Question After moving OS to SSD, can I use two partitions to install programs?

Matt-I

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Dec 15, 2015
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I currently have a 1TB HDD that is near full, and I am looking to do a clean install of Windows 10 onto my 500GB SSD (WD Blue SATA SSD), and have no issue reinstalling any programs.

I plan to use my 1TB HDD to store personal documents (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Videos folders etc) along with minor programs that I don't think would benefit from being on the SSD, as installing every program I use onto the SSD would quickly fill it up, and I have two questions.

1. If I do a clean reinstall using a Windows bootable drive to install Windows to the new SSD, do I need to disconnect the HDD and/or remove all data (including the original OS) from the original HDD?
If not, would I still be able to access the data such as Documents and Pictures on the HDD though the OS has booted from the bootable drive and installed onto the SSD?

2. Assuming I would still have access, I understand I would still need to completely reinstall programs onto the SSD that I specifically want there, but otherwise would previously installed software still start up from the HDD?

And does this mean that in the future, I could continue to specifically install programs onto the HDD or SSD as I see fit, simply by just changing the directory each time? Would the "ProgramData" folder required for programs be created automatically?

Many thanks in advance.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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  1. A clean install on the new drive NEEDS to be done with ONLY that drive connected.
  2. Yes, your applications will need to be reinstalled.
For your docs, etc....those really need to be copied elsewhere first. Off the current drive and its OS.
Copy the files, not the 'Documents Library". Just the files inside.


For a clean install, this:


For future application installs, you can install them wherever you desire.
Create a top level folder on the drive..."MyApps" or whatever.
During an application install, select Custom and navigate to that location.
 

Matt-I

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Dec 15, 2015
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  1. A clean install on the new drive NEEDS to be done with ONLY that drive connected.
  2. Yes, your applications will need to be reinstalled.
For your docs, etc....those really need to be copied elsewhere first. Off the current drive and its OS.
Copy the files, not the 'Documents Library". Just the files inside.


For a clean install, this:


For future application installs, you can install them wherever you desire.
Create a top level folder on the drive..."MyApps" or whatever.
During an application install, select Custom and navigate to that location.
Thanks! Still a little unsure on something. What would be stopping me from reconnecting the HDD to access the documents on there after the OS has been cleanly installed on the SSD? And would the programs still installed on the HDD be able to launch?
 
most software will give you the option to install wherever you wish
though some will always default to the OS drive's Program Files folders.
do I need to disconnect the HDD and/or remove all data
if you have two drives with boot manager and system partitions on them it will interfere with booting and can cause other issues if the OS even loads correctly.

as USAFRet stated; the easiest route is just to backup all of the data that you want to keep, delete all partitions and format the 1TB, and restore that data to the new OS after you've reinstalled.
Would the "ProgramData" folder required for programs be created automatically?
the ProgramData folder is a system directory.
it will be created on the OS drive upon installation and no matter where you choose to install any software, if it uses that ProgramData directory for anything, it will always use the default location.
 
What would be stopping me from reconnecting the HDD to access the documents on there after the OS has been cleanly installed on the SSD? And would the programs still installed on the HDD be able to launch?
nothing physically stopping you.
you can hot-plug the 1TB drive after the new OS install has loaded and copy the data.
but trying to startup the system with both drives connected can run you into problems and lead to OS corruption.

whether or not the software on the 1TB drive will launch after the new OS install has loaded depends on the application.
some need registry entries in place,
some need specific drivers in place,
it all depends on the specific application.
 

Matt-I

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Dec 15, 2015
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the ProgramData folder is a system directory.
it will be created on the OS drive upon installation and no matter where you choose to install any software, if it uses that ProgramData directory for anything, it will always use the default location.
Could this create issues if a program is installed on a different drive than where the ProgramData directory is situated?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Could this create issues if a program is installed on a different drive than where the ProgramData directory is situated?
No.

Applications do NOT have to be installed in the 'Program Files" folder, or on the same drive/partition where 'ProgramData' exisst.
Or anywhere specific.

You can install them wherever you desire, as long as you do it when you install. Not try to move it later.
 

USAFRet

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However....

Installing applications to drives other than the OS drive is not really a benefit.
Applications don't really consume a lot of space.
ANd in the case of an OS reinstall, you'll need to reinstall those anyway.
 

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