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Windows 7: How can I transfer windows to SSD as D, and keep everything on C?

10 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
[Merged Topics][Q] transfer ONLY windows to SSD/partially clone HDD

Hello! This is my first post!

I'm thinking of getting a 120gb or 128gb SSD.
My 5400rpm hard drive is 1.5TB, only 100GB free (I plan on cleaning some things up).

I wanted to either transfer or reinstall windows to a SSD as drive D, yet still allowing windows to see my installed programs as being on my original harddrive, still on C.

Can windows be on anything other than C? What file/registry settings does windows use to store where programs are installed? If I reinstall windows on D and copy over this file/registry settings then will everything show in the start menu/programs features (control panel)?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


Boot the Win7 installer to install to the SSD with the HD unplugged so that it doesn't interfere.

When the Win7 installer is correctly booted to install it will always assign C to the booted OS, while the other will have a virtual letter for purpose of accessing it's data.

After install plug back in the HD to access it's data. If you need to boot it use the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key. When ready to delete the OS, move the data to a separate partition then delete the OS partition on HD.

The best way to link the data on HD is to use the same User folders (Documents, Pictures, Music, etc) then rightclick them to add to related Win7 library. Library - Include a Folder - Windows 7 Forums

You must reinstall all programs. I would put them on the SSD for best performance, but if you run out of space you can install them to the data HD.

Follow these steps to get a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which are the same for retail.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Thank you for the quick reply!
So if I have this correct, my SSD will be C, and my old harddrive with all the data will now be D?

You sure there's no way to migrate the programs without reinstalling? What does windows use to store location of installed apps? Even if I have to, I was hoping I could copy whatever it uses, and if I had to rename each directory from C to D.
For example if there's a giant list of apps in the registry and one says C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam I'd just change it to D:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

I have too much data in my program files to fit it all on a SSD, however some major things I will frequently use I'll put on the SSD's program files.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Apr 2012   #4
Microsoft MVP


You cannot transfer installed programs to a new install. If you have confidence in your current Win7 install you could strip it down to the OS and programs, moving the data off externally or to a partition on the HD you shrink to create. Run CCleaner and defrag then clone or image the OS/Programs to the SSD. If you have a WD or Seagate HD in the mix you can use their free premium Acronis cloning/imaging program, otherwise you can use free Macrium - Image your system, or this: SSD - Install and transfer the Operating System

Either way, you want Win7 to be C when booted into it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Looking to partially clone hard drive (Selecting files to clone)

Second merged topic
I have a 1.5TB (1.36TB) Hard drive with 1.11TB used.

I just bought a Seagate 750GB Hybrid HDD/SSD.

I need a program that will clone specific parts of the hard drive, I want to copy everything EXCEPT my "user" folder (containing all my documents, downloads, music, videos, (comes out to 750GB alone)).
I just need my windows, program files, and other misc. files copied over to the Hybrid Drive, but nothing I've tried gives me the option to choose what I want copied.

Any help would be very appreciated!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Going into the back pages of my memory, I think there may be an application from either Paragon or Acronis that will let you select only certain folders when cloning or imaging? Most likely, it is a paid program rather than free.

But you may nonetheless run into a problem--those applications may want the destination drive to be as large as or larger than the source drive---which is not true in your case if I understand you correctly. I think you have 1.36 TB as source and 750 GB as destination?

Do you have any other drive, probably external, to which you can temporarily relocate some stuff now on the 1.36 TB drive--perhaps your entire user folder?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP


You can try mounting a Win7 or Acronis image (most other apps have a way to do this, too) then editing out the User folder to see if it will reimage intact.

If not I would follow ignatz' idea to move the User folder off the HD temporarily to make the image. If it won't move then copy it's contents, confirm everything is copied, then delete the original content.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Thank you very much for the quick replies. I've read up on paragon and it mentions cloning to a smaller SSD by downsizing, this could possibly be what I'm after. I'll check it out later when I get home, I see they have a free trial.
I'll also check out the other two methods.
I don't have an external HDD, but I have a 320gb drive and a different PC 500gb HDD with almost all free space. If nothing works out I suppose I could temporarily use those for backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2012   #9
Microsoft MVP


You're entitled to use Seagate Acronis cloning free utility which is about the best there is. It can shrink the image during cloning or imaging. The Manual is with the download link and is easy to understand.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 May 2012   #10

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

I ended up using Paragon and it worked flawlessly! It even has an option to copy HDD > SSD, then when it says the destination drive is too small, it allows you to check/uncheck data not to copy. I simply unchecked my users folder, then followed this guide for redirecting my users folder:
User Profile - Change Default Location

Now I'm going to delete ALL except the users folder from my 1.5TB drive (Windows, Program Files, etc).
Is there a more recommended way to do this other than simply deleting them from windows explorer?
With the free space I'll probably create a proper backup of my computer rather than keeping the files sitting there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How can I transfer windows to SSD as D, and keep everything on C?

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