Home Web Design Programming Fairlight CMI Soap Box Downloads Links Biography About... Site Map

The Holmes Page THE SOAP BOX 1997/03/26



1997/03/26: Big Drives, Big Clusters   Windows 95 can be so inefficient. Take the Start menu, for example. What a disk space hog. You'd think that something as simple as a menu would be a fairly compact package, but it's not. On my machine I am using 8KB clusters. I achieved this by partitioning my 2 gigabyte hard disk into 500 megabyte sections. This is the magic number; below 512MB the cluster size is 8k; above it is 16k. 
Partition SizeFAT12
Cluster Size
Cluster Size
Cluster Size
below 32 MB2K (2048 bytes)--
32MB and up-2K (2048 bytes)-
128MB and up-4K (4096 bytes)-
256MB and up-8K (8192 bytes)-
512MB and up-16K (16384 bytes)4K (4096 bytes)
1GB and up-32K (32768 bytes)4K (4096 bytes)
2GB and up-64K (65536 bytes)4K (4096 bytes)
4GB and up--4K (4096 bytes)
8GB and up--8K (8192 bytes)
16GB and up--16K (16384 bytes)
32GB up to 2TB--32K (32768 bytes)
Note: NTFS uses 4K clusters for all partition sizes.
This means that every file on my drive, no matter how small, takes up at least 8192 bytes. The Start menu contains mostly .LNK files and .PIF files. These files are around 900 and 300 bytes in size. But each one actually uses up 8KB. So, on my machine the Start menu has 648 files totalling 742,572 bytes, but this takes up 5,791,744 bytes of actual disk space! This is 87% wasted. My machine is used for development, so here are the numbers for a typical end-user machine: 66,747 total bytes in 203 files, 1,662,976 bytes disk space occupied, 95% slack. And to think I wondered why the local Future Shop only sells hard drives larger than 1.2GB. 
One solution to this would be to use DoubleSpace, which stores files in a single large, compressed file, kind of like PKZIP. But this scares me. I like to be able to get at my files from good old DOS in an "emergency", without any extra drivers in the way. 
Anyway, the disk space problem is going to go away in the next major version of Windows when Microsoft introduces the object-oriented file system which will store everything inside a single monster "structured storage" file (like a Word/Excel/OLE document). But in the mean time I keep my partitions to 512MB or below and try to keep my Start menu small.

Previous: 1997/03/12 - Long-Distance, or Not?
Next: 1997/04/09 - The Apple Falls

Home Web Design Programming Fairlight CMI Soap Box Downloads Links Biography About... Site Map

Site Map Send comments about this site to Greg at gregh@ghservices.com
All pages copyright © 1996-1999 GH Services™   Created 1997/03/26   Last updated 1999/12/22
All trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners