Installing OS to SSD, moving users and program files to HDD?

  1. Posts : 60
    Windows Ultimate x64

    Installing OS to SSD, moving users and program files to HDD?


    I came across this great video where it tutorials you on how to install your OS on your SSD and move your user and program files to HDD. I'd like to get some input if this is a good idea to do to your computer (reduces your write speed on SSD making your ssd last longer since the write speed is finite).

    Here's the source of the video,

    you can skip to 5:30 if you want but from 0:00 to 5:30, just explains what he's going to do, making sure you install the OS to the SSD to get the partition files which is important, and whatnot.

    It seems like a easy thing to do given that I just have to copy and paste the entire "commands" he wrote down on the description. Then edit the registry and do some other stuff.

    Is the tutorial on youtube better than the one Lightning posted on this group and are there actually files being saved on your SSD drive? cos you look in your program files or user files and then you see all the files. is that on the hdd right (if done correctly)?

    source link to tutorial on sevenforums - SSD Tweaks and Optimizations in Windows 7

    It has been asked what other little things can be done to squeeze a litle more performance from Windows 7 on our SSD drives... One thing that helps maintain performance on an SSD is the percentage of free space available to the SSD controller to execute 'wear leveling'. Basically, spreading out the load to the least used empty memory cells.
    In order to do this, we need to fool Windows and other programs into looking elsewhere for stuff that is necessary, but rarely used and taking up a lot of disk space.
    This part is only useful IF you have your operating system on your SSD AND it is formatted as NTFS and have a second drive available (NTFS) with space free to use.
    What we are going to do is move certain directories to the other drive, then make Windows (and the programs) think it is still on the boot drive. We do this by using an NTFS 'junction'. Think of a junction as a pointer to a location. To the operating system, the files look like they are in location A, but they are really physically in location B.

    For the tutorial, we are going to assume that the SSD is C: and the second drive is E:. Substitute your drive letters as needed. As always, MAKE A BACKUP FIRST!
    If you are still with me, here is how to do it (the easy way):
    Go to Link Shell Extension and download (and INSTALL) the link shell extension software (and VC runtime, follow the instructions on the site) for your flavor of Windows 7 (or barf Vista ).
    Make sure explorer is set to SHOW hidden and system files (Tools/Folder Options/View tab, Show hidden, uncheck Hide protected operating system and hide extensions)
    Create the following directories:
    Boot into safe mode. Open explorer and navigate to C:\Windows.
    Right click on the Installer directory and select CUT
    Navigate to E:\WinSystem\Windows right click and select paste. It should have created the directory E:\WinSystem\Windows\Installer with files in it.
    Right click the directory E:\WinSystem\Windows\Installer and select Pick Link Source.
    Navigate to C:\Windows and right click in the directory and select Drop As and select Junction.
    You should now see C:\Windows\Installer is back (with a wierd link on the folder icon)... The OS now will put installer files on the other drive and look for them there, but think it is still on c:!
    Other directories I do this with are the HP install directory (C:\SwSetup) and MS Office setup directory (C:\MSOCache).
    In the previous tutorials, yo learned how to move the TEMP and internet Temporary files... This is a good place for them too. Here is the directory structure on my E:\WinSystem directory:
    E:\WinSystem\Temporary Internet Files

    Just make sure to drop the junction in the same place as the original directory and the OS will be none the wiser and you will have moved GIGABYTES of seldom used stuff of your SSD (and redirected some more writes)!

    The only down side that I have found is as follows: If your backup strategy is like mine WAS, then you would only be making a backup image of the SSD. The problem is, that image backup software does not see that you moved the files, so they cannot copy the files in the E:\WinSystem directory with the image. The fix is quite simple if U are using Windows 7 backup: Along with the system image, have it back up the directory E:\WinSystem. Then it will keep them together and in sync (you restore the image AND the directory that went with the image).

    Undoing the junction is easy too, if you want to. Simply delete the junction from the C drive and move the directory back where it was (hence the reasoning I had you create WinSystem\Windows\Installer instead of WinSystem\Installer as a reminder of where the directory was when U started (thinking of WinSystem as the root)!
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 17,322
    Win 10 Pro x64

    There is no link to a video in your post.

    What about this advice in your other thread,

    Brink said:
    WindowsOP said:
    bigmck said:
    Put your OS and Programs on the SSD. Your Documents, Music, etc can go on the HDD. This will make your programs open faster being on the SSD. You will have plenty of room. Windows 7 only takes about 30 GB.
    To do this, do I change the user folder default location to the HDD drive?

