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New to SSD's; want SSD as SECOND drive for games on Windows 7 with HDD as main drive

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March 12, 2014 5:53:59 PM

I've recently purchased and received my first SSD for my custom built desktop system today. I installed the drive in my case correctly, to the best of my knowledge, but Windows 7 doesn't let me access the SSD from explorer. It's obvious to me now that it's not plug and play by default on my system. However, the device does appear in my device manager but not in my disk manager, for partitioning and formatting.

I've looked into all this and found that my SATA controller isn't in the right mode, and re-installing Windows is the preferred solution among others more complicated than that. I've no desire to re-install Windows on the new drive, or old for that matter; I just want it to work with my current install of Windows 7 without running around with options more than necessary.

My new SSD is 120GB. I wanted it to be my second internal drive used for installing and running games. My first drive is a SATA HDD with Windows 7 already installed, while in IDE mode, about seven years ago. Don't want to change a thing about my OS install; just need to add an SSD.

How do I successfully install this new drive as simply as possible; read: WITHOUT migrating my OS to the new drive? I've seen enough topics on migrating to SSD already and just want a secondary drive that's an SSD for games. I'm too tired to sift through all those topics to find one for my specific, seemingly rare, situation.

Thanks in advance for any help.

More about : ssd ssd drive games windows hdd main drive

March 12, 2014 6:32:22 PM

I'm no expert in SSDs but I'll try my best. It would certainly be advantageous to migrate win 7 to the SSD since load time would dramatically increase, still with plenty of space left for the games, and use the HDD for storage and backups.

However getting to your actual problem, have you restarted the system since installing the SSD if so, in your BIOS there should be a setting to change the SATA controller mode to AHCI to enable the SATA features, however doing so would require a reinstall of windows 7 anyway.
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March 12, 2014 6:45:23 PM

napster100 said:
I'm no expert in SSDs but I'll try my best. It would certainly be advantageous to migrate win 7 to the SSD since load time would dramatically increase, still with plenty of space left for the games, and use the HDD for storage and backups.

However getting to your actual problem, have you restarted the system since installing the SSD if so, in your BIOS there should be a setting to change the SATA controller mode to AHCI to enable the SATA features, however doing so would require a reinstall of windows 7 anyway.


I've read as much, but the process seems not to work with older versions of the OS disc. I'd likely have to get an iso of SP1 and burn a disc in order to get that to work. Currently, this is my only easily accessible computer; so it's a one-shot deal for getting this to work with any accessible tutorial. Besides, re-installing my OS isn't desirable to me. I'll do it only when all other options are exhausted.
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March 12, 2014 7:20:21 PM

Thats fair enough, why do extra work that not needed to be done, however it is a very simple task and getting hold of a copy of win 7 with SP1 can be done easily or use a program call 7lite to slipstream SP1 into your current copy is an easy task too, and you could backup your data onto a separate drive to be restored from, preferably not the SSD as if you've done some good research you'd know that theres a limit to the amount of writes to an SSD.

Are you sure the SSD is partitioned?
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March 12, 2014 7:30:33 PM

napster100 said:
Thats fair enough, why do extra work that not needed to be done, however it is a very simple task and getting hold of a copy of win 7 with SP1 can be done easily or use a program call 7lite to slipstream SP1 into your current copy is an easy task too, and you could backup your data onto a separate drive to be restored from, preferably not the SSD as if you've done some good research you'd know that theres a limit to the amount of writes to an SSD.

Are you sure the SSD is partitioned?


I'm sure my SSD is NOT partitioned yet. That's partly why I want help. How do I partition and format the thing?

Also, how do I get the best out of my SSD if there's a limit to how many writes I can make to it? Some kind of utility program to wipe/repair what's not in use?
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Best solution

