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SSD Boot Drive + HDD with Both on C:\

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August 31, 2011 3:04:42 PM

I'm a complete noob about this stuff.

I was wondering whether it was possible to have an SSD and HDD on the same partition (C), but with the SSD holding whatever windows loads at bootup (just C:\Windows ?), but having them both appear on C, with the user not noticing anything except that his bootups are faster.

If so, where is there a tutorial (for Windows 7 64 bit)?

And my next question would be what is the fastest 32GB SSD for reading?

More about : ssd boot drive hdd

a c 283 G Storage
August 31, 2011 3:14:19 PM

The answer to your first question is no.

I have Windows 7 Pro 64 installed on my pc. I did a couple of the space saving tweaks. Windows takes up a little over 21GB.

Here is a link to a Tom's Hardware article that is an analysis of 9 of the most common space saving and performance tweaks:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-performance-twe...

I did not do the performance tweaks because the article indicated they may be of questionable value and might actually harm ssd performance.
August 31, 2011 3:28:58 PM

Are you seriously saying that an SSD can't just hold C:\Windows ?

With ANY amount of hacks?

I'll be using the HDD for EVERYTHING else.
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a c 114 G Storage
August 31, 2011 3:31:26 PM

Yes and No. Here's what i mean. If you haven't partitioned your HD for example C:\Boot D:|programs it's a bit of an organizational issue, but it can be done. My usual HD setups are like this:

C:\OS
D:\Games
E:\Programs
F:\Data
Z:\Optical

When installing a SSD, the procedure is:

1. With power off, yank HD data cable and install SSD.
2. Install OS to SSD.
3. Install all drivers and do Windows Update.
4. Turn off machine and reconnect data cable to HD and Reboot.
5. If necessary set HD partition letters as above for D thru F; set OS partition on HD to X:\
6. Now you should be able to boot to either the OS on the SSD or the OS on the HD via a BIOS boot order selection. When booting to the SSD, the OS on the SSD will be on C:\; the one on the HD will be on X:\ .... when booting to the HD, the OS on the HD will still be seen as C:\


August 31, 2011 3:34:30 PM

Not really what I'm looking for at all.

Nothing I can do in the registry for this?

It doesn't have to be REAL, as long as it just appears to the user that there's only one drive, while in reality the WINDOWS folder is on the SSD and everything else the HDD.
August 31, 2011 3:34:55 PM

What about RAID? Anything I can do with RAID for this?
August 31, 2011 3:38:56 PM

Partition Magic?
a b G Storage
August 31, 2011 3:43:42 PM

no, no and no

By definition each physical drive is represented by at least one drive letter.

The user doesn't have to know anyway. You can put Windows on C: and put your installed programs on D:. The user accesses programs either through the start menu or through icons on the desktop so they have no clue where the program actually is installed. If the user uses "my documents" or "libraries" for data storage, then those can be on any drive that you wish and the user wouldn't really see that either.

If the user is knowledgeable enough to go into explorer and look for things on C: then they are able to understand that there is a D: and an E: and whatever else.
a b G Storage
August 31, 2011 3:46:08 PM

(BTW Kamab, no, no and no was for the post before yours)

WRT spanning, this might be possible but you wouldn't have any control over which physical drive the data got stored on, it would be up to the drive controller to decide this. I don't think this would play nice with one SSD and one rotating hard drive.
a b G Storage
August 31, 2011 4:18:35 PM

Heaney said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beXqc8htfGs

Explain to me like I'm 5 why I can't just do this.

Because they are merging two logical partitions from a single physical drive into a single logical partition.
You can not merge two partitions from two separate physical drives.

And while a JBOD RAID setup MAY allow you to span a SSD and conventional hard drive, it will NOT work in the manner you are hoping for.
With a JBOD setup, if you can even work it with the two drive types, the RAID controller will specify where the data is stored.
There would be no way to ensure that the OS was placed on the SSD and all other data is on the conventional drive.

Your best option would be to install Windows with only the SSD connected.
After you have installed all drivers and updated windows, shut down and install the hard drive.
To make you experience as trouble free as possible, you can Change the Location of your My Documents and your Default Instillation Path to be on the mechanical drive.

While not exactly as you would like to have it, it is as close as you are going to get.
a b G Storage
August 31, 2011 4:19:39 PM

Heaney said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beXqc8htfGs

Explain to me like I'm 5 why I can't just do this.


In the video, they are showing you how to take ONE physical disk that has 2 partitions (C: and D:)  and merge those separate partitions into one big single partition (C:) .

