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Reformatting a Windows 10 PC

  Legslip 22:53 01 Feb 2018

I have a PC with a 120gb SSD and a 500gb SATA drive. Over time the SSD has become clogged and slow. How can I reinstall Win 10 only on the SSD and set the default location for all programmes and files to the SATA? I just want Win 10 only on the SSD.

  beeuuem~2 00:19 02 Feb 2018

Programmes are normally are installed to the C: drive.

To free up space on your SSD if you have lots of data such as photos, music, videos etc., these can be moved to the other drive. This guide click here tells you how to do this.

  AroundAgain 01:06 02 Feb 2018

I have Windows 10 on a 32Gb hard drive and 128Gb microSD card. I currently have 11Gb free on C:\ (32Gb) so you can appreciate I've looked into this too.

You can do a clean install of Windows 10 using the Media Creation Tool from here - click here also need to be sure to have your drivers to re-install if necessary

It's my understanding that all MS programs/apps will only install on C:\, with no opportunity to select an alternate drive. However, non-MS programs/apps may give you a choice, so watch out for that.

As beeuuem~2 has already mentioned, all your general data, music, videos etc can be stored on D:\ and you can set the default drive for downloading etc accordingly.

I suggest you look into how to move the 'default' folders, ie Documents, Music, Videos to another location, ie D:\ by going to Properties. I need to mention that I tried this and got in a muddle so just did another re-installation and started again.

The other thing you could research is using Symbolic links, which I have in place but I'm not convinced they are doing what they should so I can't actually recommend using them but you might like to research and make up your own mind about them. At the end of the day, if they don't work, or you get in a middle, you can re-install Windows ... and start all over again ;) Fortunately, my little 2-in-1 that has only 32Gb isn't my main machine ;)

Do please keep this thread updated so others can learn of your experience etc. Good luck ;)


  Legslip 01:28 02 Feb 2018

Thanks good people. Excellent guidance it would be nice, I think, to keep the SAD purely for Windows and perhaps another drive for programmes and a further drive for user files. I have plenty of drive bays. Perhaps I'm going over the top?

  Legslip 01:29 02 Feb 2018

Should say SSD!!

  beeuuem~2 02:56 02 Feb 2018

I'm a belt and braces man !

My preference is to have the OS on a separate partition - and keep backups.

I have W10 on a 60Gb partition of a 240Gb SSD and with all programs ( and I have a reasonable number) it occupies about 22Gb so there is plenty of free space.

W7 and XP (for running old programs !) and My Documents and Pictures on other separate partitions on the SSD.

For backups I use Macrium Reflect rather then the Windows back up so that is turned off and not taking space on the SSD.

The page file for W10 can be quite large so that is on a HDD along with videos, music, downloads etc. These can - and do - take up a lot of space but don't need to be on an SSD.

Although I appreciate not everyone approves of partitioning, it does mean if the OS has has a problem and needs to be reinstalled or restored no personal data, pictures, emails etc. are lost.

  alanrwood 10:39 02 Feb 2018

As far as I am aware SSDs do not slow down. Access is not like a spinner. An SSD can access any data fro anywhere at the same speed.

I stand to be corrected.

  beeuuem~2 12:05 02 Feb 2018


I don't think they slow down in quite the same way that a full and fragmented HDD would when there is a mechanical component involved in the search for free space.

That said, apparently there can be some degradation in performance if the SSD is getting near full -click here

  alanrwood 12:54 02 Feb 2018


I stand corrected. Many thanks. I have learned something today.

  beeuuem~2 13:41 02 Feb 2018

@alanrwood You and me both !

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 14:02 02 Feb 2018

Its always best to keep some spare space on your system drive as windows updates use a lot of space while doing the update and especially during a big update such as the CU and FCU where they create a windows .old file for 10 days so you can revert if necessary so the 70% rule remaind valid.

I have a 128GB SSD containing the system reserve, widows system and programs that will only install in the program files folder, recovery tools. These have used about 35 GB.

Have used symlinks to the user folders data stored on the internal HDD MAricium Reflect free images (3 of each) of the SSD and HDD are stored on external drives.

I am considering deleting all my music and audio files as it is now uploaded to Google music that will save me a lot more space and make future images smaller as well.

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