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2,862 Tutorials

Answer Line: Move data files from an SSD to a hard drive

PoloTiger has a solid state drive and a hard drive, and the SSD is near full. What's the best way to both move data files to the hard drive?

PoloTiger has both a solid state drive and a hard drive, and the SSD is almost full. What's the best way to both move data files to the hard drive and make Windows understand that that's where they belong?

[Email your tech questions to [email protected] or post them on the PCW Answer Line forum.]

You're doing the right thing. To my mind, putting Windows and your programs on an SSD, and your data files on a traditional hard drive, gives you the best balance of speed and storage space. See The Best of Both Worlds: An SSD and a HDD for details.

But that earlier article failed to address how to move your documents, music, and other data files to the hard drive. I'm making up for that here.

I'm starting out with three assumptions about your computer. First, that you've currently got everything--Windows, programs, and your libraries--on your SSD. Second, you're running either Windows 7 or 8. And finally, that the SSD is drive C:, and the hard drive D:. If I'm guessing wrong about the drive letter, simply adjust the instructions below accordingly.

Start by opening your user profile folder. In Windows 7, click Start, then click your logon name in the upper-right corner of the Start menu. If you're using Windows 8, open File Explorer, click the long field just below the ribbon (it probably says "Libraries"), type %userprofile%, and press ENTER.

Once there, move your Documents folder: Right-click My Documents and select Properties. Click the Location tab. Change the location, basically replacing "C:\Users" with d:\. In other words, if the line reads C:\Users\PoloTiger\Documents, change it to D:\PoloTiger\Documents.

When you click OK, you'll have to confirm a few things, and yes, you do want to move the files. Windows will move them, but be patient--it could take awhile.

Repeat with any other folders you want to move, such as Music, Pictures, and Videos.

One problematic folder is AppData, which you won't even see unless you've told Windows to show you hidden files and folders. You don't really want to move AppData, because that confuses Windows.

However, you can move the AppData\Local folder, and that probably contains most of the files in AppData. From inside your user profile folder, click the address bar near the top of the window. It will probably say something like C:\Users\yourlogon. Simply add \appdata to that and press ENTER. Then right-click the Local folder and change the location as described above.

Read the original forum discussion.

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