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How do I proceed wanting Windows 7 on SSD and Program Files on HDD?


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I'm setting up a new computer that will have a 250 GB Samsung EVO 850 SSD and two 1 TB Seagate Barracuda hard drives. I want the SSD to be the boot drive and have the Windows folder with the operating system (Windows 7 Professional 64 bit). I also want to have a few programs on the SSD: browsers, email, and VLC Player. I prefer to have a lot of software programs. (That's just me. I have my reasons; don't waste your time trying to talk me out of it.) I don't want to overcrowd the SSD. I want to keep the great majority of programs and of the application data folders on one of the Seagate drives. I guess you could say I basically want a big Program Files folder on a Seagate drive and a mini-Program Files folder on the SSD.

What's the proper way to proceed? Install the whole system drive package, with Program Files and user profiles/accounts as well as the actual OS (which I assume is synonymous with or subsumed in the Windows folder) on one of the HDDs, and then migrate just the Windows folder to the heretofore blank SSD and set the SSD as boot drive in the BIOS?

Or should I install Windows 7 to the SSD and then create parallel Program Files and application data folders on the Seagate hard drive? Or maybe move Program Files to the Seagate if possible, and just have my small number of programs on the SSD in their own folders there?

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6 hours ago, conceptualclarity said:

 I guess you could say I basically want a big Program Files folder on a Seagate drive and a mini-Program Files folder on the SSD.

That is the issue.

What you are asking is seemingly about wanting TWO :w00t: "Program Files" folders, one on the HDD and one on the SSD, but there can be only one.

Once upon a time programs (well most of them with the usual exceptions of - say - MS and Adobe) could be installed *anywhere* (i.e. not necessarily in "Program Files") and even had (easily) the possibility to tell them where to store their "work" files.

Nowadays this can still usually be done but it is complex and a number will use as "Program Files" folder the location set in the Registry for it.

If you want to have the actual files pertaining to "Program Files" residing on another disk you can (alternatively):
1) change the location in the Registry for "Program Files" (and also for "Program Files (x86)" to point to another volume


2) make in the C:\Program Files (or - IMHO better - the various programs folders inside it) a junction to another volume (softlink) folder

Hard to say which one is a "better" solution, considering that you will also find (hopefully a few only) programs that will want to install to "C:\Progtam Files" anyway (hardcoded path in the installer) if I were you I would choose #2. 

A "better" solution (IMHO) is to actually manually install the programs to (say) D:\myPrograms leaving alone the "normal" C:\Program Files, this will allow you to obtain (more or less) what you asked for, i.e. two "Program Files" folders on two different volumes.

Still I believe that YMMV, depending on the specific Program that may (or may not) allow that.



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On my Win7 x64 PC, f I have the option, I install everything to my 1 TB disk. The issues here are:

1. AppData is still going to end up on C: including temporary files.
2. Data is still stored in the user profile which is on C:

In a general sense, this isn't a bad situation, as the majority of the data is going to be on the larger disk.

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Very much ^ what I was going to say too.

Most third party programs can be installed to whatever drive you want during initial installation, there's no problem with that except being a HDD access will be slower than if it is on the primary volume SSD. For most stuff that is not an issue but you may notice it with things like resource demanding games, graphics, video editing programs etc.

However it is installed there are still things which are going to be written to files it creates on the primary, usually C:\ drive wherever the program folder is actually located. That can even happen with portable versions too.

The best way of saving SSD capacity is not to use the (my) documents folders at all. Have all your data folders on the 1TB HDD. You don't even need to move those user profile docs, although that is easy enough to do. Just create new folders on the HDD and use them instead of C:\Users\Name\My Documents, My Picture etc. It makes them less secure there but you can always encrypt the volume or part of it as required.

Again some program still love to write stuff to specific folders in your original documents folders. Some games will save to My Documents by default or the VirtualStore and one of the mistakes I made was installing a VM (XPMode which might be relevant to the OP) and not checking where it would be installed. The default is C:\My Documents so I have a 27+GB VM taking up 20% of my 120GB SSD's free space. I'm too scared to move it now.    

Edited by WalksInSilence
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