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I'm looking at separating a fresh Windows 7 install such that I can have the OS in the main partition but everything else would be in another partition. How can I reliably make my Windows 7 install use the other partitions for whenever something is installed?

The basic layout would look something like this:

  • -main partition(C:), will contain Windows 7 OS and swap paging file this partition will contain enough space to hold this but not much more
  • -secondary partitions(D:, E:, F: etc), will hold everything non-OS critical. This includes all program files, docs and settings and everything else that has
    nothing to do with the OS itself.

So if my OS gets hosed, ideally I can just perform an image restore on the primary and that's it. One of the main problems is that when a new program is installed, Windows has a habit of putting program dependencies into folders in its own partition. So one of the problems that need to be solve is to point Windows to use the other partitions and force it not to use the primary.

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You should leave some (a bunch) of slack space on C: to account for things like Service Pack & monthly updates.

My C: (OS drive, & actually is E: ) is 18 GB with 6 GB free. At the moment, that is more then sufficient. (I'm running W7 x86 don't know if x64 consumes more space?) When SP1 comes out, I could end up tight? (By default all the old & the new updates are all retained.)

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thanks, will try the stuff out at that link. Yeah, I'll definitely allocate some 'slack space' for my OS partition. I just don't want the stupid OS to stuff everything into its own partition like a pancreas. ie. this is especially an issue if say you installed it on an SSD. You certainly don't want win7 doing this due to limited space. I'll wait a bit more to see if anyone else has more to pitch in. If not I'll check yours as the accepted answer. – greatwolf Dec 13 '10 at 5:08
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ok, after some digging around I found a solution that more-or-less satisfies what I'm trying to do. The following three links provided the info step-by-step for the actions to perform:

I haven't fully tested all the aspects like trying windows update but it seems to working well for me so far.

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