Monday, December 27, 2010

Keep Your SSD Windows 7 Installation Under Control

Try to find more places to save room, hopefully keeping your SSD from filling up too fast. Because many Windows operations for installing new programs, creating temp files, and saving work default to the drive where you installed Windows, it’s very easy to fill up a smaller SSD even if you store the majority of your data on a separate hard drive. You need an ongoing strategy to keep your OS drive slim and trim.

Restore Space With System Restore
Introduced several Windows versions ago, System Restore can be a true lifesaver when a Registry mishap, destructive virus, or bad program/driver install whacks your system. It has saved us more than once from a full Windows reinstallation. However, this tool is also a space hog.

To manage the space System Restore occupies, start by right-clicking Computer in your Start menu and opening Properties. In the task pane to the left, click System Protection. This brings up the System Properties window and the System Protection tab. You will see that by default your root drive has System Restore protection set to On. Although there are some users who turn off System Restore entirely because they feel that it impairs performance and takes up too much space, this strategy is hard to recommend unless you really are ready to reinstall the OS if things go terribly wrong. Instead, we recommend you contain disk usage.

Click Configure to open System Protection for the highlighted drive. You can disable System Restore completely by using the radio buttons. Alternatively, you can see and adjust how much of your root drive is being reserved for System Restore. Our 80GB SSD had 5% (or 3.73GB) of space committed to this tool, with 3.25GB used. Keep in mind that this disk space also contains what Windows calls Shadow Copies of files. These are the earlier versions of data files you can also restore individually when you right-click a given file and select the Restore Previous Versions command.

How much of your drive should you devote to restore points and shadow copies? In our case, that 3.25GB contained at least 11 restore points. To see how many you have, open System Restore (type the term in the Start search box). At the opening screen, click Next. The window only shows the most recent saved points, but if you check the box in the lower left labeled “Show More Restore Points,” you’ll see many more. This may give you a better sense of how to set your sliders for keeping restore points. If you are fairly certain that your system is very stable, then you might want to use the option in the System Protection dialog box to delete all restore points. If you click this button, you will see your current usage drop to zero, although you won’t be able to use any restore points.

Save Files Elsewhere
Any Windows installation also brings with it a built-in file directory on the OS drive that saves files to that disk by default. We’ve never liked keeping documents within the Windows file structure, because we don’t know what will happen to them if the OS goes bad. Keeping data in one or more folders on a separate data drive is not only safer, but in this case it can save space. In our test system we have used a few tricks to ensure that most files go off the root drive.

In the Start search box, type Libraries to bring up the collection of default Library file locations, as well as your Favorites. In Win7, Libraries are the new file organization system that gathers docs, music, image, and video data from multiple locations into a single access point. This is where you can customize default file saving. In the left pane, highlight Documents, for instance. In the right pane under Documents Library, click the link for “X location.” The number of locations this Library gathers will depend on how many folder locations you may have included. This brings up Documents Library Locations dialog box. Use the Add button to add a new location to the Library.

In our case, we created folders on our mass storage drive (not the SDD) to contain different file types. Browse to the location where you want the documents saved and click the Include Folder button to add it to the Library. To make that folder the default location for saving files for that category, right-click the new location and use the Set As Default File Location command. You can just delete the location entry that refers to the root drive so that the option to save files to that drive won’t appear when your Library box opens. (By the way, all of the changes and customizations you make here in the Libraries window will also appear in any Save As window in other programs.) You can also rightclick your most commonly used folder for a given file type and use the Move Up command to make that target location the first one to appear when you open a Library.

Don’t Forget The Browser
Many SSD owners want to optimize program launches by installing their most-used applications to the root drive. At the same time, it’s not necessary to clutter your root drive with the downloads that Web browsers gather. Firefox, for example, saves files to your root drive by default. To change this, use the Tools menu and open Options. On the General tab, use the Downloads section to target a folder off of the SSD.

Also in Firefox, you can relocate where the browser stores its cache of images and content from the sites you frequent. Type about:config in Firefox’s address bar to access the advanced settings. Right-click an open space, point to New, and click String. This opens a New String Value dialog box, in which you should type browser.cache.disk.parent_directory and click OK. The next dialog box asks for you to set the value. Enter a folder name on the hard drive where you want the cache to be located. This can be a new folder; Firefox will create it for you. Click OK again and close all open browser windows. The change will take effect when you restart.

Source of Information :  Computer Power User (CPU) December 2010   
Keep Your SSD Windows 7 Installation Under ControlSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "Keep Your SSD Windows 7 Installation Under Control"

Post a Comment