Anykey Index |
Mac Hard Drive Partitioning
Partitioning your drive can give you more space to work with, help you
keep your files more organized, keep problems isolated from other parts of
your drive, and help you be more efficient.
What is partitioning?
What is a partition? When you purchased your computer it probably came
configured in one large area for storing information. This area being the
one you saw on your desktop in the upper right hand corner labeled hard
drive. When you open this volume or storage area you see the total amount of memory or storage space that your computer contains, listed in the open
window on top. With a hard drive configured like this, the volume and the
hard drive seem to be the same thing, but actually the hard drive is the
physical computer, and the volume is the section of the computer that is configured to hold information. Volumes can be a floppy disk, CD-ROM, Zip or SyQuest disk, anything that is a storage area, is a volume. Your hard drive can be broken up so that instead of having one large storage area, it can have two or more smaller ones. Each volume storage area of a hard drive is a partition. Windows users are familiar with this type of storage, as Microsoft takes full advantage of drive partitioning in it's operating system.
Why would you want to partition your hard drive?
Dividing a large drive into two partitions can help isolate files of
certain types. For example, I have my computer partitioned into two
sections. I have a partition just for internet and a partition for
everything else. My computer is running much faster with fewer conflicts
now. The computer runs faster because the computer has less information to
go through in the smaller partitions. It has helped organize my data
better, and makes things easier to deal with. Each partition has its own
system folder, extensions and control panels. If I have a problem with my
internet partition, I can reinstall software without touching the other
How do I partition?
First, you will need to re-initialize your hard drive. When you
re-initialize, all the information on the drive is erased. So you will need to backup your applications and files on an external drive, such as a Zip, Jaz or Syquest. If your computer came with a CD check to see if contains installers for all the pre-loaded programs. This will greatly reduce the amount of information you need to back up.
Second, you will now need to start up your computer from your system CD and
Drive Setup. Drive Setup from Apple opens a listing of all the SCSI (
pronounced "scuzzi", and it loosely means serial interfaces) devices that are installed on your computer. Examples of these are scanners and external drives. Each one of them has a unique ID assigned to it. You will recognize the volume names as the ones that you have seen on your desktop while using your computer. Clicking on each device lets you know if that disk can be initialized by Drive Setup. Initialization is the process
where a drive is prepared to hold information. Usually if it can't be, it
will tell you why (Remember, it's a Mac).
Third, select the hard drive that you want to initialize and partition,
and you are ready to re-initialize. After clicking Initialize you will be
presented with a dialogue telling you that initializing will destroy all data
on the selected drive. If you wanted to make your whole hard drive a single
partition you could simply click initialize. However, since you want to
partition your drive, click Custom Setup .
Fourth, now in Custom Setup you can make your decisions for partitioning your drive. On my computer I divided my hard drive into two equal sized
partitions. Notice that you are able to select the number of partitions you
desire to create. The number of partitions you create is dependent on the
total amount of hard drive space you have available. Remember, you are, in
effect, creating a number of smaller computers using this process, and an
application in one partition cannot see the drive space in another
partition. After selecting the number of partitions they will appear as
untitled, untitled2 etc. You can rename them when they appear on your
desktop later. After entering the partitions click OK and drive setup will
continue with the process. You will get another warning stating that all
the data on the drive will be destroyed, Drive Setup will continue to initialize and partition your drive.
Once it is finished, all you have to do is decide what programs you want on
each partition and to reinstall all of your software. Remember, that you
will need to install your system software on each partition. You will be
able to select each partition with your Startup Disk control panel and
simply restart to switch between partitions. I keep an alias of this
control panel on my desktop.
Copyright © 1998-99 The F.U.N. Place. All rights reserved