Just like any other applicationa word processing program, an email program, Half-Life 2the Windows XP operating system is stored on one of the hard disks (usually the only one) on your system. Thus, in order to effectively manage Windows XP, you will at some point need to manage the hard disks themselves.
It all starts with partitioning. In this chapter, you learned the purpose of a partition and how to create a new partition from new disk space you add to a computer. Disk management only starts with partitioning, though. Before you can actually use the newly created partitions, you must format them with a file system. As you learned, these file system choices can have a significant impact on how you use the computer and on which XP technologies are available. If you intend to configure a dual-boot system, these file system choices are especially significant.
After creating and formatting partitions, though, you are hardly absolved of further disk management. You might, for example, want to convert an existing FAT partition to the NTFS file system to take advantage of disk mounting or increased security. You now know the procedure to convert a file system.
Partitions become fragmented over time, and you can improve performance by regularly defragmenting your drives.
You might want to make an entire disk conversion from basic storage to dynamic storage. Such a move opens up several new storage possibilities that involve the creation and management of volumes. You might, for example, want to combine the storage space of two new 160GB hard drives into a single 320GB drive for the storage of your family's entire home movie collection. With the spanning capability afforded by dynamic drives, you can do just that.
In the next chapter we turn our attention to the Windows XP interface. In that chapter, you will learn how to manage your interaction with the operating system by changing the Start Menu, desktop shortcuts, themes, and so on. You will also be shown how to manipulate the monitor settings to make your time at the computer less of a strain on your eyes.