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New Windows install - How should I organize SSD, HDD, user folders?

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Recently bought a new laptop (may be returning because of some pixel errors, but that's another topic...), and I'm installing Windows 8 on it. Not really looking for opinions on choice of OS, but definitely looking for some help in organizing this thing.

It's the first time I have a computer with two drives and Win8 will obviously go on the SSD (120GB), but unsure of pretty much the rest. I'm thinking that program files will go on the SSD (default c:\Program Files\) except portable apps (something like c:\Programs\). But what would you recommend for the user profiles? I'll be the only one using the computer, but should I move the complete Users folder to HDD, only my profile or nothing? There are tons of guides to move and symlink the users folder, but I'm really unsure if that's the best way, especially since having tested this, I get some issues with System Restore (not in itself a deal breaker, but I'm worried that something more important may break eventually).

Should I let Windows do whatever it wants with my user profile, but create my own Docs folder and use this instead of My Documents? What about AppData...?

With my Win7 machine I redirected C:\Users to D:\Users which has technically worked fine, but I'm not sure if there's any point in doing this as opposed to just make cusom Docs folders.

There's some good advice and discussion in this thread: SSD usage recommendations -
I do wonder, however, if there's any new considerations since that thread was last posted in? Also, I'd love to hear how other Win8 users have their system setup.

With a SSD drive I would make sure that the Windows and/or application temp folders are not on it. Althoough this might mean that you lose a little bit of performance, it should add to the longevity of the drive.

This kind of setup makes the most sense (to me at least), given the current price level of these drives. Besides, I don't think the performance-drop of your system will be that much. Depends a bit on what you want to use your system for, I'll guess.

I've read that newer SSD drives are very durable, so is r/w operations and drive longevity still a valid concern? If I decide to move Temp folders, could these be put in a ram disk? I've got 12GB of RAM, so spending 1GB of RAM on a ramdisk may be  a way to do it.

I'd say disable the pagefile (or relocate to your HDD; it shouldn't be hit that much with 12 gigs of ram, so you shouldn't see a speed hit). RAM disk for %TMP% and %TEMP% (both the system and user environment variables) is nice, not only does it reduce wear&tear on the SSD, but can be a nice speed increase of some things. I find that at 1gig ramdisk works pretty well for my TEMP and FireFox profile (backed up, of course). I use SoftPerfect now, persistent disk, and it works pretty well.

As for other stuff, do what suits you best :) - I've got my home workstation SSD split in a ~64gig partition for Windows + most applications, and a ~47gig for my documents, sourcecode, et cetera. Makes OS reinstall a bit easier, but with a small SSD micro-managing free space can be annoying. Games and "bulk" data goes on a 300gig (well, 279gig in non-SI units :)).

For my work laptop, I have one single partition on my SSD for most stuff, but an I/O busy (and huge!) content repository on the old HDD; the software might benefit somewhat from the (much) faster SSD I/O, but I'm afraid it's so write-busy that the SSD would be worn down too faster.

I've read that newer SSD drives are very durable, so is r/w operations and drive longevity still a valid concern?-TucknDar (December 28, 2012, 05:16 PM)
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I do wonder - haven't heard of any (normal) cases where erase cycles have been used up (which ought to happen gracefully, and still allowing you to read the cells), all the deaths I've seen (and the two I've experienced myself) have been random out-of-the-blue deaths with no warning (HDDs usually start sounding weird, or drop from UDMA to PIO speeds which you will notice).

So when you move to SSD, backups will be even more important than with HDDs. Be sure to use something that runs continuously.

One problem that you cannot escape is that Windows stores all kinds of baggage that cannot be safely removed from the system drive. Your Windows installation becomes more and more bloated over time, so start thinking about that and plan for your system drive to become virtually unusable at some point. It WILL happen. 383 KB here and 68 MB there and another 138 MB here and maybe a GB over there... It all adds up, and you risk destabilizing your system if you start farting around with moving/deleting those files.

I've just replaced a 128 GB SSD with a 256 GB SSD for pretty much that reason. I kept the OS, programs, and a small amount of current work/files on the system drive, with most files being on externals/NAS.

I figure that if at all possible, portable software is the best way to go. This insanity with the way many programs get installed on Windows with fixed paths and all that silliness, well, it just kills any real potential to stay properly organised.

I wouldn't worry about partitioning the SSD though. SSDs don't suffer from fragmentation like HDDs, so you have no worries there. Defragmentation of an SSD is counterproductive. So, you're pretty much left with the best option being just to leave it as a single volume, unless you have some kind of an organizational reason that would override how quickly a Windows installation can get bloated on a small drive.

Oh, do keep in mind that I've had to install some programs that take up multiple GB of space, e.g. Adobe Creative Suite, Visual Studio, etc. So, I kind of trashed a bit of the storage that way.


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