If I understand you correctly, you want to make two physical disks (one HDD and one SSD) to look like one big partition (C:) . I'm no expert, but I don't think that will be easy to do. I know you're looking for answers not questions but I must ask, why?

On my system I run a single 50gb SSD as the Windows system drive. I don't install anything other than system-related things (like anti-virus) on that drive. It appears as C:. I have a 1tb hard disk drive that I install everything else to (games, photos, movies, Office suite, etc.). That is called D:. I still accomplish your stated goal of speedier boot-time while having large storage capacity. I don't find 2 drive letters to be at all confusing. Do you have a specific necessity for the single drive letter?

As far as speedy SSDs, check out Tom's Best SSDs for the money guide: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-solid-state-nan...

For a boot drive you'd be really squeezing it to use something under 50gb. A 30gb drive is BARELY adequate to hold a full install of Windows... remember that actual capacity is lower than stated.
a c 289 G Storage
August 31, 2011 4:21:43 PM

Heaney said:

Explain to me like I'm 5 why I can't just do this.

I'll skip the 5 part (oh, okay, "It just doesn't work that way, sweetheart.")

You want both the SSD and the hard drive to have their storage appear as the C drive. There are only two known ways to do this. RAID0 would throw away a lot of your space, since you would only get twice the size of the smaller drive, and you still wouldn't be able to control the placement of specific directories and files, since all data is striped across both drives. If you extend one drive onto another in Disk Management (which I think requires dynamic volumes, but I haven't tried it), you do get the total of space but you don't get control over what data gets put on which disk, or split across both.

Let me offer you two alternatives.

The traditional way is to have the SSD be C: for boot, and the HDD be D: and contain data. You can repoint "My Everything" to be on the D drive, and as you install software make the storage directory for each app be the D drive.

A more far-out way would be to create specific directories on the C drive that actually live on the D drive. This can be done with (insert the term I forgot here). Any files in or under these directories would be on the D drive, any files in C:\ or directories that you did not create with this tool will be on the SSD. That's about as close as I can get you.

You could probably install the OS on the SSD and then use Disk Manager to extend the space onto the HDD, but you would end up with a mess and no control over where data went, not to mention that OS updates could end up on your HDD.
a b G Storage
August 31, 2011 4:31:02 PM

There actually is another option, if you have some money to spend.
Intel's Z68 chipset and a limited number of aftermarket RAID controllers support SSD Caching.

If you where to upgrade your system with either an Intel Z68 platform or compatible controller you could keep Windows and all your data on the mechanical hard drive while the SSD acts only as a high speed cache.

On the plus side this would achieve the exact effect you are searching for.
On the down side you would have to invest a good amount of cash to get it working and it would still be slower then a dedicated SSD.
The performance increases would also be not very consistent as the controller would only be caching the last xxGB (size of your drive) you have accessed to the SSD.
a c 283 G Storage
August 31, 2011 4:39:57 PM

"Are you seriously saying that an SSD can't just hold C:\Windows ?

Absolutely positively not. I was just answering your question about merging two physical drives into one imaginary virtual drive. It's simply not done. It makes no sense.


With ANY amount of hacks?

Absolutely, positively not. Again, I was just answering your question about merging two physical drives into one imaginary virtual drive.


I'll be using the HDD for EVERYTHING else."

That's fine. The typical scenario is to load Windows 7 on the ssd and everything else on a hard disk drive. A better solution is to go with a larger capacity ssd that can hold Windows 7 and software applications while data files are stored on a hard disk.




Heaney said:
Not really what I'm looking for at all.

Nothing I can do in the registry for this?

It doesn't have to be REAL, as long as it just appears to the user that there's only one drive, while in reality the WINDOWS folder is on the SSD and everything else the HDD.



If I go by your third comment it is fairly simple. The icons on the Windows 7 Desktop as well as the icons and/or text in the start menu are links to software applications and files. The icons and/or text do not indicate or actually show where the applications and files are located. Therefore, the user would not know where the applications and files are located. Of course that would not work if the user opens Windows Explorer which will show all drives.
a c 283 G Storage
August 31, 2011 8:03:03 PM

OOPS! I forgot something!

To find out which ssd is the fastest for reading check out Tom's hardware ssd charts for 2011. Here is the link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/ssd-charts-2011/benc...

Note - you will not find any 32GB ssd's listed. That is because companies typically submit their larger capacity drives for review. The larger capacity perform better than small capacity drives. The chart will at least give you a rough approximation of read performance.
September 1, 2011 1:20:20 AM

More importantly, I just can't figure out the benefit of what you are asking for.

