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About to install my first SSD boot drive, some questions

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July 29, 2011 9:12:12 AM

After years of holding out, I finally sprung for an SSD to use as a boot drive in my current system. Right now I have two conventional HDDs - my boot drive is 500GB, my second drive is 1TB, both SATAII. The SSD I ordered is a Corsair Force 3 60GB (SandForce-based SATAIII drive, newegg had it on shell shocker for $109 w/ free shipping and a $10 MIR). I want to format the new drive, do a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and a few programs, and leave a good amount of space empty for virtual memory.

Right now, my 500GB drive has Windows, all my installed programs, and a few random media files and personal documents in the user directory. The 1TB drive is just file storage - backup files, disc images, media files, download folders for my browsers and torrent client, etc.

Once I get the SSD, I want to install a fresh copy of Windows to it, and boot to it instead of my 500GB drive. However, if possible, I'd like to avoid having to reformat the 500GB drive, so I can leave all my currently installed programs on it and continue using them without having to reinstall everything. Is this possible? Are most/all my games and other programs going to break horribly if I do this? If it will work the way I want, how can I remove the unneeded Windows installation from that drive? If I have to, I guess I could format the drive and reinstall everything after getting Windows all set up on the new drive, but that would take for-friggin'-ever.

I wasn't planning on doing more than one partition on the SSD. Unless I'm mistaken, the performance benefits from separate OS partitions on a conventional drive don't apply to SSDs. Is there any reason I'm overlooking to have more than one partition if I don't want to put a second OS on the same drive?

I'm going to put one or two games that suffer from long load times. I'm thinking my primary browser will live there as well, since they do a lot of caching and whatnot on disk and don't take up much space anyway. Any other types of program that benefit a lot from being on a disk with crazy fast seeks and reads? Anything I should be sure *NOT* to put on an SSD - things that will actually perform less well, and/or that are demanding on the disk in a way that's especially bad for SSD lifespans?

I'd love to hear any other tips/tricks/advice that you have on the subject. These are just the questions that come to mind before I've begun the process.

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a b G Storage
July 29, 2011 9:42:41 AM

Format the SSD as one partition - yes.

Install the OS on it as a fresh install - good idea.

Keep everything else off it - VERY good idea. You want to avoid filling it, because it won't last as long.

There are guides on optimising your Windows for SSD - things like turning off indexing and system restore - google the subject and you'll find them easily.

You don't have to reformat your 500GB drive - I would recommend that you don't do so.

However, you can't (easily) get everything that's installed on the Windows on the 500GB drive to appear on the Windows on the SSD - it really doesn't work like that. You'll have to install those applications again, and you'll have to install them to somewhere other than C: - that makes each installation a bit of a nuisance. Sorry!
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July 29, 2011 11:26:08 AM

Best answer selected by solistus.
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