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Mount 'Program Files' directory on a separate SSD

Discussion in 'Windows Operating Systems' started by daehenoc, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. daehenoc

    daehenoc Member

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    Hey all, I'm getting a laptop with a 256Gb m.2 SSD and I can drop in a 2.5" SSD as well. I'd like to set up the following situation:
    • 256Gb m.2 SSD; C: drive, Windows installation (including the C:\Users folder)
    • 500Gb 2.5" SSD: Has the "\Program Files" data located on it, and this is mounted as "C:\Program Files" on boot
    I've found a few articles and pieced them together, in my mind I think the process is "Use WinPE to boot the computer, then use diskpart or mountvol to set up the above arrangement", but I don't know if this will remain the case after I reboot from WinPE to the 256Gb m.2 SSD.

    Has anyone here done this, or know of an article that stitches all the parts together?

    (Yep, I could just use the 500Gb SSD as the boot drive, however in this particular case I want to keep the 256Gb as the boot volume and be able to drop in larger SSDs for the Program Files as required)
     
  2. damn duck

    damn duck Member

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    This sounds so painful and pointless. I look forward to seeing how you progress.
     
  3. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    What is it you’re trying to achieve here?

    Have you considered just leaving it as-is and simply re-installing specific applications to the preferred volume?
     
  4. OP
    OP
    daehenoc

    daehenoc Member

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    I want to be able to provide more disk space (if required) by replacing the drive that provides the space for the "Program Files" location. This laptop will be used by other family members, I don't want to have to cater for "OH, by clicking NextNextNextNext you installed that program to the "C:\Program Files" location again, instead of the D:\Program Files location..."

    Yep, I could just use clonezilla to lift-and-shift[0] the whole Windows installation from a 500Gb to a 750/1Tb drive in the future, but I have seen the result of this method on a laptop before (I didn't have access to the laptop to investigate how it was done, boo), but I want to know how to do this!

    [0] - Lift and shift leaves me with a spare SSD, I'd prefer to keep using it :)
     
  5. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    To be honest, it seems like a surefire way of fucking things up in the event of Windows Updates, or issues with either drive. If you’re dead set on it though, you’ll probably want to copy the contents of your existing Program Files folders, and then create a Symbolic Link from the existing location to the new.
     
    PersianImmortal likes this.
  6. mtma

    mtma Member

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    You could edit the %PROGRAMFILES% environment variable to relocate the reference. But if there's existing applications which are using the environment variable to refer to things it could mess those up.
     
  7. Myne_h

    Myne_h Member

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    There is another way too.

    cmd
    md d:\programfiles
    mklink /j c:\programfiles d:\programfiles

    (example)
     
  8. Hater

    Hater Member

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    256GB is more than enough for a Windows install. Don't worry about it.
     
  9. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    That’s the SymLink method I referred to earlier. Running that command without first copying the existing contents will break stuff.
     
  10. Myne_h

    Myne_h Member

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    Oh, yeah, sure. Best to have the data there first.

    Though it won't break all that many things in the short term.
     
  11. waltermitty

    waltermitty Member

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  12. power

    power Member

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    I wouldn't bother, just choose D as the install directory.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    daehenoc

    daehenoc Member

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    Thanks to everyone who made constructive and helpful comments. In the long run, I found that there were massive amounts of files in the Program Files AND the Program Files (x86) folder, and they would just keep growing, which would have made admin painful. So I chucked a 500Gb EVO in there and left it at that for now.
     
  14. PsydFX

    PsydFX Member

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    Probably the best solution. I have no doubt you could have made it work, but the potential for issues down the track probably would have outweighed the benefits.
     

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