It would be easy to install Windows on a specific drive, say d:\ and then label your hard drive partition as C:\. To a user at this point, all you would have to do is set up windows to have all of it's special folders (program files, user accounts) on whichever drive you want and the User's experience will essentially be what you are asking for. There will just be an additional drive that is explorable, but in all other senses they will get the faster boot up time of an SSD combined with still using drive C:\ for everything else.
September 1, 2011 1:59:40 AM

YOU CAN DO THIS.. using a z68 chipset with the SRT (Smart Response Tech) this will install everything to the HDD, and cache common files ( Boot and Windows Files) to the SSD and you get very good performance Close to Pure SSD but not completely.
a c 283 G Storage
September 1, 2011 3:05:09 AM

sintek - There is a problem. If you use a small capacity ssd as a cache for a hard disk drive, there will not be much of a performance boost. A dedicted ssd provides much greater performance than a ssd cache.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about caching. Intel developed caching for clients and businesses that could not afford a large capacity ssd. Back when the concept was on the drawing board, Intel hoped clients and businesses would purchase a small 10Gb or 20GB for about $100.00. Microsoft Windows 7 and all software applications would remain on hard disk drives. The cache only produced a minor boost in performance. Intel hoped that once clients saw the slight performance boost they might be inclined to purchase a larger ssd.

Intel also researched the size of the cache. Intel determined that a 60GB ssd was the point where it made no sense to use the ssd as a cache for a hard drive. Instead if you have a 60GB ssd, then Windows 7 and software applications should be installed on the ssd to take full advantage of the ssd capabilities.

It makes more sense to install Windows 7 and your software applications on the ssd. The ssd performance boost is much higher than the hard disk drive performance increase.

Windows 7 will use up a just a little over 21GB leaving some room for software applications.

I do not know if you are a gamer but I hope you know that an ssd will not improve actual game play and it will not improve FPS. The only thing that happens is that the game will launch faster and levels, maps, or charts will load faster. If you participate in online gaming, then the ssd will not improve anything. You'll still be at the mercy of your Internet Service Provider.

A few days days ago Tom's Hardware published "SSD Performance In Crysis 2, World Of Warcraft, And Civilization V". It is an analysis of ssd's and gameplay. Here is the link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-gaming-performa...
a b G Storage
September 1, 2011 10:12:55 PM

I skimmed through this, so this may have already been mentioned, but another option if it hasn't already been said which I don't think it has would be to mount the 2nd drive as a folder on the first one. This way the drive wouldn't have an actual assigned drive letter to it, and you could put whatever you wanted in the folder that was in actuality another drive. The user would only ever see one drive letter, even though there would be two physical drives.
a b G Storage
September 1, 2011 11:02:42 PM

tomatthe said:
I skimmed through this, so this may have already been mentioned, but another option if it hasn't already been said which I don't think it has would be to mount the 2nd drive as a folder on the first one. This way the drive wouldn't have an actual assigned drive letter to it, and you could put whatever you wanted in the folder that was in actuality another drive. The user would only ever see one drive letter, even though there would be two physical drives.



Wyoming mentioned this above but he forgot what it was called. I have forgotten too but I wanted to say it was some form of link, or maybe some form of shortcut. I remember it from the real old days but I've never used it.
a b G Storage
September 1, 2011 11:07:12 PM

Cool I see it now, it looks like he was referring to mounting folders on a different drive letter, but you can actually mount a drive as a folder so that it doesn't show up as an additional drive letter.

Maybe symbolic link is the term you were hunting for? I had never seen those before Vista/Win7 actually when they moved the default location for user folders, and setup the symbolic links for legacy programs to work properly.
a c 289 G Storage
September 2, 2011 12:42:19 PM

tomatthe said:

Maybe symbolic link is the term you were hunting for? I had never seen those before Vista/Win7 actually when they moved the default location for user folders, and setup the symbolic links for legacy programs to work properly.

Nah, that's the Unix term. There's a different one in Windoze, partly because it works differently.

Let me repeat: I wouldn't do it that way. In fact, I didn't.
a c 289 G Storage
September 2, 2011 4:11:17 PM

tomatthe: Ah, yes. You make the entire second drive available through a single directory / mount point on the first. A different, simpler solution that only allows a single directory on the first drive to be redirected to the second. Here it is: Junction Points
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS_junction_point
a b G Storage
September 2, 2011 4:18:35 PM

I think he only wanted one drive letter which is why I suggested the other way.
a c 289 G Storage
March 19, 2012 4:38:46 PM

Quote:
such a simple question that was so easy to answer

You're not going to make many friends like that. Despite the meaning of your name in Elvish.
!