the amount of it that you allow yourself to hang on to. Why not give yourself a virtual D: drive for your programs, an E: drive for photos, a Q: drive for videos, and so on? There are secondary benefits: You can quickly defragment your OS partition without worrying about the rest of your drives; certain malware only affects a single partition, leaving the rest of your data safe; and formatting your Windows partition
to fully reinstall doesn’t mean a loss of your files. That said, as we’ve expounded upon, your installed programs are unlikely to work properly, thanks to the required references that get scattered through Windows whether you like it or not. Copying files between partitions is also slower on spinning platter drives, due to the physical distance the read/write head needs to travel between the split areas of space.
You might think partitioning is something that can only be done to a clean system. That certainly is the easiest way to make it happen. As you run through the Windows installer, early on (if you don’t choose the “Upgrade” option) you’re given the option of where to install Windows, at which point you can also chop your disk up, and format it as you see fit. We’d leave at least 32GB for Windows itself—if you’re running an SSD and a magnetic drive in parallel, use the SSD for the operating system. Doing it this early is beneficial both in terms of instilling an ethos of organization to your system, and for speed—Windows won’t need to shuffle itself around or be defragmented to make space for a new partition.