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  1. #1
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    Going small(er): Trading spinning disks for SSDs




    TOP STORY


    Going small(er): Trading spinning disks for SSDs


    By Lincoln Spector

    Solid-state drives can give a significant boost to system performance, but at the cost of storage space.

    Here's how to sort out the data on a big spinning-platter drive and fit what you can onto a smaller SSD.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/going-smaller-trading-spinning-disks-for-SSDs/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Uefi bios

    My desktop is a Medion with a UEFI BIOS.
    You can change the BIOS boot order in theory but what is set by the manufacturer stays that way.
    When you reboot the original settings simply get restored.
    Their Helpdesk cannot help me.
    Is there any independent source of help on this?

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert99 View Post
    My desktop is a Medion with a UEFI BIOS.
    You can change the BIOS boot order in theory but what is set by the manufacturer stays that way.
    When you reboot the original settings simply get restored.
    Their Helpdesk cannot help me.
    Is there any independent source of help on this?

    What is your exact problem?

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    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
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    In the scenario that the article purposes is valid but also flawed. For the average user that scenario holds fast, but, for the advanced user, which is the demographic that the SSD manufactures are after...the hobbyist and enthusiast. For us, installing an SSD is an automatic clean install for just the OS, an office suite and a few other needed applications and software. Then the standard HDD will be used for every thing else...downloads, storage and so on. This setup being the preferred setup until such time SSD prices fall to an acceptable level as well as storage size comparable to the standard HDD's.

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    New Lounger
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    Why not just install a hybrid disk for a modest premium versus a "platter spinner"?

    E.g.ex Amazon UK

    Seagate ST2000DX001 3.5 inch 2TB Hybrid Internal Solid State Drive £91.70 or

    WD - 2TB Desktop SATA Hard Drive - OEM - Green £64.33

    Cordially - Paul Rutherford

  6. #6
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    Since my laptop does not have USB 3, I use an eSATA interface which supports port multiplier features. This connects to a cheap just bunch of disks (JBOD) 4 bay enclosure where my old hard drives now serve as extra storage. I configured MS Storage Spaces in Windows 8.1 to mirror two of the drives for extra protection. I then used the Properties menus to relocate my large Pictures, Videos, Music and Downloads folders from their default locations to the external array since I don't typically need them when traveling with my laptop. Then, like you I set up archive folders for inactive documents and other files. I also backup critical laptop files to the external storage. This freed up much needed space to my 160GB laptop SSD. I still plan to upgrade my SSD but can wait while prices continue to drop.

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    New Lounger
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    I have a Lenovo T61 laptop which has a built-in, removable DVD drive. I purchased a "smart-drive" adapter and fitted a 1GB HDD in this enclosure; pulled the removable DVD and replaced it with the 1GB HDD. Then I replaced the built-in HDD C: Drive with an SSD - which gave me all the speed and storage that I needed. I completed this setup by adding an external USB DVD drive for those occasions when I need to access CD / DVDs!

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  9. #8
    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikon1 View Post
    I have a Lenovo T61 laptop which has a built-in, removable DVD drive. I purchased a "smart-drive" adapter and fitted a 1GB HDD in this enclosure; pulled the removable DVD and replaced it with the 1GB HDD. Then I replaced the built-in HDD C: Drive with an SSD - which gave me all the speed and storage that I needed. I completed this setup by adding an external USB DVD drive for those occasions when I need to access CD / DVDs!

    Very cool...I just might do that with my laptop!

  10. #9
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    Laptops can use hybrid drives!

    That's the route I took ~3 years ago on my laptop & I love it. The hybrid drive is faster than a simple platter but only slightly more expensive.

    I highly recommend it!

  11. #10
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    Great article! I've been enjoying SSDs for a while now, and like the author says, you never want to go back. I thought I'd add some additional thoughts for the laptop user, since options are a little more limited.

    If you don't have multiple drive bays, you *may* still have an unused mSATA port and can buy an mSATA SSD. This is a bit more technical of a route and can be a bit pricey, but it is a solution that worked really well for me.

