[SOLVED] Wanna change my default storage to my HDD

Nov 10, 2018
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So, I've recently bought a SSD and a HDD to upgrade my current ones, because a lot of people told me that the SSD is so great and all. And I do think their speed is impressive and I would love to exploit that from it... But there's a problem; when I installed W10 I did it on the SSD, as everyone would. But because of that the default drive to install desktop apps is my SSD, and that SSD is incredibly small (120gb) for the purpose I am intending to use it (fill it up with games). I know many people already asked this question, but I did not find any solid response. Here's what I want, and what I'm willing to "pay" for it;

I want:
- To have my HDD be my primary device to install everything I want there.
- To reserve my SSD to very specific programs I intend to use that do benefit from it.

I am willing to do for it:
- I do not care if I have to reinstall W10 again in the process (would prefer not to).
And consequently don't care about
- Erasing all my data.
- Having to uninstall every single program.
- Having possible errors that might come at the cost of reinstalling W10.

So... I read a lot of bad things about regedit editing (and tested it for myself (it didn't work)), that it breaks all your shortcuts and doesn't let you open programs normally (which may require to reinstall W10). I really do not care to do this if it does work and makes my default drive my HDD, and I am still able to install the few programs that I do want in my SSD. But as of now, it doesn't seem to work for me, it still installs things to my SSD for some reason.
I do not care if I do have to do every single install manually, but I don't know if I'm stupid or what, but for a lot of programs it seems that they don't let you choose the drive you want your things installed to... If this is really easy and I can get most of my programs in my HDD I would be really happy (at least 85-90% of the programs). And lastly, if there is some sort of installer program thingy (?) that does let you choose where to install your programs, I also would not mind to use it.

Sorry if this question was dumb and obvious for most of you, but I'm really stupid...
Also sorry if my english is sloppy, as it isn't my main language, but I try my best...
 

audiospecaccts

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Oct 13, 2018
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Well I answer this. Since this was one of the areas I wanted changed 16 years ago when I was an Alpha tester. I'm going to give you some background on this before I perceived. The system is a pascal/xml system. So, there is a library of "system calls" programmers question the XML environmental array. These are where programs, the share resources and key system folder paths, startup options, and other background. This is the $Chicago$ system calls. Now they pieced together the $Longhorn$ calls (x64) into this but instead of using the old xml system they put it into the dynamic hive of the registry.

So when you "move" the install calls, the installed programs still use this calls so due to this limitation (sigh) the only way is to prune the system which is a two parts. The Issue is that the %SAM_WIN_FILE_PROTECT% prevents certain files to be copied with the os (shadow copying could, be deployed but it must be executed a certain way to bypass the WFP). The way we manipulated the os files was to use a linux live cd, and alter the files. There is a routine they put into it (thanks to me) that will move preinstalled Items. So there is going to be a muti-part process i'll walk you through this.

1. DO A SYSTEM BACKUP: I do both the real file backup as well as a metatdata backup.
A. Physical backup:
press the "windows menu key + x" to bring up the power menu. Select "WindowsPowerShell(Admin) This will bring up a command prompt in a blue screen. Type: control and press enter. This will bring up the control panel. On the upper right select "large icons" if your control panel is in a different view.
Then click "File History", which is usually on the third row of Icons. Then at the bottom left corner of the window, click the "System Image Backup" This will give you the dialog to save the entire installation on an external hard drive, a network share, or burn them off on DVDs for total system backup. I always recommend that users do this so that they have a steady state backup so if they need to roll back the computer they can do that to the exact point. This is basically the same disk set that OEMs used to pack with their computers so customers could wipe the drive and install back to day zero. once you get done with that, then after you're done with that window, click the "create system repair disk" to complete this backup set, as well as be able to make a system restore (if needed)
B. Metadata backup: This is the metadata backup of existing environmental call settings, registry, and and other hive data associated with settings.
At the top, in the navagation bar, click the up arrow to return to the control panel, then click on the "system" icon then on the left, click "system protection" turn on your system restore (if its not on) then press the create button to make a metadata backup known as a "system restore point".

Once we cover ourselves, we can manipulate to our hears desires, because if you make a mistake, it can be recovered.
close out the control panel, and the powershell DOS prompt.


I think it was very tacky to them to leave (windows 7) in the drive utility title because of the past heated discussions about removing system access from the user. But oh well, no body (but me) would get it. They made some programmers not so happy back then and it does show, doesn't it?

Anyways, back on topic: So now were ready to move stuff to our newly formatted drive.

