Bigger replacement SSD, or addtional SSD?
July 10, 2016 3:46 PM   Subscribe

I've finally run my SSD out of room. Do I need to replace my SSD with a bigger one, or can I just add another SSD for games and stuff?

The machine is about four years old and does what I want. It's a desktop with Windows 10 on it, and there's SATA ports and power connectors to spare. I have all my media on external drives, it's just applications and programs on the SSD. I don't want my apps on a spinning hard drive because sloooooow.

My concerns are that if I get a new one then I will have to reinstall Windows 10 on it, but if I get a second one will it make Windows shit itself if I install things outside the usual c:\program files\ directory? I'd probably move Steam and Overwatch/WoW/Diablo to a new drive, maybe Photoshop.
posted by Sternmeyer to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: It depends on the specific game or program, but most of them are generally fine being installed to somewhere besides program files, although you'll typically need to uninstall them and reinstall them to a different location to move a program reliably. Steam explicitly supports installing games in different locations via Steam Library folders.
posted by Aleyn at 4:04 PM on July 10, 2016


In addition to what Aleyn wrote, you probably want to look up where Overwatch/WoW/Diablo save any save game or configuration files and back those up before you uninstall/reinstall. Uninstallation might delete all your save games, depending on the game.
posted by cruelfood at 4:09 PM on July 10, 2016


Best answer: I just did this a couple of weeks ago -- adding a 512mb Samsung 850 Pro to an existing 256mb 840 pro. I initially installed the 512mb as a second drive and just moved some stuff to it. However, looking at benchmarks convinced me that the bigger/newer drive was fast enough to be worth running as my primary OS drive, so I used EaseUS Backup to clone the Windows partition over. Took about 45 minutes, and a bit of futzing around with the BIOS to make sure I was really booting off the new drive, but it was essentially seamless as far as Windows 10 was concerned.

As far as moving Steam games go, there's a trick -- you can create an additional SteamLibrary folder anywhere, and as long as you tell Steam about it (Settings->Downloads->Steam Library Folders) and then copy your games into it (steamapps\common\[whatever]), you can "delete local content" inside Steam, then "install steam game" and point it to the new Steam Library folder. Rather than re-downloading, it'll say "discovering existing local content" for a bit, and find your moved installation. (Steam support description of this process).

In general applications don't care where you install them (I have a "Program Files" and a "Program Files (x86)" folder on my spinning platter disk for stuff that isn't time-critical enough to take up space on the SSD), though in some cases, it's easier to reinstall than to try and move an installation.

My thought is to keep your user profile on your OS drive (SSD) -- it's possible (though janky) to move it, but in general it's probably better to keep it on the SSD since the OS needs to look for user preferences stuff and whatnot in there. The "downloads" folder is a possible exception.
posted by Alterscape at 4:26 PM on July 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


most of them are generally fine being installed to somewhere besides program files

This. Shitty installers like the one for Google Chrome are the exception, not the rule.
posted by flabdablet at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2016


You can absolutely add another SSD, it's what I'm doing now with mine - I have a 5 year old computer, which started with a regular hard drive, which died, and I have since replaced with a single 256GB SSD which I then filled up and then bought another 256GB SSD to pair it with. Software does not need to be installed in "Program File".

Here's a bit of disaster preparedness I've used - prepare for your primary SSD to die randomly. If you have a second SSD, and your primary one dies while under warranty, you either wait for several weeks for the manufacturer to send you a new one, during which time you have no computer to use, or you wipe your entire second SSD and use that as your windows install location in the meantime. Or you buy a third SSD...

What I do is partition my SSDs to create a small windows install area (say 80GB) and then store non-critical files there. That way if my primary SSD dies I can just choose to wipe that small area on my second SSD and reinstall windows there while I wait for a new SSD to arrive, either through warranty or from going to the shop to buy one.
posted by xdvesper at 4:45 PM on July 10, 2016


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