March 12, 2014 8:57:59 PM

Formatting the SSD
Press start, right click on Computer and then select Manage, a window should open up, double click Storage, double click Disk Management, and wait for it to load up, you should then see disk 0, disk 1 etc... there'll only be more than those 2 if you have more than 2 drives connected, that includes USBs and external hard drives. Disk 0 should contain your boot partition and OS as it's your main drive, disk 1 will most likely be your SSD if theres no other drives connected, you should see in the partitioning area as it being Unallocated, right click on the Unallocated space and select New Simple Volume, you should then be greeted with the New Simple Volume Wizard, click Next, this is where you configure the amount of space the partition will contain, it will automatically select all the avalible space, if you are happy with that click Next, it will automatically assign the nearest drive letter, the letter selected will depend on how many other drive connected and if you have an optical drive (CD/DVD drive), just click next, the File System will auto select NTFS and Allocation Unit Size should auto select Default, the Volume label can be left as is if you so wish or you can change it to something more recognisable such as "SSD", what ever label it's given will be the drive name in Computer area, the last two tick boxes can be left as they are, click Next and you should then be given the overview of the settings, if they are fine click Finish if not click Back till your reach the area where the settings are incorrect, your partition will now be created, I have before experienced it not giving it a drive letter, so relook in the partitioning are for that drive and it should have the label you created and a drive letter (if its there then thats fine, if theres no assigned letter, right click and select Change Drive Letter and Path..., click Add, then Ok on the dialog box and it should now have a letter), its size and format (NTFS) and say Healthy (primary partition). You have now successfully created a partition, close the window and open up Computer and your SSD should be listed.

Getting the best out of your SSD
To get the best out of your SSD, it would be a wise idea to install your OS on there and any other frequently used programs and your games, programs you don't use very often you should install on the HDD as well as files like documents, pictures and music. Your SSD is great for speed but not for storage, every time a file is written to the SSD, it degrades the chips inside ever so slightly, but reading from the SSD isn't as bad, therefore constantly changing files that are kept on the SSD like a document will degrade it faster than something else like reading the OS or reading the game files, and most word processing programs like MS Word create a temp file of the document in that folder (which adds more writing to the SSD) and then writes it to the actual file after the document is saved, when the document is then closed, it has to delete the temp file and re-write the values on the SSD to 0 or null being the same thing.
It's also advantageous to move as many programs's temp folders as possible to the HDD as these will be the areas where a lot of reading and writing will happen, and other folders like Downloads, Documents, Pictures etc... Can have there default locations moved to the HDD so when you save something in there it will be saved to the HDD not the SSD but still look like there in the default locations so you would have to go to Computer, then open your HDD and sift through to find your folder containing your documents etc... So what I'm saying here, by moving its default location, you could still go to Libraries and open up the Documents folder like you usually would to access the files within only the files are stored on the HDD not the SSD :)  To do this it would be advisable to create the necessary folders on the HDD ie Documents, Pictures, Music etc.. Then go back to your Libraries area, right click on one, click Properties, Include Folder, navigate to the corresponding folder on the HDD and select, then click Set Save Location, it should now have a tick next to the HDD path, do this with all the Library folders and job done.

Things you should know
Another thing to note with SSDs is that while it's good to defrag a HDD, it's bad to defrag a SSD, you can by all means continue to defrag the HDD, just make sure the settings to defrag the SSD are off, this process reorders files on the drive so that they are accessible faster however, on an SSD it's read and write speeds are then same across the entire drive so there's no need and also adds to the amount of writes to the drive. Also filling them up to the brim with data is also bad for the drive...

Some more info
There's an article here about SSDs if you'd like to read http://lifehacker.com/5932009/the-complete-guide-to-sol...
And another article here I strongly suggest reading more so than the first http://www.howtogeek.com/165472/6-things-you-shouldnt-d...

I hope my extremely long and eye straining post helps :D 
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March 12, 2014 9:30:27 PM

Thanks for the help. I've successfully allocated the space on my SSD. I don't know what changing to AHCI mode in my SATA controller should do, but for the moment, I'll just put that off. In the mean time, I'll try installing a game or two and see how it runs. Good to know about how writing too much to the drive will kill it. Need to think on diverting my temporary files to my HDD, but again, I'll leave that for later. For now, I think I'll try testing how I want to mod my game on the HDD before installing it on the SSD.
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March 12, 2014 11:11:30 PM

Ahh brilliant!
Don't bother changing to AHCI, I only said that because I thought you meant the actual computer couldn't see the SSD.

And yes, testing the mods on the HDD would be a great idea before placing them on the SSD.

A little more info, I believe each block on the SSD can withstand between 2,000 - 3,00 R/W cycles, and SSDs have extra hidden storage thats used when other blocks start to fail ;)  but there is a limit. And a reason to why you shouldn't fill the SSD up is because data is stored in blocks so the actual size of the block is different to the amount of data contained within, there could be empty space on the end of some blocks and if all other blocks contain data it will read the data from blocks that's not completely filled, and write back to the block filling it with data, so this adds extra R/W cycles to the SSD, that's why you don't want to fill it up (about 75% atmost is recommended).

Another article you may find useful http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html
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