Partition

Updated: 
07/09/2014

While Apple recommends no partitioning, because partitioning means more hard drive head activities, I still believe in partitioning. A volume can fail without warning sign, while a drive usually makes mechanical noises before dying so you can plan ahead. It worth mentioning that SSD which price has been dropping these days does not have a head.  In other words partitioning won't have a physical ill effect to SSD. SSD is much faster to start with.

We the DAW users should not record audio onto boot volume because of the fragmentation issue and I/O traffic issue. This is because audio file I/O is highly streaming. SSD may be fast enough for this to be an issue.  Yet, I sleep better if I am recording audio to separate partition.

More partitioning also mean easier and faster backing up and restoring.


Mac Pro (desktop)

Desktop machine where you can have multiple internal hard drives, you still want to partition the boot disk into 2. This is under the assumption you have another hard drive for storing documents. If not, follow the advice for notebook computer below.

  • Previous OS boot
  • Current OS boot
  1. Create 2 partitions
  2. Install the current OS onto one of the partitions
  3. When the new OS version is released, install it onto the other partition: this way, you can go back to the previous known working OS at the first sign of the trouble. Or, you can keep running your mission-critical work on the previous OS while test driving the new OS on your spare time by switching the boot partition.
  4. When the new OS version is released next time, the current OS (the 2nd partition) becomes the previous OS. Erase the 1st OS partition and use that volume for the newest OS.

MacBook family (notebook)

Notebook computer has limited space. Usually it only allows singe hard drive or SSD. You want to create a dedicated partition for storing documents.

  • Previous OS boot
  • Current OS boot
  • Documents
  1. Create 3 partitions
  2. Install the current OS onto one of the partitions
  3. When the new OS version is released, install it onto the other partition: this way, you can go back to the previous known working OS at the first sign of the trouble. Or, you can keep running your mission-critical work on the previous OS while test driving the new OS on your spare time by switching the boot partition.
  4. When the new OS version is released next time, the current OS (the 2nd partition) becomes the previous OS. Erase the 1st OS partition and use that volume for the newest OS.
  5. Save all documents on the Documents volume

Important

  • Keep in mind that you will want to make sure you have more than 10% (20% desirable) free space on your boot volume. OS writes cache files on the boot volume. OS moves files left and right all the time. Lack of free space slows your computer drastically.