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New partition for windows on already formatted drive question.

Discussion in 'Storage Drives' started by Armadillo, 12 May 2021.

  1. Armadillo

    Mobster

    Joined: 29 Feb 2004

    Posts: 3,516

    When I got my current 2tb nvme, I was lazy and left windows on my 500GB sata sdd and just stuck my games on the 2tb. I'm putting together a new system soon and want to boot off the nvme when I do it. It have 500ishgb left.

    I think I have the right idea, but I've not done it this way before so just want to check.

    I just shrink the current partition with the windows disk manager by whatever I want the Windows partition to be, then just point the Windows installer at the now unallocted space and it will make the new partition and the smaller boot partition in that space and leave the games alone?

    That's it, simple as that? Windows manager is fine for the job? Windows install won't complain about the other partition existing or do anything weird? Current partition taking the whole drive is gpt already if that makes a difference.

    Just games, so if Windows messes up, I can just redownload from Steam, but would like to avoid that.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2021
  2. TrojanWhore

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Sep 2010

    Posts: 1,255

    assuming it will allow you to shrink the current partition enough, then in theory I think that should work.....could even just clone the sata SSD to it if you didn't want to reinstall everything...
    I have had issues shrinking partitions in the past when I've previously used more space on the drive than I'm trying to shrink down to.

    However I personally would always want my OS partition to be at the start of the disk....probably just me being OCD about it.
    Also if the main (/most demanding) use of the system is gaming then there may be some disadvantage to having the OS and games on the same physical drive, so outside of 1-2s boot time you may be better off leaving it as is.

    If you want to avoid re-downloading the games, do you have (access to) any other storage drives (external or whatever) that you could dump the games to temporarily and then move them back afterwards?

    I've used the following tool for years to shuffle games between drives:
    https://www.stefanjones.ca/steam/ (3rd party freeware, not endorsed by steam btw!)

    you could also just copy them using windows file transfer and just verify the game files after, it should pick up anything that's missing/broken (done this in both steam and origin before, I'm sure other launchers would work too)
     
  3. EsaT

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 Jun 2008

    Posts: 10,776

    Location: Finland

    In HDDs start of the disk (block/sector adresses) at outer cylinders was genuinely good amount faster in transfer rate and also needing shorter R/W head movement inside same size partition.
    SSDs don't care any about such things.
    They care only about having enough free space on drive.
     
  4. TrojanWhore

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Sep 2010

    Posts: 1,255

    @EsaT - thanks, that may actually be where my preference for it originated, I couldn't think of any logical reason for it.

    I'm pretty bad at letting my drives get too full, probably something I should take more care with. Is space equally an issue for spinny drives or is it fine to ram them to the gills? :D
     
  5. Murphy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 16 Sep 2018

    Posts: 7,631

    Filling any drive to near maximum isn't generally a good idea, it's not as bad with spinning rust as it only leads to fragmentation (slower file access), with SSD/NVME it results in the drive not being able to do as good a job at wear levelling.
     
  6. EsaT

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 Jun 2008

    Posts: 10,776

    Location: Finland

    Yeah, spinning rust is precisely logical.
    First sector address corresponds to first physical location of data in start of physical disk at outermost track.
    With same location tracks of different platters making that cylinder.
    And because of longer length of that track there than on inner last cylinders, bigger amount of data is read in single rotation.
    That also makes same amount of data fit into fewer cylinders requiring less moving of R/W heads compared to end of drive/inner cylinders.
    In fact transfer rate from outer cylinders are even up to twice that of the innermost cylinders:
    https://www.servethehome.com/hgst-w...iew/hgst-ultrastar-dc-hc510-10tb-hdtune-read/
    Hence why you wanted to keep often needed/more performance important data in start of the drive.

    And because of mechanical movements involved HDD suffers greatly, if data/file isn't in continuous chunks.
    That's why it wasn't good idea to fill HDD.
    Having good amount of free room means, that file system can write new data/files in continuous pieces avoiding fragmentation.
    Though old FAT didn't care about that and started writing file from the first free sport regardless was there enough space for new file.
    For example if you were writing 10 MB file and there were empty spots left by removed 1 MB files, that would have resulted file being split into ten fragment.
    That caused need for regular defragmenting.
    NTFS is better in that by first looking for single continuous empty spot capable to fitting new file completely.
    Though with fuller drive fragmentation started again happening.


    Again in SSDs file system sector addresses don't correspond to any single precise location/sequence of consecutive cells in NAND chips.
    Controller even keeps juggling data on same sector address of file system all around NAND chips for wear leveling:
    Unlike HDD, Flash memory has very limited number of writes it can take.
    So if you have static data containing files and other files with frequently changing data/temporary files written and removed that would wear down part of the drive faster.
    (while other parts would stay as almost new)
    To avoid that controller eventually starts moving static data containing files to different location on NAND chips to use write endurance of the cells evenly.

    So it really doesn't matter in which order partitions are.
    Every spot has same performance capability and what partition table and file system say as location of data doesn't mean anything for actual location in NAND chips.

    But that doesn't mean free space isn't needed to keep optimal SSD operation.
    • Wear leveling works best when it has good amount of free space to rearrange data.
    • Also reads and writes of NAND flash work differently to HDDs:
      Writes happen in bigger chunks than reads.
      And unlike in HDD you just can't overwrite existing data meaning NAND cells have to be erased to actually release NAND cells used by old deteled files.​
      So changing/writing new small file can need first reading out other data around that location and erasing all those cells before writing data back with changed/new file.
    • And all modern drives store more than single bit to cell using more than empty and full charge/voltage states.
      Downside of that is write speed being slower than writing single bit per cell with either empty or full charge, which is masked by using some amount of free space as single bit cache.
      That means in TLC drive 100 MB size file initially takes 300 MB worth of space.
      Then when drive idles controller writes that file into TLC form using slower to write 8 charge/voltage levels per cell.​
      So actual amount of writes needs 400 MB worth of room.
    Because of that SSDs always have some unavailable/not shown to user space as working space.
    But they can really use more of that:
    If drive hasn't had time to erase cells of deleted files and consolidate data with chunks of empty cells being the size of minimum write, amount of work and writes increases fast if new data is written. (leading to higher than necessary wear)
     
  7. Armadillo

    Mobster

    Joined: 29 Feb 2004

    Posts: 3,516

    Thanks. This is a really old install, should work fine, but new build so will stick with a fresh install to avoid any gremlins. I think it should shrink ok, 500GB left, this is about as full as it's ever been. Will shrink by 120 or so, maybe 150.


    I have storage, I'm just lazy and want the least effort :D. I suppose I should back up the games anyway, assume what can go wrong, will go wrong and it's quicker to do that, than download. I'll just back up the Steam folder then, apparently you can just rerun steam as Admin after and it will work out it's not installed and reinstall itself for you. Don't have anything on any of the other launches installed right now.

    My os and games used to share (500GB was the first ssd and had windows and games) and was fine. I assume an nvme being so much faster should also be fine to share. I could leave it the same I suppose, it just seems a shame to have the nvme and stick to the sata for windows if I'm doing a fresh install anyway.

    Judging from rest of thread, doesn't seem like a problem having the os partition in whatever order on an ssd. So as long as it's not a performance hit, I'm not bothered where it is :).
     
  8. TrojanWhore

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Sep 2010

    Posts: 1,255

    @Armadillo yeah if you just want the easiest/quickest way possible then go for it, even if there are any differences we're probably talking 1% at best.

    Likewise, if you do bother to back up the games, you'll be better off just copying everything using windows tools, that steam tool I linked earlier would probably take too long. Steam will deal with it fine and download any bits it can't make sense of.

    In terms of OS partition size, I'd leave quite a bit of space above the base OS and programs you'll have on it - for things like your docs/downloads folder, page file (if you don't plan to disable it), but mostly to leave sufficient space for windows updates!
    This is because the OS partition will be at the end of your drive and you can't move the start of a partition AFAIK, so if you encountered issues down the line you wouldn't be able to extend the OS partition at all.
    Mine is 200GB, but I'm far too lazy with my downloads folder ;)

    Just my two cents though, I'm sure it will all go fine!
     
  9. Danny75

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 26 Aug 2013

    Posts: 8,395

    As long as the drive is GPT not MBR it should be fine to have the boot partition anywhere on the disk.