After my article Storing Data on Drives Other Than C:, I received some suggestions and feedback from readers:
First, some feedback and a suggestion from subscriber Mike Dunn, who wrote to say:
Hi Terry When I build a system I always split the drive into at least 2 drives generally make the c drive about 40GB. Load most applications on the C drive but set all data directories to the D drive. Also move the My documents directory to the D Drive. This ensures the C drive can be srubbed at any time with no data lost only application programs. I also set the CD/DVD drive as the z drive as this insures that any usb drives etc to not end up swapping places with the CD/DVD drive. Great pages Terry always find something interesting. Mike
Mike’s got a great idea on setting the CD/DVD drive to use another letter. Sometimes, when you hook up a flash drive to your USB connection, Windows will move the assigned drive letter for the CD/DVD drive. Since the drive letter for the CD/DVD drive is set when you boot the computer, this probably happens when you reboot while leaving the flash drive connected to the USB port.
Subscriber Tom also wrote with comments on splitting the operating system from the program and/or data files:
I have read "Separate Your Data from the Operating System For A More Effective Backup Strategy" and "Separating Data from Program Files", but what is really needed is the meat of how to do this. Sure, you can setup folders in the D: drive (or whatever drive you choose), but Windows by default has marked certain folders as "My Documents", "My Pictures", etc.
How does one go about changing all of those so "all" programs naturally find your new locations without you jumping through hoops each time to select your alternate locations on D:? There must be some "registry" edits we can do that will now have these default locations to be on D:.
I would like information on XP and VISTA.
I wrote back to Tom to tell him that he must be psychic. It’s coming, as is information on a free partition management software which can non-destructively resize your C: partition without forcing deletion, creation of smaller partitions, installation of Windows, etc. I used it with my Windows 7 notebook.
You can do it either way – setting up your own data storage folders that are not tied to My Documents , My Music, etc. (which has certain security advantages). Or, you can change Windows settings to point My Documents (which contains My Music, etc. in XP) to another folder on another drive.
Even though this is easy to do, describing it will really benefit from some screen-shots, too.
See How To Change Your My Documents Location for more information and related screen prints.