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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements | File System Optimization and Freeing Disk Space ]

Repartition to Reduce Cluster Size and Free Up Disk Space

In the old days, you bought a PC with a hard disk, and the hard disk was C:, and that was that. Today, with hard disk sizes in the gigabytes, the situation is more complicated. You need to be concerned, somewhat, with the way that the hard disk is partitioned, and what cluster size the partitions use, if you care about performance and about disk space. The subject of partitions and cluster size is an important one. I have devoted this large section of the Reference Guide to discussing issues related to partition size. There you will find a full discussion on the different FAT file systems, tradeoffs in choosing partition sizes, and other relevant information.

Many PCs that have been sold within the last five years have been partitioned poorly, with the result that a large percentage of the available disk space is simply going to waste. While the newer version of Windows 95 (OEM SR2) includes the new FAT32 file system enhancement that saves disk space, millions of older versions of Windows are running on PCs with hard disks in the 1 GB to 2 GB range, in a single partition. In this scenario, you may be losing a lot of your hard disk to slack; as much as 25% or even more in some cases.

I would recommend that you take a look at your hard disk partitions and consider repartitioning, if you are having a problem with disk space and find your partitions are set up inefficiently. You will need a tool such as Partition Magic to repartition without destroying your data. On the other hand, be sure to use moderation in your partitioning efforts; some people become quite obsessive about maximizing disk space, forgetting that 10 MB of disk space is worth less than a buck with today's hard disk prices.

Next: Use Disk Compression to Gain Free Disk Space

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