Best method to put user data on hard drive instead of SSD

gkendall

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Mar 20, 2012
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I'm doing a clean Win7 install on an new system and want the OS on my SSD and all user data on my hard drive. I've been reading the stickies and googling until my head is about to explode.

I tried one method involving editing the registry to change all references to Users from the SSD to the HD. It kind of worked but I'm getting some error messages saying it can't find certain files, so I suspect something didn't go right. I really want this install to be perfect, so I'm considering re-installing to get rid of these errors.

So what is the best and least error prone way to install Windows 7 and put the Users and maybe other data directories on the HD?

Thanks.
 
Create your account, and create some nice directories on the D drive(assuming that your HDD is the D drive). Mine are named /documents/peter/myDocuments, /documents/peter/myPictures, and so forth.

Logged in as you, right-click on My Documents, select Properties, and move it to the pre-created directory on the D drive. Same with My Pictures, My Music, My Recipes, and the gazillion other My Stuff directories. If there are already files, it will offer to move them.

You should back up your OS before trying this, in case something breaks. If it works, back up your OS after, so that if you have to restore you will still have this configuration.

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Some applications create their own directories for files, and you may have to reconfigure these individually.
 

gkendall

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FYI, this is the method I followed the first time. When I log in to any user account it complains about random files being mssing. I'm just wondering if I'll have trouble in the future if I leave it like this.

This is what I followed:
http://www.overclock.net/t/664738/how-to-setup-ssd-boot-drive-with-secondary-hard-disc-optimization

Thanks.
 
No idea. What "random files," and what says that they are missing?

I would not follow that guide. Some of the files in the Documents directory tree are actually part of the OS. They may have been put there when the account was created, and are now immediately missing when you repoint that directory entry.
 

gkendall

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Thanks for the reply. This method does seem like one of the easiest and least likely to have problems, but has the downside that you have to individually move all those folders for each user. With 5 people in my family using this computer, that's a lot of moving. Plus I don't believe this method will move program data off the SSD, just the specific user data directories you mentioned.

This is a brand new install on a new PC I built, so I don't mind re-installing again if it would prevent problems in the future. Since I can easily reinstall Windows, I'm now considering trying this method:

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/124198-user-profiles-create-move-during-windows-7-installation.html

Thoughts?


 

djscribbles

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This is my preferred method:

http://lifehacker.com/5467758/move-the-users-directory-in-windows-7

It uses file system junctions instead of any registry hacks. To the entire PC, your Users directory appears to be on the C drive, but all of the data is physically on a different drive. I also do this with the ProgramData folder. This method doesn't require you to reformat, and will work with dumb applications that assume your Users directory is at C:\Users.

Alternatively, if you use the 7forums audit mode method at install time, you can still create the C:\Users junction point to reroute dumb applications writing to C:\Users.

Good luck :)
 

gkendall

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OK, so last night I tried this audit method:

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/124198-user-profiles-create-move-during-windows-7-installation.html

On my first attempt I tried to have the script relocate both the users directory and the ProgramData directory. It seemed to work until I tried to install my first program, AVG anti-virus, and it wouldn't install because no matter where I tried to install it it errored out saying it couldn't install there. I looked at the help for that error and it seemed to be related to not being able to find the ProgramData folder.

So, I decided to reinstall Windows again and this time I only moved the Users directory to D: and left the ProgramData on C: (the SSD). This seems to have worked perfectly. I've installed tons of programs and everything seems to be working fine this way. I'll probably benefit from the ProgramData being on the SSD since it will be way faster, I just hope it doesn't grow too big.

This is my first SSD, and I can't believe how fast Windows installs to an SSD. I had no problem reinstalling 3 times to get this right because it was so fast.