    All the folders in the User folder right?

    User Folders - Change Default Location

    If you like, I would recommend to do what's in the yellow tip box at the top of the tutorial instead of actually moving all the user folders in your user profile folder to the HDD.

    It'll be easier and safer to do. :)
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 12,012
    Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

    WindowsOP said:
    I'd like to get some input if this is a good idea to do to your computer (reduces your write speed on SSD making your ssd last longer since the write speed is finite).
    Most people who do it do so for space reasons---their SSD isn't as large as they might prefer--due to their high cost per GB.

    Fewer and fewer do it for reasons of prolonging longevity of the SSD. That was a big scare 5 years ago, but newer generations are much less prone to that issue unless you have a very very extreme case. You won't find a lot of people excited by the idea that they can do X and extend the life of their SSD from 20 years to 50 years.

    Suit yourself.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 60
    Windows Ultimate x64
    Thread Starter

    I think part of the youtube video explains this
    User Profile - Change Default Location,

    after he finishes entering all the commands in the cmd box. he does some editing in the registry.

    i haven't done this yet except tweak the ssd and performance. the program/user files still in ssd. , waiting for my 2nd caddy to replace the optical drive. (laptop) before i start moving the folders over to the hdd.

    [Tutorial] Moving Users and Program Files to another HDD on Windows 7. - YouTube link to the video

    derekimo said:
    There is no link to a video in your post.

    What about this advice in your other thread,

    Brink said:
    WindowsOP said:

    To do this, do I change the user folder default location to the HDD drive?

    All the folders in the User folder right?

    User Folders - Change Default Location

    If you like, I would recommend to do what's in the yellow tip box at the top of the tutorial instead of actually moving all the user folders in your user profile folder to the HDD.

    It'll be easier and safer to do. :)
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Windows 7 Home Premium x64

    The youtube tut was very straighforward so I tried it. But...

    For background on my hardware see: Issue 2: Can't resolve "unknown device" for 1 standard SATA drive and for the disk partitioning see this:

    I am not sure why I'm having so many difficulties. One issue after another it seems.

    Before I saw this video I was using mklink /D rather than /J (surprised it matters since the target is on the same machine). I also didn't bother to update the registry to set the new drive letters, thinking the links would save me all that trouble. If this were Linux it would have. Also, I was going on and creating the initial user account rather than pausing to create the links to the HDD beforehand. Those seem to be important, as afterwards I had no issues at all where I did before, such as not being able to complete the Performance rating and not being able to install some updates.

    I found this thread and video when I ran into an issue where my keyboard and mouse would not work, and the drive light was on solid. After hours of screwing around trying to resolve that issue I decided to see what wisdom sevenforums had, which is when I found this thread. So I decided to give it a whirl. I have everything backed up so I could always restore and pick up where I left off.

    My trouble started this time after I installed the 215th Windows update. I finished 212 and rebooted, everything was still fine and dandy. You know how it is, you get a big block of updates completed and then there are those that follow, a few here, a few there. So it was. After installing 1 or 2 more and rebooting, I decided to start installing apps. Installed 5 or 6, no problem. Then I installed Office 2007 and had no problems. Unlike the other 5 or 6 apps Office required a reboot.

    Upon restarting I once again had the solid drive light on, but this time my keyboard & mouse was functional. It was as though the CPU was fully topped out, but it wasn't. Neither was memory. It was painfully slow to do much of anything. There were periods where I could launch a tool. Mouse always tracked movement. I managed to get the resource monitor up which showed 100% on drive C: and almost nothing on the others.

    I began to suspect either the SSDor HDD might be going bad. I was so frustrated that I started a full backup of the C, P, & U drives with Macrium 6 and watched a movie to get my mind off this terribly troublesome system overhaul, then I went to bed.

    Today I got a new 1TB HDD, so I installed it and disconnected the power & SATA cables from all the other drives. I restored all 3 drive backups on separate partitions of the new drive. I needed to resolve the drive letter issue before I could boot tho.

    First attempt after restoring I booted from the Windows 7 install disk and selected Repair my Computer, then command prompt. I proceeded to manually change all the junctions and registry settings to point to the F and G drives rather than the P and U drives the restored image had. I got the majority of them switch OK, but may have missed 1 or 2. The system booted and accepted my login, but it failed to show the desktop and returned to the login screen with the error "Login failed: could not start the system profile service" or something like that.

