Windows 7 & 2 Hard Drives (SSD and SATA)

grss1982cvg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 10, 2010
Messages
139
Okay, so I have this friend whose been a open source guru all his life. Brags about his 10+ years experience in Linux and Unix. Flash forward to 2010, he decides to install Windows 7 on his computer, which has a 320GB SATA hard drive. Along with Windows 7 he installed MS Office, several games (COD4, Far Cry 2, HAWX), and Visual Basic plus a ton of other apps. Now, recently he bought a 64GB SSD Hard drive, which he wanted to make as his boot drive on the same computer. So he installs Windows 7 on the SSD and makes the 320GB hard drive a slave drive. Here's the wierd part, he blames MS for him being unable to "run" those programs in his 320GB hard drive. When my friend says "run" the programs, he means that he just wants to double click on the *.exe files of his programs in the 320GB HDD. I tell him that's not possible, since you will have to re-install those programs on his 64GB SSD. My friend though insists that this is MS fault, and that they should allow him to do that. He insists that all it takes is to tweak some registry settings in the WIndows 7 that's in the 64GB SSD.

So is my friend on crack or is it technically possible to do that?
 

bigdogchris

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
18,551
You have to reinstall them, but you can install them onto the 320 GB drive even if it's a slave (D:) drive.

Some older games and/or MMOG's do not need to be installed per say and you can simply double click the .exe to launch the patcher and go.
 

Forceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
9,243
Someone covered this in another thread, but there is a way to make symbolic links on the SSD that point to the 320 GB drive - so the operating system thinks they are still on the boot drive. That might work, but it would require some effort. Can't recall which thread it was covered in though.
 

GreenMonkey

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
2,159
There's a few games that you can do that - generally if they have little stuff in the registry for copy protection, etc. I found Civ4, patched to the latest version, moved fine from C:\ (SSD) to D:\ (HDD) for me, surprisingly. Ditto for Guild Wars. I believe you can move your Steam folder also (not sure).

Theoretically you could remap them in the registry - but that's a PITA and it would be hard to ensure you found all of the correct registry keys, etc. Easier to reinstall. At least Win7 tends to keep save game stuff in /users now (although that can be a PITA for mods and some older games...caused me some headaches with Baldur's Gate II).
 

Void

[H]ard to Tame
Joined
Oct 18, 2006
Messages
2,300
Ditto for Guild Wars. I believe you can move your Steam folder also (not sure).
Yup this is true, I moved my whole Steam folder (61.2GB) to another drive with no problems, same for GW. I just wish all games and applications were like that :).
 

bigdogchris

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
18,551
There's a difference between moving a game between folders and reinstalling the OS and trying to run them off another drive.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Nothing is MS' fault, obviously. Linux and Mac OS are just superior to Windows in this regard, the registry makes apps much less portable (tho not all apps).
 
Last edited:

GreenMonkey

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 25, 2006
Messages
2,159
A)

Can't believe only one other person has mentioned this... My SSD would be a huge PITA to manage w/o symbolic links.

I don't have a lot of game time these days. So I can just put the one game I play a lot (Dragon Age) on C:\ , along with Office and most of my other apps, and everything else is pretty much on my HDD, including all of my user subfolders that are easily movable. No need for links (yet)
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
Hrm, I'm sleep deprived, dunno why I thought a single symbolic link would solve it... Obviously there'd still be a lot of missing registry entries... But he can still use symbolic links for a more seamless approach. One sec, I'll re-post a more coherent solution.
 
Last edited:

trick0502

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
5,504
let me get this right. he had windows on the 320gb drive, installed a 64gb sdd and put windows on it. now he wants to run his old programs that are installed on the 320gb drive?

that isnt going to work because when you install files it edits the registry. all of those registry edits arent there without reinstalling them.
 

jslater25

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
474
Using symbolic links would only work if the necessary registry keys were there for the OS on the SSD. If he were to import the right registry keys from the SATA OS, plus point to the proper location of the installed files (which would also be on the SATA), he'd be able to run the programs.
 

Impulse

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
10,232
What he should've done, if he wanted to avoid re-installing a ton of stuff, is to image his existing OS partition unto the SSD... Now it's obviously not gonna fit whole if he had a bunch of games and whatnot, but all he has to do to resolve that is to move those large game directories off the partition he's gonna image prior to doing it (cleaning up System Restore points would trim a good chunk of space as well, since it's set to take up a % of a much larger total area).

Now once he's removed some directories and made his original partition into something that actually fits comfortably he can image it over to the SSD... Once that's done he can use symbolic links to fool the OS into thinking that the directories he's left behind on the 320GB HDD are still on C:\. It's a couple of steps, but it'd probably take a lot less time than re-installing and re-configuring everything. Just be sure to use an image backup tool that maintains partition alignment.

He can do the partition re-sizing within Windows, or he can use the image tool itself... Ghost will respect alignment at both ends of a partition even when you ask it to re-size the partition. If he hasn't started re-installing stuff and he considers it a chore, this will take a lot less time and it's not hard to do, all you're doing is cleaning up and copying a partition and arranging it so a few apps left behind play nice. For many games you probably don't even need to use sym links but for something like Steam you do.
 

JonathanJ

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
111
It's possible to run both COD4 and FC2 without installation, you just need the program folder.
 

YeuEmMaiMai

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
31,046
if he still has the old windows directory he can import the needed registry keys and then edit them to point to the right location. Will take some time but it can be done
 
Top