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Will I lose my hard drive files if I make an SSD my boot drive?

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January 17, 2013 2:17:18 AM

Well, I bought a 64GB SSD to use as my boot drive. I only want it for a fast Windows boot up and possibly a few files/games. But, there is a problem I'm VERY concerned about. I understand that I can just plug in the SSD, unplug my hard drive, enable AHCI, and install Windows on the SSD. Then, replug my HDD in and change the boot order to boot from the SSD.

But, If I do that, all my games and programs wouldn't work, right? I have a 1 TB harddrive with around 500-600GBs of used space, and in that a lot of programs with licenses and keys that I do NOT want to lose. If I do what I mentioned above, will all the programs still work?

Or do only the games and stuff not work? If it's just the games, I can live with it, but NOT the programs.

Or, what would happen if I simply make a copy of my current Windows folder and move it over to the SSD?

I'm really concerned with this. I do NOT want to completely lose all my data. Like I said I have a lot of licensed software that I have gathered over the course of more than a year, and losing that would be painful.

Thanks.
a b G Storage
January 17, 2013 2:26:28 AM

There are some exceptions, but most programs (both games and non-games) rely on data in the registry, and installing Windows to the SSD would create a new registry. Even if you did some kind of registry backup and restore, many of the registry entries involves paths for finding support files that the programs need, but they'd probably end up referring to nonexistent paths on the SSD - they wouldn't automatically adjust to the new drive letter of the hard drive. You'd have to reinstall all your programs and games.
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January 17, 2013 2:34:43 AM

MauveCloud said:
There are some exceptions, but most programs (both games and non-games) rely on data in the registry, and installing Windows to the SSD would create a new registry. Even if you did some kind of registry backup and restore, many of the registry entries involves paths for finding support files that the programs need, but they'd probably end up referring to nonexistent paths on the SSD - they wouldn't automatically adjust to the new drive letter of the hard drive. You'd have to reinstall all your programs and games.


Would it be possible to install my new SSD as drive D then, and boot from it? And keep all my files on my hard drive as a storage drive, and boot all the games from it?

As in, keep my current hard drive as drive C, but just use the SSD (Drive D) to boot from?
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a b G Storage
January 17, 2013 2:46:26 AM

Windows isn't always predictable when it comes to assigning drive letters - I know from personal experience, because when I added a new HDD to my machine at the office where I used to work (I work from home now) and installed WinXP Pro, I was expecting it to treat the new boot drive as C:, and the old drive as something else. Instead it kept the old drive as C: and made the new drive F:. If you install Windows to the SSD with the other drive disconnected, you can be fairly sure the SSD will be C:, but I don't know how to make sure the hard drive stays C: and make the SSD boot drive and some other drive letter. Even if you find a way to do that, copying the Windows folder from the hard drive to the SSD seems like it could cause other problems.
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January 17, 2013 2:49:15 AM

MauveCloud said:
Windows isn't always predictable when it comes to assigning drive letters - I know from personal experience, because when I added a new HDD to my machine at the office where I used to work (I work from home now) and installed WinXP Pro, I was expecting it to treat the new boot drive as C:, and the old drive as something else. Instead it kept the old drive as C: and made the new drive F:. If you install Windows to the SSD with the other drive disconnected, you can be fairly sure the SSD will be C:, but I don't know how to make sure the hard drive stays C: and make the SSD boot drive and some other drive letter. Even if you find a way to do that, copying the Windows folder from the hard drive to the SSD seems like it could cause other problems.


So basically I'd have to reinstall everything if I'd like to use the SSD as a boot drive? ;/
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a b G Storage
January 17, 2013 3:06:56 AM

I'm afraid that's most likely the case. Sorry.
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January 17, 2013 3:07:09 AM

kandon said:
So basically I'd have to reinstall everything if I'd like to use the SSD as a boot drive? ;/

Nah you can keep your old files, its just that your desktop will be brand new. You can always just drag the stuff over little by little though. Some programs might have problems running from the old drive because of the registry issue. Just reinstall those programs if they have issues. You can also change some settings so your desktop runs from the old drive (thats what I did). I forgot how to do that though so giggle it!

You can also reassign partition letters easily: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Change...
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January 17, 2013 3:11:17 AM

Azn Cracker said:
Nah you can keep your old files, its just that your desktop will be brand new. You can always just drag the stuff over little by little though. Some programs might have problems running from the old drive because of the registry issue. You can also change some settings so your desktop runs from the old drive (thats what I did). I forgot how to do that though do giggle it!

You can also reassign partition letters easily: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Change...



Everything will still work even if I have a new boot drive/OS on the SSD? I heard that it normally doesn't work because of some complications or whatever.

