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leo8877
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« on: January 24, 2012, 05:04:48 AM »

Hey gang, I'm semi-building a new computer and I wanted to run some things by everyone.  I'm replacing my CPU, RAM, MOBO, and throwing in a 128GB SSD to handle the OS (Windows 7 Home Pro) and the main games I play.  I want to slave my current hard drive and use it as storage for photos/music/etc.  I plan on doing a fresh install of W7 on the SSD, as well as those games I play the most.    I've never had two HDs going in one system before, so I am not clear on how this will work.

My questions are:

1) will it be as simple as setting the jumper on the drive to slave and after I install the OS on the SSD it will reassign a drive letter to the old drive and it's C:\ designation?  

2) Do I need to (not sure if you even can) assign the install on the SSD to a different letter than C:\ since the old drive is already installed to that?  

3) Additionally, if I want some programs, like MS Office, to continue to run off of the old HD, will they run even if the drive letter is changed?  

4) Can Steam install to 2 different drives?  Like some games to C:\, some to D:\, etc?

Thanks in advance.  
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 10:37:42 AM »

Quote from: leo8877 on January 24, 2012, 05:04:48 AM

Hey gang, I'm semi-building a new computer and I wanted to run some things by everyone.  I'm replacing my CPU, RAM, MOBO, and throwing in a 128GB SSD to handle the OS (Windows 7 Home Pro) and the main games I play.  I want to slave my current hard drive and use it as storage for photos/music/etc.  I plan on doing a fresh install of W7 on the SSD, as well as those games I play the most.    I've never had two HDs going in one system before, so I am not clear on how this will work.

My questions are:

1) will it be as simple as setting the jumper on the drive to slave and after I install the OS on the SSD it will reassign a drive letter to the old drive and it's C:\ designation?  

Even easier. There are no jumpers on SATA drives (excluding a 'SATA 3/6' jumper on some drives) smile And there is no 'Master/Slave' anymore. All you need to do is plug the SSD in a lower numbered SATA port.

Quote
2) Do I need to (not sure if you even can) assign the install on the SSD to a different letter than C:\ since the old drive is already installed to that?  

No, similar to above. If you put the SSD on SATA port 1 and your current HD on SATA port 2, the SSD will become the boot drive and drive C:\. If you reverse the cables and reboot, the HD will become the boot drive and drive C:\. Windows dynamically assigns drive letters and C:\ is always the boot drive (though, you can reassign drive letters at any time).

Quote
3) Additionally, if I want some programs, like MS Office, to continue to run off of the old HD, will they run even if the drive letter is changed?  

Some might, some will require a reinstall because the registry entries won't be there. Some programs are better than others about this. You can, when you're reinstalling everything, install to the old drive if you want. Some will handle this more gracefully than others. Windows REALLY wants you to install to the Program Files directory and gives this directory extra protections that your program files on a different drive won't have.

Quote
4) Can Steam install to 2 different drives?  Like some games to C:\, some to D:\, etc?

No. Steam has one directory that all of your currently installed games can be installed in. I think there is a program that will let you do it, but it's definitely a 'you're putting your Steam account at risk' type thing. If your plan is to have the games you're currently playing on the SSD and the rest on your data drive, you can use Steam's backup feature to do this. Just backup each game SEPARATELY, it's not documented (or even prevented) but multiple games in a single backup causes Steam to download a lot of data when restoring. You can also do a hard link to put all of your games on a separate drive, but this defeats the purpose of your SSD.
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leo8877
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 03:39:59 PM »

Thank you, Calavera!  Super helpful info!!
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 05:13:56 PM »

Couple of things:

1) It doesn`t matter which drive is plugged in where - Windows will take your system (boot) drive as C:. If you plug in the drives backwards, simply changing the `boot`hard drive order in the BIOS will correct it.

Secondly, if you want your program files folder off on your non-SSD drive, I recommend you read an article. I don`t have it here at work, and I can`t find it easily enough right now, but let me outline the basic steps:

1) Install a fresh copy of Windows 7 to your SSD.
2) Boot into windows and partition and format your second drive.
3) Boot your PC from the Win7 disk, and go into recovery mode, and go to a command prompt.
  (you need to do this from this mode since otherwise the files under c:\users are invariably in use)
4) You create the following folders:
D:\Users
D:\Program Files
D:\Program Files (x86)
5)you move your c:\Users to D:\Users
6)using MKLINK, you create a hard link from C:\Users to D:\Users.
(Users folder is the biggest draw on disk space - all of your docs etc sit there).
7) make a link from C:\program files\_slower_\ to D:\Program Files\ , and repeat with the x86 one

I also have a `fast games`folder on my ssd, and take installed games from D and move them there and create links. This can be done from an admin-started-cmd-prompt rather than the recovery disk though. I also had to be really stingy about my space since I only have a 60GB SSD.

