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I've just finished building a desktop and would like to install Windows 7 to a SSD and then have the default storage (i.e. Program Files and User folders) on a separate HDD. I've searched for different ways to do this and the most often solution I've seen is modifying the registry entries for those locations to point to the HDD instead of the SSD, but I've also read that doing so after already installing the OS can lead to problems with Windows programs not knowing where they are located.

I've also downloaded RT Seven Lite and Oracle VM Virtualbox in the hopes of modifying my boot disc, but haven't had any luck so far.

So my question: is there a way for me to specify during installation of Windows that I want those directories (Program Files and User folders) to be on the HDD instead of the SSD while still installing the OS onto the SSD?

I apologize if this has been asked or answered elsewhere, my Google-fu has been less than helpful when searching this subject and I'm getting desperate.

Thank you in advance for any help!

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2 Answers 2

I strongly advice not to move the program files and users directory and then tweak the registry to alter it for the simple reason that many things will go wrong and its just not worth the trouble.

If both your SSD and HDD are formatted as NTFS, you can think about creating a directory junction from your SSD to your HDD. Basically, you still have a directory in your C:\, at least that's what windows is thinking, but it points to the HDD and all files are stored there.

In order to accomplish this, you'll need to boot into a mode that is not your windows, but gives you access to your harddrives with the driveletters assigned to them as normally. This can be accomplished if you'd boot using a BartPE cd or Hirens boot cd/dvd to get into a windows environment (or dos if you're skilled enough).

Once you are set to go, move all the files to the new location. Then open a command prompt with administrative privileges. Type the following:

c:
cd\
mklink /j "Program Files" "D:\Program Files"

Although you can basically do this for any file or folder, please be aware that if you do this with the c:\windows\winsxs directory, windows updates can no longer be installed until you move it back. If windows updates can't be installed after moving the program files folder, it might be due to the common files section inside it.

I have not moved my program files folder because I always install my programs by pressing custom install, then specify a new location.

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+1. Also, i would recommend only moving users folder if it's really needed. I have configured my windows installations to use D:\users as users data folder but kept everything else in its native place. You can just install all programs to your HDD as @lpchip suggested. –  Haplo Nov 2 '14 at 19:21

Windows 7 Install Optimization for SSD & HDD

I used this on some of my client builds when I was installing SSD/HDD combos. Its worked pretty well for me. Give it a shot.

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Link-only answers are a no-no, please include pertinent information directly in your answer(s). Cite the site as a source. –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 11 '14 at 17:37

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