I am very satisfied with my workhorse, an HP ProBook 470 G5 laptop. It comes with a 128 GB M4 SSD and 1 TB HDD. Having relocated the complete Users folder (all user profiles) since the Vista era to another partition (tutorial), away from the C: drive, I have had no problems in running Windows installed on a small SSD. Currently, the Users folder on this laptop resides on drive E: on the HDD. In addition, I install all software on drive D: on that same HDD. Currently, with over 70 GB of software installed and over 400 GB in my user profile folders, my C: partition on the 128 GB SSD still has 68 GB free.
Alongside my host Windows installation on SSD, I have been using Windows 10 for dual and multiboot on a native boot VHD stored on the HDD:
As you know, a native boot VHD when booted acts and behaves just like any physical installation, using the host physical hardware and devices. Read more about Native Boot in another Win10.guru story. Compared to booting to Windows on SSD, of course the boot time on VHD boot is somewhat longer, but other than that, I have been surprised to see that, forgetting boot / restart times, in actual use of Windows, I do not see any significant differences or performance losses. Windows 10 on HDD would for sure be OK for me.
I am a keen Hyper-V user. Here at Win10.guru, I have described how using Differencing Disks in Hyper-V can help to save storage space and make virtualization somewhat simpler. Last week, I wrote a complete tutorial on Ten Forums about Differencing Disks, and when writing it, I thought that I could actually move my Windows 10 from SSD to HDD, and use that SSD for so called parent disks, store the parent VHD files on it. A parent VHD contains the base Windows installation, and child VHD then all user data, settings, profiles and so on.Having the parent disk on SSD, and child disk on HDD greatly affects the speed of Hyper-V VM, compared to VM with Windows completely installed on VHD on HDD:
I was only able to upgrade the laptop this morning to Fast Ring Insider build 18970, released last week. For me, the build is buggy. First, it took ages to upgrade, then I have all kind of issues with Settings app, Cortana and Search, and Edge. I believe these issues will be fixed with a clean install. I decided to build a fresh, new deployment image in MDT (Win10.guru MDT guides), and deploy 18970 as a clean install to this laptop. While creating the MDT Task Sequence to be used, I suddenly decided that the time has come: I will deploy Windows to HDD, and reserve the small SSD for Hyper-V parent virtual hard disk files. It has enough space to allow storing multiple parent disks, for different Windows 10 editions and versions (typical W10 parent VHD is less than 10 GB). It also leaves me enough space to use SSD for Mount folder, I regularly mount various Windows images for offline servicing.
So, that’s the plan. I do not care if the laptop boot time goes from 30 seconds to over a minute; I mean, how often do I boot? I do not care if opening Word takes half a second longer. For me, it is more important to get my virtual machines to work faster. Storing parent disks on SSD, I’ll achieve that.
I might redeploy tonight, I might do it next weekend, but I will most definitely move Windows to HDD: I will tell how it went when it’s all done. Stay tuned: this should be quite interesting!
EDIT: I did it, here’s more about how it went: Moving Windows from SSD to HDD Part 2 – Did it work?
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.