2. Change where $LONGHORN$ AWARE APPS Save
A. Go to SETTINGS (the gear icon in the start menu) then select the "System" icon (usually the first icon) then select the "storage" icon in the left pane.
B. Then, at the bottom of the window, click the "change where new content is saved"
C. change your entries you want things saved to the 500gb drive.
D. Now if they kept the code the way it was programmed, the %environmental% array should have been altered here, and will force you to reboot. If this did not happen (sigh) please reboot your system. If you have to reboot manually, please open up a command prompt by typing cmd in cortana/windows search and select command prompt. and type: set - and press enter. This is the %environmental% array for $Chicago% calls. Please list this if program files, both 64 bit and is 32 bit folders (x86) point to your 500gb drive letter. If not let me know....
D. Existing apps installed move: Next is Settings-> Apps then the programs that are not tied to the "optional programs database", will have an active "MOVE" button in the tile box to the left of the "uninstall" button when you click on an installed app. The ones you have a "move" button, but not active (greyed out) you would uninstall them and install them back from the optional programs because the "optional programs database" entry would have to be updated.

The above is the "safe" way to do it. I could show you how to do the environmental change and manually move the installed files but the database would not get updated, and so a move of most programs could be accomplished, (but a little bit messy, file organization wise). You would use a linux live cd of your choice ( I use Ubuntu) cand copy this. I nor Microsoft would not recommend going this route, but it would get it done.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Do not force this via a registry edit.

The C drive is the default location, as it should be.
All you have to do is change that when you install something. Don't just accept the default, but instead, select Custom or Advanced, and you tell it where to install.
The majority of applications allows this.

Read through here:
Win 7 & 8: http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-1834397/ssd-redirecting-static-files.html
Win 8.1 & 10: http://www.tomshardware.com/faq/id-2024314/windows-redirecting-folders-drives.html


For Steam games, here:
Steam games location
In the steam client:
Steam
Settings
Downloads
Steam Library Folders
Add library folder


To move an already installed game
Games library
Right click the game
Properties
Local Files
Move Install Folder
 
Nov 10, 2018
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That's a nice way to solve the problem for simpler folders, but just as an example, I want Spotify to install in my HDD and not in my SSD, Spotify doesn't seem to have a installation wizard at all, it just does whatever it wants to. Is there a way I can make it go into my HDD or I just have to install the apps that don't have a choice into my SSD everytime? And what do I do if I fill up my SSD and want to install another program with the same problem that Spotify has, even though I have the space in my HDD I will not be able to install it? Or then does it let you install it in your other drive?
Sorry for so many questions, but I am worried something might happen in the future that I can prevent now that I don't care too much about my data...
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Some few applications don't give that option.
Just let it install to the OS drive.
Things like that are generally tiny, and don't really affect used space.

And really, you do want most applications on the SSD, for the speed. That's why you have it.

Bottom line, though...this is why I've been trying to wean people off the smaller SSD's. 120GB is right on the edge of TooSmall.
 

audiospecaccts

Upstanding
Oct 13, 2018
149
0
210
14
Well I answer this. Since this was one of the areas I wanted changed 16 years ago when I was an Alpha tester. I'm going to give you some background on this before I perceived. The system is a pascal/xml system. So, there is a library of "system calls" programmers question the XML environmental array. These are where programs, the share resources and key system folder paths, startup options, and other background. This is the $Chicago$ system calls. Now they pieced together the $Longhorn$ calls (x64) into this but instead of using the old xml system they put it into the dynamic hive of the registry.

So when you "move" the install calls, the installed programs still use this calls so due to this limitation (sigh) the only way is to prune the system which is a two parts. The Issue is that the %SAM_WIN_FILE_PROTECT% prevents certain files to be copied with the os (shadow copying could, be deployed but it must be executed a certain way to bypass the WFP). The way we manipulated the os files was to use a linux live cd, and alter the files. There is a routine they put into it (thanks to me) that will move preinstalled Items. So there is going to be a muti-part process i'll walk you through this.

1. DO A SYSTEM BACKUP: I do both the real file backup as well as a metatdata backup.
A. Physical backup:
press the "windows menu key + x" to bring up the power menu. Select "WindowsPowerShell(Admin) This will bring up a command prompt in a blue screen. Type: control and press enter. This will bring up the control panel. On the upper right select "large icons" if your control panel is in a different view.
Then click "File History", which is usually on the third row of Icons. Then at the bottom left corner of the window, click the "System Image Backup" This will give you the dialog to save the entire installation on an external hard drive, a network share, or burn them off on DVDs for total system backup. I always recommend that users do this so that they have a steady state backup so if they need to roll back the computer they can do that to the exact point. This is basically the same disk set that OEMs used to pack with their computers so customers could wipe the drive and install back to day zero. once you get done with that, then after you're done with that window, click the "create system repair disk" to complete this backup set, as well as be able to make a system restore (if needed)
B. Metadata backup: This is the metadata backup of existing environmental call settings, registry, and and other hive data associated with settings.
At the top, in the navagation bar, click the up arrow to return to the control panel, then click on the "system" icon then on the left, click "system protection" turn on your system restore (if its not on) then press the create button to make a metadata backup known as a "system restore point".

Once we cover ourselves, we can manipulate to our hears desires, because if you make a mistake, it can be recovered.
close out the control panel, and the powershell DOS prompt.


I think it was very tacky to them to leave (windows 7) in the drive utility title because of the past heated discussions about removing system access from the user. But oh well, no body (but me) would get it. They made some programmers not so happy back then and it does show, doesn't it?

