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Windows 7: SSD w/ HDD - Windows 7 setup help


03 Jan 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 
SSD w/ HDD - Windows 7 setup help

Hello!

I've recently completed my first PC build ever, coming from my beloved MacBook Pro. With that being said, I am as much of a Windows noob as can be.

Anyway, I have a 60GB Vertex 3 that I want to use strictly for my OS and maybe one game and a 500GB Caviar Blue that I want to use for everything else. I want Windows 7 to be installed onto the SSD and then for it to never attempt to use the SSD for anything else, unless I tell it to. As it is right now, programs are defaulted to installing on the SSD and even when I change the location to the HDD, a lot of stuff still ends up on the SSD.

So what I intend to do is wipe my SSD and HDD clean and start from scratch, the right way, hopefully with your guys' help. I'm thinking the steps to do so would be something like:
  1. Wipe the SSD and HDD clean, then unplug the HDD
  2. Install Windows 7 back onto the SSD
  3. Install Windows 7 updates and various drivers with the HDD still unplugged (or do I install the drivers onto the HDD?)
  4. Plug the HDD back in, format it, then proceed to move users and program files folders to the HDD from the SSD (??? - is this how you do what I'm ultimately trying to accomplish?)
The other thing I've been confused about is SSD firmware. I can't figure out which firmware my SSD has and I know anything but the latest has been extremely unstable. If I can somehow find out which version I have and it's not the latest, how do I go about updating it? I know it doesn't work when you have an OS installed on the SSD. Does that mean before I do the four steps above I should install Windows onto my HDD so I can update the firmware on my SSD? Or is there another way to do it?


All the help I can get would be greatly appreciated!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jan 2012   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

for #1 have a look here How to securely erase an SSD drive | How To - CNET

#2 is OK with the HDD unplugged

#3 no need to keep the HDD unplugged

#4 no need to move any system files. The user files you can move by changing the default location User Folders - Change Default Location

The firmware level you should find in device manager > device properties > details (see picture). For updating the firmware consult the OCZ forum.

Here is one of my SSD tutorials where you may find some more helpful details SSD - Install and Transfer the Operating System


Attached Thumbnails
SSD w/ HDD - Windows 7 setup help-2012-01-03_1507.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Wow, thanks for the quick and helpful response! Turns out my SSD actually already has the latest firmware, which is awesome. But as for #4 (changing the default location of the user folders), is that the only thing I would need to do to guarantee nothing but the OS is ever going to be on the SSD? Also, what is the smallest amount of space I can make Windows 7 use up on the SSD? I ask because I'd like to also install the game I play the most on my SSD, but as the game is nearly 30GB, and the SSD is only 60GB, I'm not sure I can fit both the game and Windows unless I have the absolute bare minimum of Windows related stuff on the SSD.

Edit: After I install Windows, exactly which drivers do I want to install and in what order? The first time I did this I went off of what the Newegg tutorial video said, but I the video could have been a little more descriptive in this area. And should I change the user folders location first and then install the drivers so that they're on the HDD?

Edit 2: One more thing... Is there no way to just erase the SSD and HDD from the Windows installer or BIOS or something similar? Do I need to actually download a program to do it? And if so, if I need Windows to run the program and Windows is installed on the SSD I'm erasing, what am I to do?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 Jan 2012   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. If you have a retail installation disc, the OS should not be more than 20GB - at the very most including a good selection of programs,

2. I am not sure that it is such a good idea to install the game on the SSD. Does it really access the disk so often to make it worthwhile.

3. Get rid of the hiberfile. That will save space equivalent to the size of your RAM. The command is powercfg -h off .

4. You normally do not have to worry about drivers. Windows 7 finds them automatically - unless you have a really weird device.

5. You can leave it up to the installer to erase your SSD (not the HDD though). But that is not the same thing as a clean erase. Your SSD will be slower in the write operations until garbage collection has completely cleaned it -and I have no idea how long that takes.But if the SSD is brand new, you do not have to worry about that. It is clean.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

I don't mean to be a pest but I do want to make sure I ask all my questions first and do everything right this time around, so...

