In this article we’ll detail how to make Windows 7/8 use a different drive for storing documents, pictures, music, and more. This is especially useful if your notebook is equipped with more than one storage drive.
What You’ll Need To Get Started
This guide is designed for beginners through advanced users, and applies to computers running the following operating systems:
- Windows 7 (32/64-bit)
- Windows 8 (32/64-bit)
- Windows 8.1 (32/64-bit)
Do I Have Two Storage Drives?
The easiest way to answer the question above is to look at your Computer (if you already know, you can skip to the next section). When logged in to Windows, press the Windows + [E]keys simultaneously on your keyboard to open Windows Explorer and view the available storage drives.
The C:\ drive in this image is the primary drive where Windows is installed; the D:\ drive is a secondary storage drive. Note that most computers don’t have two storage drives, although some larger notebooks do. It’s also possible to add a second internal storage drive to some laptops by replacing the optical drive (DVD/CD drive) with a caddy that holds a storage drive.
Realistically you’ll only want to follow the advice in this guide provided you have two dedicated internal storage drives (not external USB-connected drives).
Why Map to a Second Drive?
A standard computer usually has one storage drive, and the Windows operating system, programs, and personal files are kept on it. The biggest risk here is that data and programs need to be removed and replaced if the operating system must be reinstalled or the drive crashes. With a two-drive setup, the operating system can be installed on one drive and the programs and files on another; reinstalling the operating system becomes no big deal.
In today’s age of Solid State Drives (SSDs), a two-drive setup is even more advantageous because you can be more economical and buy a smaller SSD for the primary drive and use a large inexpensive hard drive for secondary storage.
Mapping Your Documents, Pictures, Music, and More
Open Windows Explorer (press the Windows + [E]keys simultaneously). First create a corresponding folder on your secondary drive; you can do this by clicking on the drive in the left-hand pane of Windows Explorer. Once the drive’s open, right-click in any white space and click New Folder.
Give your new folder an obvious name like Music or Pictures, depending on the folder you want to map. Now to map the folder; in Windows 8 (as shown here) you’ll see This PC listed in the left-hand pane; expand it by clicking the arrow to the left of it.
(Windows 7 is a little different; you’ll see Libraries listed in the same place; expand a library by clicking the arrow to the left of it and then you’ll see the included folders; it’s these you’ll be mapping.)
Beneath this you’ll see Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders. We’ll use Pictures in this example. Right-click on your Pictures library and click Properties; when the window opens, click the Locationtab. This will show you where the folder is currently pointing.
To change it, press the Move button and select the folder you created above. In this image, we’ve moved the Pictures folder to the D:\ drive.
Click the Applybutton when finished. If Windows doesn’t move your existing files and folders over for you, be sure to copy them.
In this article we covered the essentials of mapping folders over to a new drive. It be advantageous to map existing folders to a secondary storage drive for a number of reasons: It helps minimize risks (you’re no longer dependent on one drive) and can help you be more economical should you decide to go with a primary SSD and a secondary hard drive; the SSD can be smaller because you don’t need as much storage space.
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