I`ll give you the exact commands when I get home. PM me if I`ve forgotten - I`ve had 3 hours sleep since 2:30am yesterday.
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 05:16:53 PM »

Note that the MKLINK with J switch will mean Windows will not need to change any `default`settings, no registry keys need to be changed, etc. It will see c:\users, program files, etc but actually read and write from the D: drive instead.

I didn`t move my program files folders - instead I gave myself the choice. Anything I don`t want on the ssd (such as steam which gets pretty damned big) I add \_slower_\ after the program files path to redirect to my 1GB D drive.
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leo8877
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 05:32:18 PM »

Yikes I was hoping to not have to format my old drive, I just wanted it to be the non boot drive now.  Will that not be possible?
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 06:00:27 PM »

This question is of great interest to me. I am thinking about building a new machine (if I do, it will be my first build) my current PC has a second hard drive that is not in use at the moment, so I could do something similar.
MMOs are getting huge to the point where putting them on a secondary drive would be a necessity (I don't think it will be long before one tops the 50GB mark if they haven't already).

I definitely would want to get an SSD (thinking maybe a Crucial M4 128) but having a couple of these games on there would eat up half the disc or more.
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 06:15:11 PM »

I don't know if something's changed in recent times, but I know a bunch of times in the past I've taken former boot drives and plugged them in as secondaries without any reformatting. 
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 06:36:56 PM »

You don't *need* to format it, but you should at least reset permissions on it. (taking ownership should suffice - there may be some old system folders that you will have problems with).

Keep in mind that all installed programs aren't just files, but referential links in the registry, so unless you're doing an in-place upgrade, it's not going to work well.
I'd personally borrow / buy an external drive and copy my important files and reformat. That being said, it isn't required. I don't even like importing my old user profile, but you *can* export it from your current windows environment and import it into W7.

Do you want your "Users" folder on the SSD? There are pros and cons, mostly being faster to access files on your profile vs. the amount of space you use.
I've got the instructions now if you wanted to offload the stuff to your non-SSD, and I'll customize it for you. You could also just move parts off so you don't NEED to move the root C:\Users off to the D: drive.

Tell me what you've got, how you want it, and I'll put together a quick implementation guide. If you have questions, I'll gladly answer them if I can. AtomicKid will likely chime in as well - he seems to build more systems than I do (I used to build them a long time ago, and fairly frequently).
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 06:40:31 PM by Purge » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 06:38:15 PM »

yes you don't need to reformat.

I just installed a SSD two weeks ago. 

What I did was....

I unplugged my harddrive that had the os on it.  Plugged in the SSD drive, and installed windows on that.  Once that was completed I replugged my old operating system hard drive, and that became a secondary drive with the old OS on it.  I got rid of files I didn't need. 

I had to reinstall programs since the registry changed.  For steam there's a tool called Steam Tools.  You can use that to select which games you want on your SSD drive, and the ones you don't want you can move the games to your data drive, and the program will copy everything you need to run the game.  With the SSD's capacity being expensive this was a lifesaver.
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2012, 06:54:06 PM »

You can also do a couple of quick commands yourself and Steam will be none the wiser. Thing is, this method works for all kinds of uses (including segmenting a library of files where some of them are just too damned big) slywink

Here's my config:

Drive 0 - SSD 60GB
Drive 1 - HDD 1TB (Seagate 7200.12 IIRC)
Drive 2 - HDD 1TB (Seagate 7200.12 IIRC)
Drive 3 - HDD 1TB (Seagate 7200.12 IIRC)
Drive 4 - HDD 1TB (WD Black IIRC)
Drive 5 - DVD burner
Drive 6 - Lightscribe DVD burner

I also have a couple external USB3.0 drives too (WD MyBook 2TB, WD Passport 750GB)

My C: is 40GB of the SSD
My D: is 1TB Seagate
My E: is the remaining 18GB of the SSD

C:\Users is a redirect to D:\Users
C:\Program Files\_slower_\ goes to D:\Program Files\
C:\Program Files (x86)\_slower_\ goes to D:\Program Files (x86)\
C:\Program Files (x86)\_slower_\steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\ is a redirect to E:\faster games\skyrim

I also have the nexus software and mods on E:\

Otherwise, nada.

