Most programs will only run from a drive they were installed on. Thus, if you take a drive from one computer and put it into another, it is very unlikely that any of the programs will run on the new computer without a lot of hassle. Even for seasoned veterans it is far easier just to install the programs on the new computer.
Moving to a new PC
If you want a relatively painless transition from one computer to another, I would recommend you do the following:
- On your old PC, make a note of all of the programs that are installed.
- Back up your old PC.
- Run the Windows Easy Transfer on the old PC to the large external drive you use for backing up your PC.
- Install Windows on your new PC.
- Install all drivers and Windows updates.
- Install all programs that were on your old PC on your new one.
- Run the Windows Easy Transfer on the new PC to restore files and settings from the external drive.
- Back up your new PC.
Note that if you are using programs like iTunes, you may need to do additional steps to transfer your music, DRM or other 'secure' data correctly.
Also note that I would highly recommend keeping your old computer as-is until you are sure everything has transferred across correctly. You don't want to find that you've lost access you all your DRM protected music because you can't 'release' the security on the old PC before you can 'enable' it on the new.
Ideal set-up for a system with a small SSD
There are two real options here, automatic caching or manual management.
You could install your operating system on your hard drive and then use the SSD to cache the hard drive. This solution should allow you to get the benefit of large amounts of storage, but with faster access to the most frequently used files and a minimum of management, but this isn't an option I would recommend.
The alternative is to manually manage your SSD usage.
The simplest option is to install the OS and only the most important applications on your SSD, installing less important programs on your hard drive along with your data.
You can keep large programs off your SSD by simply installing them on another drive. Most programs default to installing to the system boot drive, but you can almost always instruct the installer to install to another drive, though this usually requires you to select a Custom install rather than a Typical install.
Note that if you install a program to a removable drive and then remove it, your computer will will certainly not be able to run that program, and that could result in your computer stopping working.
You can keep large data files (such as video or music) off your SSD by not storing them in your home directory, but by storing them directly on the other drive. All of my music is stored in
D:\Music for instance rather than the default location of
C:\Users\Me\My Music. Most media software will allow you to access music/video files that are located anywhere on your computer, not just in
If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can move all of your user directory off of your SSD by using these instructions over at LifeHacker.
The LifeHacker article uses junction points to make this
When you get to be a real expert at using junctions, then you can start doing things like moving any directory you want to be accelerated from HD to SSD.
An easier way than using command line tools should be a utility like SSD Boost or Folder2Junction but I have no personal experience with either, yet.