I just purchased a new 160 gig hard drive. What is the best way to configure the hard drive. A friend of mine suggested the following:
20 gig - Drive C Windows operating system only
5 gig swapfile
Remainder for files and applications

I'm no expert, but here is my comuter info:

Intel Pentium 4. 3.0GHz Socket-478. 800 FSB CPU

PC 3200 512/slot

I have 1gig of memory. but not for sure what all of this means. is what I have good?

Does anybody know what services are safe to disable or set to manual? Also, what recommendations to use as far as turning off themes, using a screen saver, power setting options, i want to get the best optimization possible.

Use one partition only.
It makes no sense creating multiple partitions. Your friend was probably thinking about performance when he advised you to create a separate partition for your pagefile but this is useless (in fact it may well be counterproductive).
Had he told you to use a separate harddrive he'd have been correct.

Your machine is quite good. As you don't tell what videocard you have I can't say anything about that :)

Disagree strongly.

* Use a partition for Windows. 10Gb is enough, but use more if you want.
* Have a dedicated partition for program installations. You'll keep them unfragmented and responsive by doing so. Alter the default program installation directory to point to that dedicated partition.
* Have another partition or partitions for data storage. Shift 'My Documents' to there.

I'd agree that having a dedicated partition for the pagefile is an absolute waste of time for 99.999% of people. I'd also suggest that disabling services falls into the same category. Visit Black Viper's website if you insist on playing around with Services, but be advised that this is a 'geeky' thing to do, which may cause problems, and which most likely will show no performance improvement.

I agree with Catweazl, 10Gb of space for windows is enough but I'd suggest you upsize it a bit up to 20Gb. It's always better to separate all your data files from your system files, this way, it makes reformatting and re-installation of your OS safer and easier.