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Windows 7: How do I organize my Hard Drives Properly?

10 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
How do I organize my Hard Drives Properly?

Hi, I'm fairly new to windows, having spent a lot of time on Mac, and I recently just built a windows machine.

I'm not ignorant of the basics of windows, I just never have had such a complicated build before and I need some help with my SSD-HDD setup.


Intel Core i7-3770k Ivy Bridge @ 3.5 ghz

EVGA GTX 680 graphics

~120 GB SSD


Currently I have my OS, applications and drivers on my SSD. I also have all the folders I'm familiar with seeing on previous computers (program files (x86), Users, and program files) on my SSD.

My HDD was completely empty, as i was expecting, which allows me to start from scratch. On my HDD, I have installed some large games, Steam, a few pictures that I put there manually, and one or two other applications. All of these files, however, are just sitting in their own folders on my HDD, not in the familiar "user" or program files (86x) folders.

My question is: what is the best way to go about using a SSD and HDD combination, that doesn't have me contantly draging things into my HDD manually? I have heard that it's a good idea to partition ones hard drives, but I have no experience with that. I don't like having all of my files going to my SSD by default, and sometimes applications won't let you specify where to install.

I would like to have my all of my video editing files, movies, music, and so on, archived on a hard drive where space is not really an issue.

I got my build up and running a couple of days ago, and i'm not entirely sure how to proceed. I need to do things like purchase and install software, download and install games, and have an organized workflow in terms of file management without filling up my SSD in a couple of days.

Sorry for what may be silly questions, but I really do need some advice.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

A good default arrangement is a single partition (C) on the SSD, a single partition on the primary internal data drive, and a single partition on a backup drive (internal or external).

In that scenario, backup C to the bqckup drive using an image. Backup the primary data drive to the backup drive using a file by file backup application, rather than an image.

I'd put as many applications as possible on the SSD. That's what it's for and it is lightning fast--you may as well take advantage of its speed whenever possible. Games don't really benefit from an SSD, so it's cool to put them on the HDD.

You've probably got 2 partitions on the SSD: system reserved and C. That's fine.

I wouldn't get carried away with 3 or 4 partitions on the primary data drive. Just use folders. But that's personal choice. Whatever you do, do NOT authorize the creation of "dynamic disks". If you stay with 3 or fewer partitions on a drive, you aren't likely to be faced with that.

There are ways to get your user folders onto the HDD, but I don't use user folders for my data at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #3

Windows 7 Pro with SP1 32bit

It is not very difficult organise your hard disks. ignatzatsonis has succinctly explained it above.

What perhaps is more difficult is to organise your data on the various disks. I suggest that if you have the time then please read all about it in "Organize and Manage Your Data" section of the blog at The 35 Best Tips and Tricks for Maintaining Your Windows PC - How-To Geek. In fact the whole blog is worth giving a once-over.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 How do I organize my Hard Drives Properly?

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