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Working with Windows 7, a small SSD, and a big mechanical drive

Last response: in Windows 7
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December 30, 2010 6:40:54 PM

Hello,

I have a 1.5yo laptop, Acer Aspire 8930 18.4". Its hard drive is now almost at the point of unusability. I was thinking of buying two hard drives to replace it (the laptop should have 2 bays, said so in the manual, will be double-checking that soon)

What I was thinking of doing was buying a Solid-State Drive as my primary OS drive and a big hard drive as a data/program files/etc drive.

Here's the drives I was thinking of:
SSD - 16GB, $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD - 500GB, $70
http://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-2-5-Inch-Internal...

My two questions: Is the 16GB Drive big enough to work for what I want to do (Win7 OS and not much more)? and, How does one go about doing the install to make it put the OS on one drive and the Program Files, etc on the other drive?

I want to go with a SSD because it is impact resistant, and I tend to put a lot of mileage on my laptop (guesstimate of ~1-4 mi per day walking, laptop either in sleep mode or off). I do, however, end up having to install a lot of space-hogging applications as I am an engineering student. Thus I need a large amount of storage, which would be out of my price range in a SSD.

The hard drive I currently have in is 500GB, not sure on the brand. Any SMART test run on the drive fails at ~10% with a read failure and about every other time I boot the computer it wants to run a disk check. Programs are randomly not working (Connect To fails to run, FF3.6 portable freezes up the computer, my Windows 7 partition refuses to boot, my Vista partition fails to boot into any type of safe mode)
a b $ Windows 7
December 30, 2010 7:45:35 PM

I struggled with a 30Gb for OS, partly because outlook puts its file on the OS drive regardless of where the programs are instaled. i'd16 is short, i'd also say that the 16's are probably old, and therefore may not support trim, which is vital in an ssd even on a mostly read drive.

except that one that does support trim
December 30, 2010 8:16:39 PM

13thmonkey said:
I struggled with a 30Gb for OS, partly because outlook puts its file on the OS drive regardless of where the programs are instaled. i'd16 is short, i'd also say that the 16's are probably old, and therefore may not support trim, which is vital in an ssd even on a mostly read drive.

except that one that does support trim


In the description it says Supports TRIM and lists Windows 7 as a compatible OS

Doesn't Outlook put its data in the \Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming folder or somewhere near there? If so then wouldn't you just have to move the Users directory to the other drive?

Not that I use outlook anyways, thunderbird's cheaper.

If I used a tool like vLite, would that help make it possible?
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a b $ Windows 7
December 30, 2010 9:27:35 PM

no idea about vlite, you can move individual user folders to another drive, thats easy, i looked for ages and couldn't figure out how to move the outlook file.

My fresh win 7 home premium is about 21Gb including a 4.5Gb Hiberfil.sys file so 16 could be done i suppose but you'd struggle the moment MS released any updates, you'd be more comfortable with 32 and a pared down installation.
December 30, 2010 11:53:23 PM

Outlook's NK2 and PST files are store in the User's profile folders (namely local\app data\microsoft\outlook and the roaming\app data\microsoft\outlook folders). Placing the user's profile on a different drive would also move these files. You can't tell outlook to place *all* user data files elsewhere, they're a dependancy of the currently logged in user. You can, however, change where the user's profile resides. This location has to be available when the user goes to log in, and remain available while logged in. From what i've seen, it can even be on a network share, as long as it's always available. If it becomes unavailable, the user will be logged in under a temporary profile if they log in and the user's home directory is unaccessable. And as far as 16gb for a Win7 OS drive, that's really small. We had a department order Dell netbooks at work, and they had 16gb SSD's as a factory option. Our sysprepped Win 7 Pro image, with all updates, system restore disabled, standard enterprise Symantec AV, MS Office, and all other standard software removed from the image, a 2gb fixed swap file and 100mb temp internet cache set permanently, left about 1gb free on the SSD. This isnt a huge problem because they're going to be used for mobile web-based applications over the wireless network, but an average user would probably not want to do that. I'd go at least 32gb.

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December 30, 2010 11:53:56 PM
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IMO 16GB is way to tight, even if you manage to make it fit now, patches, SP1, temporary files or else will make you bust it in no time. I would suggest you put 20-30$ more and get a 30-40GB drive; the hours you will waste trying to keep the size down is worth way more than 20-30$ ... Ideally I would even try to find a ~60GB drive as it seems to be a point where even entry-level disks perform well, however, they are mostly found in the 110-130$ price bracket.

If you are not in a hurry, you might want to keep an eye out for bargains on those 60GB drives, got an OCZ Solid 2 60GB for 80$CAD a few month ago. It's not stellar performances like newer drives, but way better than my old Raptor 36GB (1st Gen). Just to say that even entry-level SSD usually perform better than any mechanical drive, probably even more so for a laptop drive.

a b $ Windows 7
January 4, 2011 7:12:33 PM

16GB is too small.

this is how I roll:
OCZ Technology 60 GB Vertex 2 Series SATA II
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB
January 7, 2011 10:21:30 PM

So I decided to go with a 30GB SSD. $140 total for http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I followed the instructions here to move the Users and ProgramData directories to data drive. After I did the steps outlined in that tutorial I created junctions from the SSD to the data drive so that any program which used hard-coded paths would still be directed to the right place. (mklink /J C:\Users E:\Users mklink /J C:\ProgramData E:\ProgramData)

I decided to leave the Program Files on the SSD and choose on a per-program basis which goes where (games and other large programs --> data drives, small programs like 7-zip stay on the SSD.
January 7, 2011 10:22:15 PM

Best answer selected by killersquirel11.
a b $ Windows 7
January 7, 2011 10:31:50 PM

good-luck.
!