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New PC w/ SSD and HDD. Any way to put all programs/files on HDD only?


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#1 Kabigon

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:57 AM

Hey all. I need all your genius minds and help here. Bought a new Dell PC running Win10 w/ two drives: 128GB SSD + 1 TB HDD. After deleting the bloatware (which was surprisingly minimal), I have about 67GB of free space. This is minimal free space with just necessary drivers on C:\.

I tried installing a few basic programs but they all kept installing on C:\ drive. Even the ones that allowed me to "choose installation folder" on my 2nd drive, there took up some residual space on C:\ via User cache, App settings, etc.

My plan for using this computer was mostly light office and image editing. I don't need to install that many programs overall, but it is just frustrating that a lot of main programs such as Chrome, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, etc. have to be installed by C:\ by default since it doesn't specify where you can install them, and thus that takes up space quickly. I was hoping to find solution that would involve me using the SSD space for boot up only and having everything else (including the Users/AppData/Program Files folders) on the HDD. 

After doing my research, I realize I have only a few ways to solve this problem:

1) Continue doing what I am doing now, which is doing my best to install as few as possible programs on C:\ and reserve HDD for media/data/games/other programs that actually LET you CHOOSE and STORE content on that drive. Simply changing the "Storage" settings in Win10 to the new HD doesn't actually change anything because programs still want to dump and install in the C:\ regardless.

2) Use applications that act as Junction or Symbolic Link creators to divert installation and/or cache folders/files to my 2nd HD. This is actually problematic for me due to the sheer amount of programs I eventually would like to install but simply can't "Create a one-touch link of all Program Files" to the new HD. This method is also very confusing and tedious.

3) Perhaps re-installing Win10 with a clean installation without the Dell pre-configured stuff (which is not an issue since I do not have anything installed at this point), and maybe figure out a way to partition the SDD just for booting and minor storage purposes and then using the 2nd HD with the User/Program Files, so every single program will be installed there? Or something like that. Not sure how this would work or what I would need to do to even make this possible. I don't mind if this was a possible option my PC has nothing on it and installing wouldn't take too long. Just not sure how to make this work.

Or if there's any other ideas or recommendations on how to achieve this with ease? Thanks.



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#2 Platypus

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 05:58 AM

I don't want to seem harsh, but I don't understand why anyone would have an SSD then use the huge speed boost it gives for nothing but the brief time of Windows booting. The biggest continuous advantage from an SSD is the much faster loading times for programs and the data they use, and quick saves for what you're currently working on throughout the whole work session. To lose that seems to be almost completely defeating the purpose of having an SSD in the system.

Having only a 128GB SSD installed looks to be a fairly typical Dell under-specification, and that's made things a bit difficult for you. I wouldn't put less than a 240GB SSD in a system in this day and age. I suspect doing a clean Windows installation might be the best way to go about it. How much RAM is in the system? If it's sufficient that there's little likelihood of overcommitting physical memory, then setting a small permanent swapfile can save some HDD space. Also if you're content to take advantage of the fast boot speed of the SSD, and forgo using hibernation, not having the hibernation file will save as much HDD space as there is RAM.
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#3 Kabigon

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 06:32 AM

I, too, would rather have a much larger SSD. But for what it's worth, I got a decent BF deal so no complaints there. I have 16 GB of RAM on this system. I was just hoping my SSD space wouldn't eat up so quickly but there are just some programs that appears to install on C:\ no matter what (Chrome, Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, etc.). It appears I cannot change the install location without "tricking" the computer via Junction/Symbolic Links. I might just have to use it as it is, or maybe I can adjust swap/page/cache files of some sort to save SSD space?



#4 Platypus

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 06:58 AM

With 16GB of RAM, you'll gain 16GB straight away if you're prepared to not have the facility to hibernate. I've never used hibernation since I've been using SSDs, and find it no problem with the boot up speed of SSD. Also with 16GB available, making the swapfile just a small emergency one, or moving it to the HDD on the basis that it should only rarely be used, is also able to claim back some space. There's also reducing the amount of space reserved for System Restore, or some people turn it off completely. That's probably best only done if you do your own restorable system backups periodically, e.g. storing an image of the SSD regularly after any major changes, or just prior to making a known major change.

But I do really think you'll be selling yourself short if you don't put at least your main commonly used applications so they also benefit from the speed of the SSD. Otherwise, why have it to do nothing more than gain those few seconds when you first boot up Windows?

Edited by Platypus, 08 December 2017 - 07:02 AM.

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#5 Kabigon

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 07:07 AM

I don't think I ever use hibernate but rather I let the computer go to "sleep."

 

How do you move the pagefile to the HDD to save SSD space? I'll also check out System Restore. I rarely use it anyways, plus I have backup cloud storage and I only store docs on HDD. If all else fails, I just re-install Windows. :)

 

I bought this PC because it was such a great deal that I didn't bother to think about the SSD space issue. I would have easily jumped on the deal if it was a 1 or 2 TB HDD as well, heh. I was thinking another option would be just to install Windows on the HDD and leave the SSD for Steam Games, heh.



#6 Platypus

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 08:09 AM

In the System section of Control Panel, go to Advanced system settings and Performance. On the Advanced tab select Change in the Virtual memory section. Un-tick Automatically manage paging file size for all drives, in the section showing your drives, choose No paging file for C:, click on D: and set Custom size to whatever size of swapfile you'd like to use. Set and OK.

You only need a full size swap file if you'd like to have a full memory dump created if there's a system crash.
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