    When purchasing an SSD specifically for running Windows 7 or 8, 64GB won't be enough room because while you *can* move some things to another drive (like programs, document libraries, etc.), you will lose some space to paging, the hibernation file, and your user profile(s); the latter two cannot be moved and with profiles, the more programs you install on your laptop the larger the profile gets. You might also find yourself having to aggressively clean up old files, such as error dump files or Windows Update installation files, and that can get tedious.

    Some of the people I've worked with have to do presentations running one or more virtual machines from a laptop, and their products have to run well or else the people watching will get the impression that slow performance is their product's fault--so another solution that can give you space, performance, and a bit of a price break against SSDs is the purchase of a 'hybrid' drive. Hybrid drives contain a small SSD component and then large storage for speeds faster than a normal disk, just slower than an SSD. They tend to work pretty well.

    Right now I've got a 128GB AData SC300 mSATA SSD running Windows and in the two drive bays my laptop has I've placed a pair of 500GB Seagate hybrid drives in a RAID 0 Array, giving me close to a Terabyte of room. Not everyone will want a solution like that, but for what I'm doing it works very well.

  12. #11
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    I agree with bassfisher6522. I moved to a SDD several months ago on my personal PC and it was easy. ‘My Documents’ and all other data files are kept on a network drive (Samba) that is mirrored to an unmapped drive twice a day to protect against possible ‘ransomware’. Only the OS and program files totaling less than 20 GB are on C:\ and I use Deep Freeze to protect those files. I only “unfreeze” it momentarily every couple of weeks to install updates.

    By the way I am still on XP so I can use the non subscription version of ‘Deep Freeze’ I purchased several years ago. Since they have gone to the subscription model I have switched to ‘Shadow Defender’ for the newer public PCs I maintain.

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    >"Assuming you can't fit all your data on the new SSD, what should you transfer and what should you leave behind on the old drive?"

    Some software demands faster file acces. You could check disk read-write rates in Task Manager's Performance applet. Surprisingly video editing software doesn't require fast access, because the processing is intense and the data streams. This is good, because video files are huge. (However, I use different drives for video input files and render files, to avoid lots of head motion and file fragmentation).

    >On laptops, you'll need a SATA-to-USB enclosure (or docking station or connector kit) to set up the new SSD as a temporary external drive.

    An enclosure with a fan is preferable, to keep the drive cool -- mostly an issue though with a 3.5" drive. Also, an eSATA connection is fast. With a desktop that doesn't already have eSATA, you only have toan internal SATA port to a bracket on the rear panel. I have had no luck adding eSATA using a plug-in card: to of them froze my computer on startup. I don't know how many laptops support eSATA without an adapter or docking station. And USB cables are more flexible. eSATA is more suitable for an office setting.

    >On a desktop, launch BIOS setup and change the boot order so that the SSD is higher on the list than the old HDD. I won't tell you explicitly how to make the change because it varies with the brand and version of BIOS. If you need a refresher, the PC's manual should have instructions.

    Check motherboard specs. SATA ports on a desktop motherboard may not all run at the same speed. You want the SSD on one of the faster ports.
    Last edited by jsallen; 2014-01-30 at 11:29.

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    3 Star Lounger Jagworld's Avatar
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    What are the minimum requirements to install SSD ?

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    An SSD connects to a SATA port. An older computer with only PATA ports won't work with an SSD except if it is on a USB connection or possibly with a plug-in SATA card, but there isn't much of a point to this and as I said in an earlier message, there are configuration issues too.

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    Last year I had a hard drive failure in my Panasonic Toughbook laptop. My 150gb hard drive was divided in two partition. My data was on my D: drive, not in My Documents which I left in C:. Ex: Thunderbird storage was on D:. So, non-standard file locations.

    I replaced the old drive with a new 500gb drive, so size was no issue. Then I booted from a Norton Ghost cdrom, did a full restore from my last backup, and Bob's your uncle. My laptop booted up to the new drive. All I had to do after that, and only to take advantage of the extra space, was expand my partitions to fill the new drive.

    Assuming you had an SSD at least as large as your old hard drive, is there any reason why this wouldn't work?

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