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.

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