How to configure multiple drives for proper storage.

Phil Rine
Phil Rine used Ask the Experts™
I need to help someone get a laptop. The ones I am looking at have a small SSD and a much larger HDD. How can I configure the system so the user isn’t filling up the SSD with data or programs?  Is there anyway to force everything except the OS to go to the HDD with little or no user interaction?
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Information Services Manager
Most likely the OS will be pre-installed on the SSD... which is optimal, and preferable... including for a lot of programs.  Programs that are not read/write intensive and don't need that much performance, can be sent to the second HDD... for some programs, you choose this during installation setup with a "custom" install option. (change C: to D: when it asks for the path)

Many programs in Win10, can be individually moved.

You could also simply move the user profile library folders, to the second larger drive.  So when the user downloads stuff over time..., and they sync their music or photos etc., will automatically go to the larger secondary drive.

Disclaimer:  I do not recommend you move %appdata% folder in that link.
Top Expert 2013

what do you call a small SSD ?  for normal users, an 128 GB drive would be enough for storing OS and softwares. - though i recommend a 256 GB drive (also with the low prices)
regarding " Is there anyway to force everything except the OS to go to the HDD with little or no user interaction? " i would say most softwares offer the option to select the location where the software is installed; but note that by selecting the large drive for softwares will also cause this software to run slower!  you may wish to look for 7200 rpm drives, instead of the usual 5400 rpm drives too, to minimise this effect a bit

Is this one of those hybrid drives where the SSD and HD are in one unit? If so, they manage what goes onto the SSD automatically based on what is used the most.  I’m not sure you can specify what moves over. Typically part of the OD  ends up there as do apps and documents used often.

If this is two separate units, the system should live on the SSD, as should any programs run often. Less used items should stay on the HD, as well as most smaller documents.
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Distinguished Expert 2017

There are many possible variations once you define what you mean.

You could break the HD into several partitions that are then using a path versus a drive letter.

What is the laptop being used for? And by whom?
Phil RineOwner


Thank you all for the input.
Arnold...The laptop is being used by a very high end pool installer who needs it for a specific program that can show customers various views of what their final product will look like.
Owen...This is not a hybrid drive.  It is 2 separate physical drives.
Nobus...The SSD is 256GB and the HDD is a 7,200 RPM SATA HDD.
Ron...Thank you for the links.  I went to them and there is some very good information that I may be able to use.

I spoke with my customer and the laptop is going to be sued for this one program only.  He will not be putting docs, pics or any other programs on it so he doesn't feel that having the 2 drives will be a problem for him to manage.
Thank you all again for your input.
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services Manager

...use the second drive for backups
Distinguished Expert 2017

Since this is a field engineer, they should manage the space without an issue as your ending paragraph...
The issue you raised the question is commonly an issue for end users.

Depending on the application being marketed, demonstrated, does A second drive really needed?

Possibly business class Floyd storage may avail/cover .........

If everything fits on the SSD, put it all there. No reason not to, everything will speed up, and I agree with Ron, use the HD for a local backup.

If the SSD is too small to hold everything, then the SSD should at least have the system on it, which will result in fast boot times and a faster system performance.

If you still have space,, put the apps on the SSD as well. Remember that all apps do not have to reside on the system drive.

Then you can use the other drive for documents, photos, music, etc as they do not really need the SSD speed because they are small enough to read rather quickly.

On my machine, my documents, music and photos, which use a LOT of space for me sit on a normal HD while my system and apps reside on the SSD, the system drive. The unit is much faster than before, and I see no performance issues when playing music, editing documents, or looking at photos.

Note that while SSDs have much longer lifetimes than they used to and are constantly getting better, but they do have limited write cycles. So if you have anything that gets rewritten a lot, I would put that on the HD just to extend the life of the SSD as well. I edit photos a lot, which is why I have those on the standard HD as well.

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