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  1. #1
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    New machine, SSD problems

    A little knowledge combined with some money is a dangerous thing. But this is how we learn.

    I decided to buy my first new desktop in nearly 8 years. It has a 20 GB SSD on the mother board, a 230 GB SSD drive, as well as a few 1 TB drives from the old machine. (Iím a hoarder of some things!) I was using 32 bit, the new machine is 64 bit.

    The guy who assembled it made the small SSD the C: drive. (The other SSD is N:.) Needless to say (for this group), I have quickly filled the small SSD with the Win7 OS, a bunch of junk that loaded with Windows (games, explorer, journal, mail, media player, photo viewer, et al) and associated user files and stuff. I have tried to install new stuff on the larger SSD (office, programs, etc). (Though a previous thread from Tinto Tech said I should move my large PST file back to a mechanical drive.) New programs that want to load to C: by default create an error message that C: is full.
    So, lotsa questions:

    1. What is an easy way to make N: the C: drive? If that means reinstalling Windows to N:, so be it. But I already have 32 bit Windows I gotta get rid of that is on a mechanical drive (the old boot drive of the old machine). And now I have the 64 bit on C: (small SSD). So how would I go about it?
    2. So many program installations default to the C: drive. Is there a way to get them to ask if they do not do so in the installation? I want the program, I just donít need it on the SSD.
    3. How do I move (or reinstall) associated junk I donít need on an SSD to a mechanical drive while keeping the exe and associated (needs to run) stuff on the SSD? (Like Publisher on SSD, but clip art on mechanical; Word on SSD, but borders, languages, samples, or Excel & PowerPoint Ė rarely useóon to a mechanical.)
    4. What is a good use for the 20 GB SSD after I transfer itís stuff to the larger SSD? I do a lot of audio, photo, and soon video editing, and Iíd like to have the thing Iím working on be on an SSD while Iím working on it, but it could easily live on a mechanical drive. But I'm afraid of deleting it before I saved it back.
    5. Two of the 1 TB drives that came from the old machine report that they are failing. They worked fine in the old machine and gave me no trouble. Coincidence, damaged in swapping them, false positive, ignorable, what?
    6. What arenít I asking that I WOULD ask, if I only knew to ask it?

    I know this is a lot to ask, and Iím embarrassed at how ďnewbieĒ it is, but I also know you can save me lots of time and mistakes that make it worse before it gets better. And I want to learn this.

    Many thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Hello LeoDude and welcome to the Lounge!

    You have quite a mix of drives and a spread of files across them. One possible route might be to try cloning the 20GB SSD to the 230GB SSD, but you need to move that data off that first and you need to be careful you maintain the 4K index boundaries (the physical topology of an SSD) -not all cloning programs will respect that. If you follow the cloning route, use the Windows System Image Backup and Restore wizards - they may not be as flexible as some third party tools, but they will respect the 4K boundaries.

    Alternatively, and in theory, you could try to build some Junction/Symlinks that point the various directories and files to new locations, but that might end up a worse situation if you get a circular reference.

    To be honest, at this moment in time, I would be tempted to collate all user data onto one of your 1TB drives (a known good one!), then run a clean install of Windows onto the 230GB SSD and distribute the user data as necessary after the clean install.

    Building a system with a SSD on a clean install is always easier than moving data around. My recent experience confirmed this. I would just make sure you have all of your data held safe on one or more mechanical drives and physically disconnect it while installing or cloning the system drive - the last thing you want is to partition the data drive as a new system drive by mistake!

    Lastly, uses for a 20GB SSD? Well some might say it's too small for the OS, and it is getting on that way when you add programs etc. However, you mentioned that you run lots of audio, photo and shortly some video editing. If, you are prepared to run the risk of data wear-out over the long term, a small SSD might make a good choice to put temporary working audio, photo and especially video files while running the processing. Once the processing is done, move the completed data off to a mechanical drive where it can stay until you need it - this puts the power where and when it's needed.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'd go with the clean install to the larger SSD. Use the 20GB drive as a secondary drive.
    Ensure that data is backed up, not only on the 230 GB SSD but the 1TB drive(s) your having issues with as well.

    What is the deal with the drive letter N?

  4. #4
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    I'd say clean install as well, normally when finished with a clone you swap drives or at least detach the drive you no longer want to be the system drive and boot to the new system drive...with the drive on the mobo you'd have to be able to disable it or something maybe in BIOS before you booted into the new install...I don't have such a beast.
    Paragon has a software utility (not free) that aligns the partition after the fact if need be, so I never worry about that any more.

    If it were me I'd still try the clone anyway but I'd be backed up in triplicate so if one copy nukes at any time...well I still have a backup, not just the last copy.


    What is the deal with the drive letter N?
    N_ice
    F_ast
    Q_uantum
    I have 19 or 20 drive letters on some computers...that's how I know they are the SSDs. I tried them as system drives but I get more bang for the buck as VM drives.
    Last edited by Infinicore; 2011-09-26 at 20:58.

  5. #5
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    Well, thanks for the quick responses. I need to digest them, but I am very pleased to see unanimity.

    "...collate all user data onto one of your 1TB drives (a known good one!), then run a clean install of Windows onto the 230GB SSD and distribute the user data as necessary after the clean install" seems to be the plan.

    So I copy what is on the 230 to a 1 TB drive that works (I think I have room to do that), delete what is on the 230, disable the 20 in the bios, install windows from the discs onto the 230. Then I can bring back the stuff from the 230 (which is now C: my boot drive). Or do I forget about the stuff on 20 and copied from 230, and simply reinstall the programs I have put on there so far. Laborious (though I've stopped adding programs until I got this straight), but copying over files from the previous windows installs seems like a hassle too. Then I'd avoid the 4K index boundaries concerns, right?

    As to N:, the guy who assembled it gave it that designation. I don't really have 10+ drives!

    You're a little ahead of my understanding, but that's what I want. Thanks you all very much!

    Leo

  6. #6
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    Sounds like a plan!

    Once you have moved all your data off the 230GB drive, there is no need to format it: Windows installation will do that anyway, so would be adding an extra step.

    One thing I would do however: physically remove the data cable from the 20GB drive rather than disable it in the BIOS. It is all to easy to get confused in the BIOS (Sata port 0,1,2,3 etc....). If there is no physical connection to the 20GB drive you can't go wrong.

    Or do I forget about the stuff on 20 and copied from 230, and simply reinstall the programs I have put on there so far
    .....I guess that depends on what is on them. If there are only programs, I would say yes: fresh installations of those will give you the opportunity to correctly place the data where you want it. Bear in mind that some applications may already have data files and structures associated on existing disks - Outlook and its pst files being one example - and you need to take care of that data after the operating system and applications installation.

    By the way, the 4K offset and boundaries is only a hazard when setting up the disk with Windows in the first instance. A clean install will default to that and all subsequent data manipulations will respect the requirement on the SSD.

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