Anyways, back on topic: So now were ready to move stuff to our newly formatted drive.

2. Change where $LONGHORN$ AWARE APPS Save
A. Go to SETTINGS (the gear icon in the start menu) then select the "System" icon (usually the first icon) then select the "storage" icon in the left pane.
B. Then, at the bottom of the window, click the "change where new content is saved"
C. change your entries you want things saved to the 500gb drive.
D. Now if they kept the code the way it was programmed, the %environmental% array should have been altered here, and will force you to reboot. If this did not happen (sigh) please reboot your system. If you have to reboot manually, please open up a command prompt by typing cmd in cortana/windows search and select command prompt. and type: set - and press enter. This is the %environmental% array for $Chicago% calls. Please list this if program files, both 64 bit and is 32 bit folders (x86) point to your 500gb drive letter. If not let me know....
D. Existing apps installed move: Next is Settings-> Apps then the programs that are not tied to the "optional programs database", will have an active "MOVE" button in the tile box to the left of the "uninstall" button when you click on an installed app. The ones you have a "move" button, but not active (greyed out) you would uninstall them and install them back from the optional programs because the "optional programs database" entry would have to be updated.

The above is the "safe" way to do it. I could show you how to do the environmental change and manually move the installed files but the database would not get updated, and so a move of most programs could be accomplished, (but a little bit messy, file organization wise). You would use a linux live cd of your choice ( I use Ubuntu) cand copy this. I nor Microsoft would not recommend going this route, but it would get it done.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Or, the easy, supported, and known functional way of simply choosing where to install something when you install it.
Sure, some things will install to only the basic OS drive. Either live with it, or use something else.

Trying to force the environment variables to always point to a different drive screws up in multiple ways.
1. Some things you DO want on the SSD.
2. Wait until the next OS update, and bring a kleenex for the tears.

Drive space is cheap. Even among SSD's. Applications, apart from games, are generally pretty small.
There is little reason to try to force 'everything' to install elsewhere. And many good reasons not to.
 

audiospecaccts

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Oct 13, 2018
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Since the move from a flat text file to database entries for system envars in the longhorn project, you should update it and then the 32bit "glue" for the envars will fallow. When you update the database entries, the updates will fallow the new settings. You should make sure system restore is on so it will backup this datatbase when updating. I hate it that they changed it because the original had all of these backup stuff under one icon, and the program stuff under programs and features. But knowing them, they just changed the front end, and be sloppy, and not recompile this module and then fix anything that might be incorrect with their changes on the next update.

120gb is not small btw, most people don't fill it on regular stuff. Games is a little different story as well as downloads, pictures, and music. That is where organizing them on a different drive would be an advantage. Since the consumer norm is SATA ssd instead of SAS, about 1/2 way into a 500gb ssd the speed would drop. In worse cases, about 50%.

another issue is the swap is still a file that can get fragmented. Separating it into a partition will keep it not fragmented and in most cases will cause a speed increase of 20% over a non managed swap file.
 

USAFRet

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My wife's system is a single 250GB SSD.
Win 10, email, facebook, Solitaire. That's it. No movies, music, minimal pics.
Currently, about 85GB consumed space. Which is right on the edge of usable space with a 120GB drive.

If you don't use the system a whole lot, or are rabid about conserving drive space...sure, a 120GB can work.
Today's prices though, make that a bad choice. The current price difference between a 120GB and a good 250GB is a single pizza delivery.
 

audiospecaccts

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Oct 13, 2018
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wow 85GB is a lot, scary alot. Because with the normal install compliments, it should be around 40-50gb.
I would recommend examining this drive outside the OS with a linux boot disk.
that is an indicator that you have a lot of trash files from update, installs, and possibly a rootkit.
The rootkit would be the worse scenario. In this case, it would have came in on facebook because that's the only deep web site you mentioned. In that case, the hackers installed and hosting "whatever" on that machine. The up network traffic would be quite extreme on the system at idle.


 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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No, no malicious traffic, either up or down.
I expect that a lot of temp files, probably the Windows.old from the recent semi-annual update, maybe even a couple of unneeded restore points.
But that is typical use from a random user.

Every single day, we see people in here wondering how to reclaim space for their little 120GB drive. Every day.
85GB used on a 120GB is pushing the limits.
100GB used on a 250GB drive is plenty breathing room.

My little Asus Transformer has a 32GB eMMC drive, and a mostly empty 64GB SD card.
It survives on that eMMC, simply because it is mostly just a web browser box. Any actual use would kill that little drive completely.
 

audiospecaccts

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It always been 2 times the ram left is pushing it because of the swap file. If you build a system with more than 8gb of ram, the swap should have its own drive. Mainly because it creates a blank file about 2 times the ram. Seek performance would dictate the overall performance if all of it is on one drive, and the swap file created gets that big.
 

audiospecaccts

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Oct 13, 2018
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I have been thinking about compiling a new version, or making a pruning program because they really messed it up. But I know the minute I do, the dark blue suit people will visit me in a not so good way.
 

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