If I want to move a game there, I use the command line to move and link the content.

eg:

to copy-
robocopy /copyall /mir /xj <source> <destination>

remove old folder:
rmdir /s /q <source>

link to fool windows/ steam/ apps without having to touch regedit:

mklink /J <link location/original source> <target>
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leo8877
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 07:38:28 PM »

Quote from: Purge on January 24, 2012, 06:36:56 PM

You don't *need* to format it, but you should at least reset permissions on it. (taking ownership should suffice - there may be some old system folders that you will have problems with).

Keep in mind that all installed programs aren't just files, but referential links in the registry, so unless you're doing an in-place upgrade, it's not going to work well.
I'd personally borrow / buy an external drive and copy my important files and reformat. That being said, it isn't required. I don't even like importing my old user profile, but you *can* export it from your current windows environment and import it into W7.

Do you want your "Users" folder on the SSD? There are pros and cons, mostly being faster to access files on your profile vs. the amount of space you use.
I've got the instructions now if you wanted to offload the stuff to your non-SSD, and I'll customize it for you. You could also just move parts off so you don't NEED to move the root C:\Users off to the D: drive.

Tell me what you've got, how you want it, and I'll put together a quick implementation guide. If you have questions, I'll gladly answer them if I can. AtomicKid will likely chime in as well - he seems to build more systems than I do (I used to build them a long time ago, and fairly frequently).


Re: users, I didn't really think about that.  I want to only run the base OS and some blizzard games off of the SSD, everything else I am ok with using on the old HD. 
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2012, 07:56:19 PM »

btw, the SSD for the boot drive is going to spoil you.  don't say you weren't warned when booting a computer with a regular HD for the boot drive seems to take an eternity  icon_twisted
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leo8877
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2012, 07:57:22 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on January 24, 2012, 07:56:19 PM

btw, the SSD for the boot drive is going to spoil you.  don't say you weren't warned when booting a computer with a regular HD for the boot drive seems to take an eternity  icon_twisted

Dude I know, I have a current gen MacBook air and because it's so ridiculous I had to put one in my PC as well.
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2012, 08:08:41 PM »

Quote from: Purge on January 24, 2012, 05:13:56 PM

Couple of things:

1) It doesn`t matter which drive is plugged in where - Windows will take your system (boot) drive as C:. If you plug in the drives backwards, simply changing the `boot`hard drive order in the BIOS will correct it.

True, it doesn't matter, but the default boot priority is the SATA port number. So, just plug them in the correct order and you don't have to change a setting in the BIOS. slywink

Quote from: leo8877 on January 24, 2012, 05:32:18 PM

Yikes I was hoping to not have to format my old drive, I just wanted it to be the non boot drive now.  Will that not be possible?

Totally possible. As a matter of fact, Windows 7 is a honey badger, you might get a UAC dialog to access a protected directory, but otherwise it doesn't care. Unlike Windows XP, it handles ownership like a champ.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 08:20:43 PM by Calavera » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2012, 08:44:19 PM »

Quote from: Calavera on January 24, 2012, 08:08:41 PM

Windows 7 is a honey badger

So...it's like the Egg McMuffin of operating systems?
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leo8877
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2012, 04:29:03 PM »

Thanks everyone.  Installation was a breeze.  So far everything is working perfect.  The Egg McMuffin of installs.
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2012, 02:17:13 AM »

Leo, what was the final component list?
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leo8877
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 03:36:36 AM »

Quote from: Misguided on January 27, 2012, 02:17:13 AM

Leo, what was the final component list?

Well remember that I only updated some components, so for what I replaced or added, here it is:

Intel Core i5-2400 3.10 GHz 6 MB Cache Socket LGA1155 Processor
Corsair Vengeance Blu 8 GB (2X4 GB) PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9B
Gigabyte Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2133 LGA 1155 Motherboard GA-Z68A-D3H-B3
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128D/AM 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) Desktop Upgrade Kit

Everything else, I recycled from my current computer (Graphics, case, power, HDD *now backup*)
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