Also, as for my desktop running from my old drive, how would that work? The SSD is to speed up boot times. If my desktop is running from my other drive, that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
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a c 87 G Storage
January 17, 2013 3:15:29 AM

kandon said:
So basically I'd have to reinstall everything if I'd like to use the SSD as a boot drive? ;/


Yes.
Also, a 64GB SSD is possibly too small anyway. You would have maybe 58GB usable and should not exceed 80% of that.

You have two main options:

1. Do a FRESH Windows install (recommended, but backup first)
2. Delete/remove enough files so you can then CLONE (less than 50GB used; possibly not possible to do)

*Please also note that you can MOVE your Steam folder, one example:
1. Reinstall Windows to SSD
2. Delete everything on the Steam folder (on hard drive) except "Steamapps" folder and "steam.exe"
3. MOVE the Steam folder to a better location (i.e. "E:\STEAM" on your hard drive rather than Program Files...)
4. Install Steam and POINT to the hard drive folder

Better instructions exist, but basically Steam will rebuild itself without the need to reinstall/redownload everything.

**If you install Windows to the SSD, make sure the hard drive is NOT hooked up. Once you're happy then hook up the hard drive again and DELETE all the Windows folders (except for your STEAM folder which I recommended moving to just a simple "STEAM" folder).

If the Hard Drive is reattached Windows may BOOT from it instead of the SSD. If so, enter your BIOS and switch the Boot Order to the SSD (won't be a problem once you DELETE the Windows data).
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January 17, 2013 3:18:41 AM

photonboy said:
Yes.
Also, a 64GB SSD is possibly too small anyway. You would have maybe 58GB usable and should not exceed 80% of that.

You have two main options:

1. Do a FRESH Windows install (recommended, but backup first)
2. Delete/remove enough files so you can then CLONE (less than 50GB used; possibly not possible to do)

*Please also note that you can MOVE your Steam folder, one example:
1. Reinstall Windows to SSD
2. Delete everything on the Steam folder (on hard drive) except "Steamapps" folder and "steam.exe"
3. Install Steam and POINT to the hard drive folder

Better instructions exist, but basically Steam will rebuild itself without the need to reinstall/redownload everything.


Well the thing is, it's not just games I'm interested in keeping. It's a bunch of different licensed programs and I can't be asked to reinstall all of them.

Also, my current Windows folder is only 30gb, so I don't doubt that 64GB is more than enough just for a boot drive/few programs, but the whole problem is that I'd like to keep all of my current programs that are on my hard drive.

In this case, I'll probably just return the SSD if I can't find a way to keep all my programs.
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a c 87 G Storage
January 17, 2013 6:20:55 AM

kandon said:
Well the thing is, it's not just games I'm interested in keeping. It's a bunch of different licensed programs and I can't be asked to reinstall all of them.

Also, my current Windows folder is only 30gb, so I don't doubt that 64GB is more than enough just for a boot drive/few programs, but the whole problem is that I'd like to keep all of my current programs that are on my hard drive.

In this case, I'll probably just return the SSD if I can't find a way to keep all my programs.


Your setup is not clear, you said over 500GB of used space. Do you have two partitions? i.e.
1) Windows using 30GB of C-drive
2) Programs and Data on the D or E-drive?

It's hard to help completely if you aren't clear on this.

Assuming you actually do only have a C-Drive with 30GB of space used, go ahead and CLONE to the SSD. If you have PROGRAMS on the D/E drive you should still be okay as long as the drive letter doesn't change. If it does for some reason you can change it back.

For example:
1. Clone C-Drive Partition to your SSD (or use a Backup->Restore technique)
2. Unhook the Hard Drive to verify SSD can boot and run
3. Hook the Hard Drive back up and DELETE the primary (old Windows) partition (if Hard Drive is booted instead of SSD, change the boot order in the BIOS).

Hope this helps. Some of this can be tricky.
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January 17, 2013 8:02:42 AM

photonboy said:
Your setup is not clear, you said over 500GB of used space. Do you have two partitions? i.e.
1) Windows using 30GB of C-drive
2) Programs and Data on the D or E-drive?

It's hard to help completely if you aren't clear on this.

Assuming you actually do only have a C-Drive with 30GB of space used, go ahead and CLONE to the SSD. If you have PROGRAMS on the D/E drive you should still be okay as long as the drive letter doesn't change. If it does for some reason you can change it back.

For example:
1. Clone C-Drive Partition to your SSD (or use a Backup->Restore technique)
2. Unhook the Hard Drive to verify SSD can boot and run
3. Hook the Hard Drive back up and DELETE the primary (old Windows) partition (if Hard Drive is booted instead of SSD, change the boot order in the BIOS).

Hope this helps. Some of this can be tricky.


Sorry if it wasn't clear. I have only one drive, C, and it is 1TB. My windows folder itself is around 30gb though. Everything is on one drive though, C.
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