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Windows 7: Install SSD with HD data drive under Win 7

01 Dec 2013   #1

Windows 7 Pro (64 bit)
 
 
Install SSD with HD data drive under Win 7

I'd like to install an SSD for my Win 7 setup. My HD currently has about 250GB on it, and I'm planning to put the data intensive user stuff on the HD.

From poking around, I understand the best way to separate the user data from the boot drive is through drag and drop, rather than a register hack (see Windows 7 and SSDs: Cutting your system drive down to size | Page 2 | ZDNet)

My question is this…I'm planning a fresh install of Win 7 on the SSD. If I use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer the data and settings, there won't be enough room on the SSD for it all (I'm planning a 128GB SSD).

So how do I go about doing the install so that the SSD has just the OS and the apps on it while the HD has the data moved over from the existing HD?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Dec 2013   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Camner, welcome to the windows 7 forum.

One solution would be to move all of your data to another disk. remove the hibernate file and then start reducing the size of the existing C drive to less than 120gig. It has to be equal or less than the size of your new SSD. It is just not the free space but the actual size of the c drive after you reduce it's size. Then you can use most any of the image programs like Acronis or the Microsoft included image program to create an image of your resized C drive and install you SSD, then restore the image to the SSD from an external hard disk. Takes a bit of time but it does work. Otherwise, I would remove the existing hard disks and install Windows 7 from your DVD drive. and of course all of your programs would have to be re-installed on your new C SSD.

Clear as mud?

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2013   #3

Windows 7 Pro (64 bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by richnrockville View Post
Clear as mud?

Rich
Yup (thanks!), but what I want to do is to rebuild the system from scratch…If I just clone over the (reduced size) current boot drive I'll be transferring whatever problems the existing system has to the new drive!

What I'd like to do is this:

1. Do a "clean install" of Windows 7 on the SSD
2. Ideally, migrate/transfer apps settings and user settings to the SSD from the old HD, BUT not transfer the storage intensive user data
3. Move the user data (documents, music, videos, images, etc) to an HD

If I need to, I can certainly simply reinstall the apps and manually move over the user data, but then I have to go in and manually recreate all the settings (power, aero, windows update, etc.) in the new system. I can do that, but if I could avoid it, it would be a faster process.

If I don't intend to actually clone the existing system to the new drive, I presume that the apps such as Acronis and Paragon won't do anything for me, right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Dec 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

I would go for the clone option (why not?). But first (so prior to clone):

1. "Ideally, migrate/transfer apps settings and user settings to the SSD from the old HD, BUT not transfer the storage intensive user data."=>STORAGE INTENSIVE DATA must be moved prior to clone.
2. Move the user data (documents, music, videos, images, etc) to an HD. Move prior to clone
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2013   #5

Windows 7 Pro (64 bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
I would go for the clone option (why not?). But first (so prior to clone):

1. "Ideally, migrate/transfer apps settings and user settings to the SSD from the old HD, BUT not transfer the storage intensive user data."=>STORAGE INTENSIVE DATA must be moved prio to clone.
2. Move the user data (documents, music, videos, images, etc) to an HD. Move prior to clone
Thanks for the reply. The reason for not cloning is that the Windows 7 install is a 2-year-old Dell Windows 7 system. The computer has slowed down a lot in the last two years, and I'm assuming there's enough "cruft" around (not to mention the original Dell installed software I don't need!) that has accumulated. An SSD will certainly make the cruft go around faster, but wouldn't it be better to start over with a clean install?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2013   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by camner View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kaktussoft View Post
I would go for the clone option (why not?). But first (so prior to clone):

1. "Ideally, migrate/transfer apps settings and user settings to the SSD from the old HD, BUT not transfer the storage intensive user data."=>STORAGE INTENSIVE DATA must be moved prio to clone.
2. Move the user data (documents, music, videos, images, etc) to an HD. Move prior to clone
Thanks for the reply. The reason for not cloning is that the Windows 7 install is a 2-year-old Dell Windows 7 system. The computer has slowed down a lot in the last two years, and I'm assuming there's enough "cruft" around (not to mention the original Dell installed software I don't need!) that has accumulated. An SSD will certainly make the cruft go around faster, but wouldn't it be better to start over with a clean install?
Clean install gives the best result. But takes a long time.... you have to reinstall drivers/applications. And have to reapply all your settings
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2013   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Post a picture of your current Disk Management. Then we can see what's best.

