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We had our new computers at work pre-built, as none of us were computer experts.

We didn't notice this today, but Win7 came installed on the SSD - i.e. the SSD was C:\ drive. So, when we installed programs or ran programming scripts, everything was happing on the SSD!

I started to run out of memory today (120 GB SSD), and that's when I noticed that the SSD is acting as the main drive. Cringe!

We would only like to use the SSD as the drive to boot from. Nothing else.

Was the computer set up wrong from the very start, or is it we, as the users, who have to change use patterns and be consciously aware of where we are installing stuff? We do have on-site support, so we could call them, if it is something they were supposed to set up correctly.

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The second one. Very few software installers don't allow you to specify what drive you wish to install the software on. – Michael Frank May 17 '14 at 20:57
@MichaelFrank Thanks Michael, we'll attempt to change that then. What about things like where the default windows folders "Documents, Users, etc." are set up? Should those remain on the SSD? – user89 May 17 '14 at 21:01
@MichaelFrank Another thing is, what about where Temp files are set up for programs like internet browsers? – user89 May 17 '14 at 21:03
You can create junctions with mklink to a second drive to handle "Documents,pictures,downloads and etc" – cybernard May 17 '14 at 21:03
NO! Don't move the swap off the ssd. You want the speed. Don't create manual junctions to move documents,etc to the hdd. Relocate parts of the profiles using gpo:s. That is best practice. – Mattias Åslund May 17 '14 at 21:13

You usually want to boot from your ssd because it gets very fast. For the same reason you usually want to install your applications on the ssd; it becomes really fast to start word, excel, etc...

What you don't want is to put huge movies or large music libraries on the small ssd, since they have no use for the high io of the drive. It is pretty simple to relocate different parts of the user profiles, so ask your it-guys to do that and you, the users, can keep putting documents in the "My Documents" folder, not needing to know it is suddenly on d:.

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Thanks! The thing is, we are a small firm and have no IT guys at the moment. So we have to learn how to do this ourselves. I asked this before, and perhaps its too good to be true to actually exist, but is there a program I can run that will allow me to select what things I want to keep on the SSD, and what things I want to keep on the HDD, and then set it up that way? Perhaps it can handle all the mklink stuff? – user89 May 17 '14 at 21:11
In this technet article microsoft describes how to do folder – Mattias Åslund May 17 '14 at 21:18
We do not have servers set up. – user89 May 17 '14 at 21:19
I'd also like to add basically to keep all the windows stuff on the SSD. Thus in the event of failure, you do not necessarily involve your hopefully backed up and important data. – mdpc May 17 '14 at 23:04

You can change the default location of the Program Files folder in the Registry.

  • Hit Win + R and type in regedit.exe then hit Enter.

  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion and you will find two keys ProgramFilesDir and ProgramFilesDir (x86).
    You may also need to change the same values at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.

  • Double click on these and change the Value Data to the directory you want to install software to by default. e.g. D:\Programs, D:\Programs (x86).

  • Restart to have these change take effect.

NOTE: This will not move any software you currently have installed. If you wish to move software, I would recommend reinstalling in the location you think it should be in.

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What about other folders such as Documents and Settings, Temp files, etc.? Can I switch them in a similar manner? – user89 May 17 '14 at 21:07
An additional location to modify is here also. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion – cybernard May 17 '14 at 21:11
@cybernard Good catch, do you know the difference between the keys? – Michael Frank May 17 '14 at 21:12
I believe the second is for 32bit programs on 64bit OS. – cybernard May 17 '14 at 21:18

You can also make symbolic links to folders inside another drive, so you can redirect anything to a secondary hard drive without having to mess with the Windows Registry. Like this:

Supposing you want to install MyApplication under the D:\Apps directory instead of the C:\Program Files\, and suppose MyApplication installs by default under C:\Program Files\MyApplication.

  1. Create a new folder under D:\Apps (this is where you want to install the application - you can name it whatever you want).
  2. Start Menu → search cmd.exeRight clickRun as administrator.
  3. Navigate to the Program Files directory: cd "C:\Program Files\" (with quotes).
  4. Type mklink /D MyApplication D:\Apps\MyApplication (this is tricky: the first parameter after the /D option is the name of the new link, which must be named exactly as the folder where the app tries to install; the second parameter is the name of the folder where you want to install the app, the one you created on step 1).

Now you have created a symbolic link that is named as the driectory where the app tries to install, and it links to another folder under drive D:\ which is where all the files will go.

Then you proceed to install your application normally, but all its files will go directly to the second drive because of the link between the directories. I've installed many apps like this and they work pretty well.

You cand use this method to link whatever directories you want (Documents, pictures, etc).

I have to mention that you can change the default folder where windows stores your Documents and Music by right-clicking on them and changing the Location directory; but this only works for folders inside your home directory (C:\Users\YourUserName) that windows uses for that sort of files.

Good Luck.

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