Splitting a windows installation to an SSD

Im gonna skip the introduction and just jump right into the technical. MADBRO? Any-who, I have my desktop configured with the following specs:i5-2500k, 16gb ram, evga GTX 590 3gb, and an asus rog maximus IV gene-z MB. It currently has one HDD in it which is a hitachi 1tb 7,200rpm drive which is very quick. I recently upgraded the ssd in my laptop from 64gb to a 256gb SSD, now i have a free ssd which i want to use in my desktop.
SO basicaly Im trying to figure out how I can Put the SSD into my desktop so that windows is on it For faster boot times, along with 1 or 2 games that i frequently play. But the issue is i cant just clone the HDD to the SSD because its over 800GB. Is there any way I can Just move the windows 7 installation over to the SSD without everything I currently have installed and other data. Then keep all of my program files on the HDD? would this be a suitable idea?


Alternatively Should I back up all the Data I want and then do a clean install of Windows7 then make sure I install all of my programs to the HDD?
Are there any performance drawbacks to either method?
Is the first one even possible?

TL;DR got ssd, can I migrate windows to it but not the programs i have installed? or should I reinstall W7 and make sure i install stuff to HDD from a backup?

I appreciate any feed back I can get
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  1. Best answer
    You can clone a HDD to SSD but it is not the best approach, you will need to re-install all your programs/games anyway so I would just do a clean install (and turn AHCI sata mode on in your bios just before the re-install if you are not currently in AHCI mode).

    If you do decide to clone anyway, here is a good free tool to do it:
  2. No, can't/don't do it.

    An SSD needs a clean install of Windows. Too many reason to list.

    There are everal threads in here on the how-to-do's for SSD, including Windows already on HDD when installing on SSD. Just search for them.
  3. Let's see how this goes, it is probably information overkill...

    Here are some websites that I recommend for Solid State Drives (SSD) users: – Sean’s Windows 7 Install & Optimization Guide for SSDs & HDDs

    The SSD Review – The SSD Optimization Guide

    OCZ Blog – SSD Tips & Tweaks

    The SSD Review - The Windows 7 Optimization Guide

    Sean’s Guide is quite in depth, but very useful information, including install of the operating system (OS) to a SSD if you already have it on a HDD. Sorry, no drive cloning here!

    As for the next links, you don’t have to do them all, or any. They are just tips. But several of them save space usage, and others actually help speed up the OS usage of the SSD.

    I perform these tips right after I install Windows 7, as soon as I get the first desktop screen. I do them before I install ANY of the drivers and programs. (Yes, # 2 pertains to chipset drivers, so I skip that step.)

    I like the follow tips from The SSD Optimization Guide:
    1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Superfetch only), 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 (already done with Win 7 install to a SSD), and 18.

    Most of the tips from the OCZ Blog site are covered in the SSD Review site, so I don’t use them. BTW, I do not touch my pagefile!

    Then I perform the follow tips from the Windows 7 Optimization Guide:
    Faster Boot Section: a.2, a.3, b, c
    Performance Section: b, d, f
    Security Features Section: c

    At this point I install all of my drivers. I had already got them all from my motherboard manufactures website, specific to my boards model and OS (i.e. Asus P8Z68-V Pro & Windows 7 64-bit), and/or the vendors site (i.e. AMD Catalyst Control Center for HD Radeon Cards, and Intel Desktop Chipset and Rapid Storage Technology [iRST]).

    I install them in the following order:
    1. Chipset Drivers
    2. .NET Update (from Microsoft, necessary for next step)
    3. Storage drivers (i.e. iRST v10.8.0.1033)
    4. Video Driver
    a. Onboard Graphics
    b. Discrete Graphics
    c. Lucid Virtu software
    d. Monitor driver/identifier program
    5. Audio Driver/software
    6. USB driver/software (i.e. USB 3.0 drivers)
    7. Printer Driver/software
    8. Any add-on features of the board I will use, else I disable them in the BIOS. (i.e. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Firewire, Add-on SATA controllers)
    9. Any software for special Input devices (i.e. Keyboards, Mouse)
    10. Any motherboard Utilities that I use.
    11. LAN driver. I install this last as once I have internet access, Windows will try to update all the drivers itself, which could have conflicts with my versions. If Windows does have an update after I install my drivers, I let Windows update them.
    12. Intel Management Engine (only on some motherboards)

    Now, I can install all the software/programs I use. The order is unimportant, unless you have different programs that might do the same thing, like Nero and Cyber Link disk burning tools. I always install the one I use the most (and like the best) last, so it will be my default program.

    Then, if the software I installed has an update feature, I update the software to the latest version.

    At this point, Windows will notify me that I have lots and lots of updates available. I carefully select what I want/need, and update them. Then I check again, and update again. And so on and so forth until I have no more updates. Right now this is over a hundred updates.

    I am currently trying out a program I found (AutoPatch) to get all of these updates downloaded before my install, and then just run them without needing to update them through Windows Update. My system install only takes about 15 minutes, another 30 for programs software, but all of the Windows updates take hours! I let you know on my next fresh install how it works.
  4. what about using thr ssd as a cache drive i thought that was what the x68 and z77 chipset could do with a small ssd.
  5. Yes, with a Z68, X79, or Z77 mobo, you can use up to a 64GB SSD as a cache drive for a HDD.

    Although the performace is beter than a HDD, not even close to a single SSD.

    But this way the OP wouldn't be wasting anything!
  6. Best answer selected by hubris.
  7. thank you for all of the replies and helpful information, this helps a lot. I am currently Installing windows to the ssd and will optimize it according to your information.
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