3. I pretty much have no idea what a hiberfile is and what it means to get rid of it. And is this definitely a safe thing to do? And is there anything else I can get rid of to free up SSD space?

4. According to the Newegg tutorial video, the drivers that Windows uses are not the best/latest, and the everything will work better if you download the latest. Is it definitely unnecessary to download the drivers? And if I do download them, would that mean I have would have two sets of everything (the ones Windows installed + the ones I downloaded)?

5. The installer can erase the SSD but not completely? Therefore making it slower? But since my SSD is brand new and has only been used for about a week and done nothing major (mainly just browse the internet), I should be fine as there's unlikely to be junk on it yet? Just making sure I'm understanding you correctly. As for the HDD, that can be cleared out/reformatted after I install Windows, right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64 -- PCLinuxOS KDE4 FullMonty 2011
 
 

hiberfile = hibernation. If you don't use it then do as above. It will only disable it not remove. Very easy to re-enable. Gives you back your memory size in gb to the SSD.

You can also move a few things from the SSD to the HHD. Internet files, temp files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

What does hibernation do exactly? What would I be losing out on by disabling it?

And wouldn't I technically want to move all possible files from the SSD to the HDD? (I mean, I do, unless there's a reason not to.) Is there a list of everything I can move?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You are certainly no pest. We are here to help and it is normal that you have a lot of questions. I had wished that I could have asked someone 4 years ago when I started with my first SSD. But I guess I was a pioneer in those days. LOL

ad 3. As Hipster says, you can delete the hiberfile if you do not use hibernation - most people don't. And if you ever want it back, it is very easy. The command is powercfg -h on

There is not a lot more you can get rid of. If you have a large RAM, you may reduce the pagefile to 1 or 2GBs. Everything else I can think of should stay as is.

ad 4. i suggest you stay away from the drivers and let the system manage them. Only in very exceptional and very rare cases is human intervention is required.

ad 5. I think you can go with the installer to do the job. But this subject is a bit more complex. You have to understand how an SSD works. It is not a matter of "junk" in the traditional sense.

An SSD can only write to spaces that are completely blank - meaning neither a binary zero nor a binary one must be on the nand. That is the job of Trim and the garage collector. They make sure that this is done after a file or data is deleted by the OS. But that operation is not instant. With a clean erase you make sure that the SSD is clean as if it came out of the box. But in your case you can go without doing the clean erase. The impact will probaby be minimal. Just make sure that about 20% of the SSD are free at all times. That will help the garbage collector.

Read here - that will give you a better understanding: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Torque21 View Post
What does hibernation do exactly? What would I be losing out on by disabling it?

And wouldn't I technically want to move all possible files from the SSD to the HDD? (I mean, I do, unless there's a reason not to.) Is there a list of everything I can move?
Other than what I described before, I would definitely leave any game off the SSD. Games are big and bulky and belong on the HDD. But moving any system file is completely counterproductive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2012   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OEM)
 
 

Okay, thanks. I'll probably leave the more technical SSD stuff for the future and just take the easy way out for now (wipe it via the installer). The beauty of having built my own computer is that I can do whatever I want to it, whenever I want to.

3. After I install Windows I simply open Command Prompt and paste in powercfg -h on and I gain my 8GB (I have 8GB of memory) of additional SSD space? Are there any cons to disabling hibernation?

And one last thing and I think I'm ready to do this:

Should I follow this tutorial over the one you linked? And is that definitely the only thing I need to do to make sure my computer never uses the SSD for anything but the boot drive? Once I've completed one of the two tutorials, I'm everything will be defaulted to using the HDD, right?

This is, in a way, and without jynxing myself, easier than I had expected. I'm excited to get started.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 SSD w/ HDD - Windows 7 setup help




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