    So my second attempt after restoring the backup images again was to boot the system, press F8 and go into safe mode with command prompt. This time I would start diskmgmt.msc and remap the F & G drives to P & U as was the configuration the backup was created from. Booting into safe mode accepted my login but immediately displayed "Preparing your Desktop". I waited for 5 minutes and nothing. However, the 3 finger salute allowed me to start task manager and that also caused the desktop and command window to appear. I entered diskmgmt.msc into the run box of the task manager window, remapped the partitions to correspond the original drive mappings and then rebooted, expecting one of two results:

    1) The system would work perfectly, indicating a hardware failure of either the original SSD or HDD.
    2) The same symptoms of constantly on drive light and sporadic responsiveness would show up.

    Neither of those 2 scenarios occured. No! it wouldn't be that easy or make any sense. Remember this is a Windows system we're talking about.

    What happened is the same "Login failed: could not start the user profile service" error.

    I restarted in safe mode, same "Preparing your Desktop" message. Ctrl-Alt-Del, start task manager, command window. Inspected the junctions, all looked correct. Drives P and U contained correct files. Registry? Actually I haven't looked at that yet, just now occurs to me. However, the task manager shows the User Profile service to be running, and the registry is still correct (HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Current Version/ and HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/Current Version/ProfileList).

    A quick google finds several ways to fix a corrupt profile, which I applied and am back in business, but on the HDD. This tells me that either the HDD or SSD is bad. I am hoping for the HDD, which I can resolve now that I have an alternative, however the 100% I/O saturation on drive C: leads me to believe it's the SSD. So I'll find out tomorrow as I'm out of time for this now.

      My Computer

  6. Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Windows 7 Home Premium x64

    It's looking like it's the SDD, so why is SMART status always OK?

    After getting Ulimate installed and fully functional on a single HDD with only 4 partitions (an ext4 boot partition for linux, a c: partition of 65GB for Ultimate, a 100GB P: partition for Programs and a U: partition of 100GB for Users), with junctions for Program Files, Program Files (x86), ProgramData and Users that redirect to the P: and U: partitions, installed the last of the Windows updates (30 more) and then I took a Macrium 6 backup of everything and instructed Macrium to shutdown when the backup was complete. That was last night.

    This morning when I booted all was still fine. I repeated the boot and logged in under both accounts, and no problems arose.

    Fantastic I thought, now I have a solid base all backed up and ready to use. Now to see if I can split the backup onto my other drives as I tried before. Short answer: no, that failed.

    As my P: and U: drives were on a GPT partitioned disk, I thought maybe mixing MBR and GPT drives might cause some of these problems, plus I could eliminate the HDD those volumes were on by using the new 1TB drive for them instead, leaving C: on the SDD. So I booted GParted and removed all of partitions from the new 1TB drive and recreated 2 new partitions for the P: and U: drives, which I restored from the backup I made last night.

    Now the C: partition on the SDD was identical (I had Macrium verify the restore) to what was known to work on the 1TB hdd, and the 1TB HDD contained only the 2 volumes for drives P: and U: If this works it means my 680GB GPT drive is failing, or that Windows doesn't like a system that mixes MFT and GPT drives, which I am not inclined to believe.

    Drum roll...


    Same symptoms as before, solid drive light, sporadic responsiveness. This is getting pretty rediculous.

    Since this SSD drive is over 3 years old now I thought it might be on it's last legs, so I downloaded SSDLife which reports the drive is in "Excellent" shape, EOL is 8 years away (not according to OCZ tho). I also downloaded OCZ's SSD tools for Vertex2 drives but it is not so obvious what conclusion to draw from that. It had no errors accessing the drive, but it doesn't exactly come right our and tell you what life remains in the drive's flash memory.

    If I wanted to ditch MBR altogether it seems Windows 7 must have an EFI BIOS. What a crock, can't boot from a GPT if the BIOS is MBR. That's Micro$oft for you.

    I bet there's info here on this forum how to boot Windows 7 off a GPT disk on MBR BIOS systems. I'll see if I can find it.

    Also, I just priced SSD drives on Amazon, and I found several 120GB drives in the $40 range. However, they have been on the market for 3 years now, so it's probably the same vintage technology of my Vertex2 drive. The Samsung 240GB drive at $89 seems to be the most popular, but my budget is a bit tight for that right now.
      My Computer


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