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Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I've always put some of my software on other drives than the one that Windows is on.

But when I set up Windows 10 I decided to keep the install small and not put any of my software in the Program Files of Program Files (x86) folders.

I installed all my software in a folder on another drive, i.e. D:\Windows 10 Software\Photoshop.

With the exception of a few things that just install in the folders on C:\ by default or that are very small I have installed all my software in that folder.

The result is that a full image backup of my Windows 10 drive is only about 18 Gigabytes.
And it only takes about 15 minutes to either make one or restore from it.

I've already created 9 image files (I still have 4 saved) of my Windows 10 install, and I've restored it 4 times, when I messed things up.

When I do the real install I'm going to keep my C:\ drive as small as possible.

I will make a backup every week, or before making any radical changes to my computer.

I should have done this years ago, I don't know why I didn't.
But backing up hundreds of gigs of stuff was such a hassle, this makes it a lot easier.

I know that most people probably figured this out a long time ago, but I finally got the message.



Noob Whisperer
Sounds like a plan.
Many of us adopted a similar strategy when we moved from spinners to SSDs as the drive hosting our Operating System because of the smaller size restriction.
I even went so far as to re-create the exact data structure on my D:\ drive.
D:\Program Files
D:\Program Files (x86)
Everything gets installed there by just changing the install path from C to D in the installer and leaving the rest alone.
And then I also built
and inside that
And then used "Move" utility under folder properties, location tab to relocate all my defaults to the new data structure (documents, videos, music, pictures, etc.,).
It's vital that you do not change or delete the data structure on C:\ as that results in problems with upgrades and the like.
Now my C:\ ssd backs up and restores using Acronis in about 7 minutes or so as an image


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Hi Trouble

When I get to doing the real Windows 10 install, I'll talk to you about moving the Users file.
The Users file can get pretty big if you are a gamer, because many modern games place all the saves in the Users directory.

In fact I moved most of my saves for Skyrim from my Users folder because they were using over 10 Gb.
I left only the recent ones.



Senior Member
I've done that before when I had my very first SSD which is only a 120GB one. I was trying to save space. But I realized 2 things:

1. What am I saving the space for? The OS is only 25-30GB. And all my files go to a spinner. So, what am I gonna use the rest of the space for? Then I decided that I will use the same SSD for all my programs (I don't do games on PC).

2. If I want to install my programs to another drive, then it should also be an SSD. Otherwise, installing an OS on an SSD is useless if all your programs are loading up from a spinner. You are totally not taking advantage of the speed factor of the SSD by doing that.

As long as your data goes to a separate drive, 120GB is plenty for the OS and programs. And everything will load up very fast.

Right now my SSD is about 70GB and image backup is created in about 3 minutes (using Macrium).


Edit: I am aware that you are not talking about SSD here, but I am just sharing why one should put both OS and Programs on the same SSD.

Last edited:


Noob Whisperer
You are totally not taking advantage of the speed factor of the SSD by doing that.
That is, in all likelihood, very true.
I can only say that in my personal experience I notice no performance degradation when opening any program installed as described. Even my techie friends who actually understand what I've done have remarked about the performance being exceptional.
I'm certain that there is some, I have no doubt about it, but it is evidently so negligible as to be all but invisible (to me). If it was slow and sucked I would have reversed it long before now.

Now games on the other hand might be a deal breaker, but I have no worthwhile experience to share regarding that as I'm not a gamer.


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I think some of it has to do with where the page file is.
If the page file is on the SSD then you are going to take advantage to the SSDs speed when file swapping.

One thing I notice in Windows 10 is that some software opens slower.
Not a big deal as long as they run fast.

I think it has to do with Windows 10 not preloading a lot of stuff, I only have one entry active in my Startup options.
That's the one that starts Rocketdock.

With games they are so big now that I haven't installed any of them on my C:\ drive in a long time, some are almost 30 gigabytes all by themselves without saves etc.

My games drive is about 230 gigabytes.

But next time I'm not going to install my graphic arts software on C:\ either.

My present computer is only about a year old, but when I get a new one I'll go the SSD route.
Maybe by then the data disks can be SSDs too.

I assume that sooner or later they are going to take over from conventional hard drives.


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