Disk partition is the act of dividing the storage space of a hard disk into separate data areas called as partitions. One can create, resize, modify or erase these partitions using the partition editor programs. After dividing a disk into many partitions, all directories and files of various categories like system fiels and user files etc. can be stored in various partitions. Careful consideration of the partition size is very important as its capacity depends on the file system installed on the partition. Partition can be of two types like Primary partition (has only one parititon in which the OS is installed) and Extended partition (can be subdivided into multiple partitions).
Advantages of having multiple partitons
- Separates both program files as well as OS files from user files. This in turn allows image backups to be made of the OS and installed software
- Keeping repeatedly used programs and data near each other
- Assists having log as well as cache files separate from other files. These can alter size dynamically and quickly, potentially making a file system full
- Use of multi-boot setups, which lets user to have multiple OS on a single computer. Consider an example, one could install BSD, Mac OS X, Linux, Microsoft Windows on various partitions of the same hard disk and have a option of booting into any well-matched OS at power-up
- Protects files to make it easier for OS installation - In case one partition gets damaged, other file systems may not get affect because it will recover the file system
- Allows to even partition the HDD for considerably less than full size
- Having a separate area for OS virtual memory swapping
Disadvantages of having multiple partitons
- Reduces total space obtainable for user storage on the disk, since it forces the OS to duplicate some file system administration areas on the disk space for every partition
- Enhances disk fragmentation because it lowers the average size of contiguous free blocks on every partition when compared to a single partition of the overall size after writing the same amount of data
- Minimizes overall disk speed on computers where data is accessed on a regular basis and in parallel on multiple partitions
NOTE:One has to be very carefull while resizing or deleting the existing partitions as a simple mistake might corrupt your partition containing vital data. In such cases if you want to recover partition after resize and get back entire data from the partition then just click on the link given.