If you do a fresh install on the SSD, the system will fit easily. We'll discuss how to deal with your data after we can see Disk Management.

But transferring your current OS to the SSD is also possible - and easy. We'll just have to deal with the data first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Dec 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

I would not use Easy Transfer because it can lose files and reimports hidden AppData settings which are a corruption path into a fresh new Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7.

Follow the steps in the blue link to get and keep a perfect install to the SSD with all other HD's unplugged.

After install plug back in the HDD, sort all data into a copy of the User folders you place on a new data partition, then link from the new Windows 7 to those User folders either via Library - Include a Folder vand Library - Set Save Folder to avoid having these data drive folders be deemed System files if you want to use Windows 7 backup imaging; or you can move the User folders to the Data drive using User Folders - Change Default Location.

I would get an SSD large enough to include all programs, System-managed Paging File, and the modern Hibernate file since its function is perfected in Windows 7 and a great convenience.

Once you have everything off the old install Mark Partition Inactive then Delete Partition
to repartition in Disk Mgmt, or resize the data partition to include it: Partition Wizard Resize Partition - Video Help.

Let us know if you have any questions or problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2013   #9

Windows 7 Pro (64 bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Post a picture of your current Disk Management. Then we can see what's best.

If you do a fresh install on the SSD, the system will fit easily. We'll discuss how to deal with your data after we can see Disk Management.

But transferring your current OS to the SSD is also possible - and easy. We'll just have to deal with the data first.
Thanks…I'll post the picture of the current Disk Management when I get home tonight and have access to the machine.

A couple of followup questions in the meantime…

1. Several places mention that it is valuable to "enable AHCI" before starting an install onto an SSD. Other places say "DON'T". I really don't know what AHCI is supposed to do or not do. Any wisdom on this?

2. I've only done a clean install on a physical PC once (XP, a while back). I've done several clean installs of Windows 7 in a virtual environment, but that's easier because there are no drivers to worry about. I've also done a bunch of Mac OS X clean installs. When I do a clean install on OS X on a production machine, I always install to an external drive and spend some time rebuilding the system more gradually so I don't take the production machine out of service for a long period of time. It's just a matter of booting off of the appropriate drive (external-new vs. internal-old).

Given the advice in the link at Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 to disconnect other drives before beginning the install, I wonder if there is a way to accomplish the "little at a time" approach with Windows 7. For example, can I install the SSD (disconnecting the other HDs) and do the initial OS install, and then put the SSD temporarily in an external enclosure and boot up off that external drive to do the driver installs, program installs, etc.? Or do I have to physically disconnect/reconnect the SSD each time I want to work on that system during the rebuild? Or do I need to take the machine out of service for as long as it takes to do the install of the OS, updates, apps, etc.?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2013   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. AHCI speeds up the transfer times from the SSD. Set it after the installation is complete - in both the BIOS and Windows 7.

AHCI : Enable in Windows 7 / Vista

2. Yes, you have to disconnect all drives that are not needed for the installation. Else your bootmgr may end up on one of the HDDs. If that happens, it can be fixed but that is another step.

I would not suggest to finagle the SSD installation on an exernal drive. You don't have to worry about drivers. Those usually come with the installation. Programs is another matter. But as long as you still have your old installation on the HDD, you can switch to that for immediate work.

3. When we have the disk management picture, we'll see how we can best deal with your data. In case we need it - do you have an external disk and how much free space is on that ??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Install SSD with HD data drive under Win 7




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