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Kilobyte Kid
Flying_Squirrel
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎07-01-2013
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Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

I have my OS on an HDD. What I am hoping I can do is install an SSD as a 2nd drive, and install/run specific applications on the SSD while still keeping my OS on the HDD. So in other words, just a supplemental faster drive for a few programs but without having to do any migrating or reinstall OS, etc.

 

The key program I want to run off SSD is Adobe Lightroom, since it is a database/cataloging program and constantly accesses and writes data. I've read that SSD can make good improvements in speed for this program (but this was based on testing where the primary drive and OS were on SSD, not on a supplemental setup like I mentioned above). I also use Photoshop but read that having it on the SSD would not improve performance much so I'd keep it on the HDD, but I would use the SSD as a scratch disk for Photoshop.

 

Questions:

 

- Is it possible to run programs off an SSD if the primary disk with OS is an HDD?

 

- If it is possible, will having the OS on an HDD negate the speed benefits of having those programs on SSD?

 

- Lastly, if the setup in question is possible and would potentially work as I hope...do I need to reconfigure anything on my computer / bios etc to make it all work correctly? And if so, how do I do it?

 

Thank you so much for any help you may be able to offer! :smileyhappy:

 

PC specs:

 

HP - Compaq Pavilion Elite HPE-170t CTO Desktop/PC
BIOS: American Megatrends Inc 5.15, 6/25/2010

SMBIOS Version 2.6

Intel Core i7 860 @ 2.8 GHz
64-bit OS
Intel H57 chipset

Current RAM: Kingston 2GB 2Rx8 PC3 - 10600U / HP497157 - c01 - ELDW (4 sticks for total 8GB)

^^ [ Looking to upgrade RAM possibly to crucial Ballistix]

JEDEC Jedi
targetbsp
Posts: 7,460
Registered: ‎08-27-2009
0

Re: Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

in reply to Flying_Squirrel

What you suggest can be done no problem.  Just install the programs you want on the SSD.

You'll likley need to uninstall and then reinstall lightroom.  And then change where the catalogs are kept in its options menu.

 

However, I'd strongly recommend having your OS on it as well.  It's amazing how much more responsive Windows is on an SSD.  Having your web browser, email app, im clients - all the miscallaneous stuff you use regularly without actually thinking of it as a primary use of your computer, load much faster, makes a huge difference.  You also very quickly realise that when you were clicking around stuff before in Windows, your start menu, file explorer, control panel - was quite a bit slower on a HD than it need have been.

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Kilobyte Kid
Flying_Squirrel
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎07-01-2013
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Re: Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

[ Edited ]
in reply to targetbsp

Thanks for your help! I appreciate the quick and helpful reply.

 

I know what you mean about the SSD with OS. I have that setup at my work office and it flies. However, on my home pc, the reason I want to do the secondary drive but keep the HDD OS is because I don't want to have to start fresh, having to reinstall the OS, all programs etc. People have suggested cloning my current HDD onto an SSD, but this would basically be impossible because I have something on the order of nearly 2 Terabytes of OS, programs, and files on my HDD and I can not afford such a large SSD (and so I cannot clone it because a clone is all or nothing as far as I know; if I want just some of what I have on the SSD it's a manual thing) So in order to migrate everything, I'd have to get a smaller SSD, make note of all programs and settings installed, manually gather and move the data files (folders, docs, photos, etc) in the same structure onto another HDD, do a fresh install of the OS onto the SSD, reinstall all programs, set up all settings, etc etc and that is just too much time and work that I cannot invest currently.

 

Perhaps you have some suggestions for how to split up that migration in an easy manner, or am pretty much correct that it would be a huge pain in the neck?

 

Anyway, if I install the SSD as a secondary drive and just run some programs on it like in my original question, do I need to do anything with the BIOS / system etc to get things working correctly? Or will Windows just know it's a new disk and keep the current HDD / OS as before, so the SSD would be plug and play so to speak? Also should I know about anything I might need to do when installing or configuring the SSD to get the full speed available from it?

 

edit- Another question, on my PC is there a max speed limit on the motherboard or something that I should consider when purchasing an SSD? Or will the very best/fastest SSD just work at full speed in my pc regardless of the hardware I have?

 

Thanks again

JEDEC Jedi
targetbsp
Posts: 7,460
Registered: ‎08-27-2009
1

Re: Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

in reply to Flying_Squirrel

google suggests the Intel H57 chipset you have is sata 3 so it should run SSD's at full speed.  You would want the computer in AHCI mode (in the bios) for top speed.  if it's currently IDE/ATA mode then you'd need to make this Windows change BEFORE the bios change: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922976

 

Aside from the above potential bios change for performance reasons, you just plug it in as any other hard drive.  Do note that the drives are not pre-formatted and this is a task normally done by the Windows installer or cloning program so you will need to initialize the drive to use it as a secondary harddrive like so: http://forum.crucial.com/t5/Solid-State-Drives-SSD-Knowledge/How-to-initialize-your-SSD-Windows/ta-p...

 

With regards to shrinking your OS drive to fit on an SSD, if you have a good chunk of free space on your current drive then it's possible otherwise it's a bit unrealistic.

If you have the space though, do the following:

take a backup!

shrink the OS partition using partition software (I use http://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html)

create a new partition in that space

move some apps/data into that partition

shrink the os partition further into the newly cleared space

enlarge the second partition

move more data across

repeat until the OS partition is small enough.

 

then:

clone the OS across

unplug hard disk and make sure the computer boots just from the SSD

reconnect the hard disk, delete the old OS partition and resize the data partition to fill the drive

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Kilobyte Kid
Flying_Squirrel
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎07-01-2013
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Re: Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

in reply to targetbsp

Sorry for the delayed reply, I have been battling a nasty cold and am feeling good enough to work on the pc again. Anyway, thanks a ton for your help, it is immensely useful and detailed. You're the best!

 

Your idea for splitting up the OS / data is great. I will strongly consider doing this. I just realized that my HDD has two partitions. It has C: but also has D: "factory image". Not sure what I would need to do as far as cloning this and moving things around. Maybe that partition manager you linked to would handle it automatically, but I haven't looked yet. Any suggestions there would be appreciated.

 

Otherwise, thanks for your other advice and I will have to ponder what I will do (the split and clone, or just the original idea of programs on SSD as secondary)

 

- Matt

JEDEC Jedi
targetbsp
Posts: 7,460
Registered: ‎08-27-2009
0

Re: Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

in reply to Flying_Squirrel

I don't have much experience dealing with factory reset partitions. :smileysad:

They serve as a way to reinstall the computer without a Windows disc.

If you have no Windows CD it makes things more complicated as you would need to clone the factory partition and your Windows partition to the SSD and the recovery itself would likley need some minimum amount of space to function which may or may not be more than the space than on the SSD...

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Kilobyte Kid
Flying_Squirrel
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎07-01-2013
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Re: Can I install and run applications on SSD if my OS is on an HDD

in reply to targetbsp

No problem. Well thanks for all of your help, this has me in the right direction! :smileyhappy: