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Multi-drive setup

By Matt12345170 ยท 10 replies
Aug 29, 2012
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  1. Hey Guys,

    I recently got a new laptop with two drives, my 120GB SSD which I boot from, and a 750GB HDD.
    Right now I am trying to figure out how to keep crap that I don't want off my SSD as I would like to actually be able to install a few programs on it. I have tried going into the registry and changing "ProgramFilesDir", "ProgramFilesDir (x86)", ProgramW6432Dir", "CommonFilesDir", "CommonFilesDir (x86)", and "CommonW6432Dir" to my HDD with limited success - I cant remember if I rebooted before I tested it out, but I believe I did.

    At anyrate, if you have and tips/suggestions for managing my files with multiple drives I would love to hear them!


    Matt :)
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    The single best thing you can do is map the "home" folders over to the mechanical disk. A SSD with 120GB is more than enough for the OS and pretty much all applications, as I currently use a 64GB SSD to do the same thing.

    What you want to do is click start, then go to your "home" folder, and you'll see this:

    Map Home folder to HDD1.JPG

    All of your folders can be mapped to another disk, stopping files from building up on your SSD. To change the location of the folder, select a folder, then click the right mouse button, and choose properties.

    Click the location tab, and then click move, and select the new location (create the folder on your mechanical disk with the same name e.g. my example is "Desktop," and I have it located on my 2TB mechanical disk.

    Map Home folder to HDD2.JPG

    Here is the folder I've created on my larger disk:

    Map Home folder to HDD3.JPG

    Select the folder, and press "select folder", then click apply, and "yes" when asked if you'd like to move the files in the existing folder to the new location. Repeat for all of your "home" folders.

    In future all files will build up in the "home" folders on your mechanical disk, not your SSD.

    I have several Adobe CS6 titles, as well as Office 2013, and around 50 other applications all installed on my SSD along with Windows 7 Pro, and I've still got 14.4GB free, so you should have considerably more free space on yours.

    My Computer.JPG

    Installing applications on the SSD means they can use the increased performance it offers. However, there is little point installing games on the SSD, as the difference it makes is minimal, as the only time it "feels" faster is when loading maps or between turns. Games also use considerably more space than most applications do, so its not a very cost-effective way of utilising the SSD's limited storage.

    You can install applications to another disk by changing the install location during setup. I'd advise you either create a separate partition for them if you intend to do so, but also keep to the same format (e.g. create a Program Files and Program Files X86 folders, and install them as required inside there.

    As you'll see from the "my computer" image above, I have my games on a separate partition, and data on another (both make up a 1TB disk) which I use as a second location should I need to install storage heavy applications.

    It is not recommended to make registry changes or to manually drag and drop "Program File" folders onto the mechanical disk as it can cause all manner of problems. If you want to move them, I recommend you first uninstall the application, then re-install it in the new location.
    SNGX1275 likes this.
  3. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    If you want to move specific folders to the HDD (e.g. those horrendous iTunes folders in AppData and My Music folders) try downloading NTFS link. You don't have to do any reinstalling or messing around with the registry.
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,729   +409

    For years I've been doing this. It is a little bit inconvenient to always switch the install directory when installing something. But I keep the paths the same so really its just a matter of highlighting C and changing it to a different letter. I don't do it very often, but, in the past I have dropped off the (x86) portion and had no ill effects from doing so. Is there an operational issue as to why I shouldn't have done that?
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I'm not sure really, but I've always kept the same file structure, just moved it to a different disk by changing it from C: to F: in my case, or E: if its a game. Other than that they install with exactly the same structure in either Program Files or Program Files (x86).

    It just seems more logical that way, and you've less to try and remember in the future if all your doing is changing the drive letter.

    Relocating the home folders is second nature as well. Its one of the first things I do, although I must admit I just have each folder using the same name on the root of my "home" hard disk. Still, that's usually purely for my personal files and I'm the sole user of the PCs so I've never seen the point of having it inside a folder called "Lee." lol.

    It also makes life easier with backups. I just do a backup of my entire "Home" disk, I don't bother with the SSD as there are no personal files stored on it. So in reality I only have one disk backed up, the rest are just an inconvenience in the event of a disk failure, I'm only losing downloaded and installed games, applications or my OS. I'd need three disks to fail, and my off-site encrypted backups to corrupt before I lost my personal files.
  6. Matt12345170

    Matt12345170 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 102   +28

    Hey Guys

    I tried what you said Leeky, and then tried installing Chrome. Unfortunately Chrome still decided to do its own thing and install its self where it likes (specifically my SSD :p)
  7. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Yeah you'll find the Chrome executeable in your User AppData folder. But Chrome is a program which you definitely want to install on the SSD anyway.
  8. Matt12345170

    Matt12345170 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 102   +28

    The only reason I was looking to take it off was because of the temporary Internet files that are being written to the drive constantly, and then being deleted, something that would shortten the longevity of the drive if I remember correctly. At any rate I figured out a way to send the temporary Internet files to my HDD, although I assume it does affect the preformance somewhat :)

    Unless I am wrong, in which case I'd gladly switch it back to my SSD
  9. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I've never bothered really, just getting all of the personal files and downloads I collect in every day usage off of my SSD was enough. :) Temp internet files and the like don't really add up enough to warrant their move if deleted regularly.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 10,432   +801

    @slh28 Thanks for that info. As a Unix hack myself, the CYGWIN system supports the LN and it works as expected on Windows (even win/7). The command line arguments differ but the results are identical :)
  11. Matt12345170

    Matt12345170 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 102   +28

    Yes, thanks for the help guys :)

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