Size Problems: a PC with a tiny SSD

GoJeff!

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I am primarily a Mac person, but needed a PC for some finance stuff and some Excel VBA crap. After fighting with bootcamp for too long, I ended up buying a super cheap HP notebook.

When I bought it, I knew it had a tiny 32 GB SSD drive, but figured I would have very few applications on it, and could save everything to dropbox or a low profile flash drive.

I've ended up loving the notebook (tbh, the keyboard and screen suck compared to my Macs, but it was about 1/8th the price), but the lack of storage space has ended up being a pretty big issue. I have a near-empty flash drive on E, but it seems like Windows 10 wants enough things on the C drive that it is always full or nearly full.

Is there an easy way around this? I'd rather not pull the SSD and install a larger one unless absolutely necessary. I've already deleted/uninstalled/removed everything I possibly can from the C drive. If I could just have Office and maybe another application install to E I'd be fine. Or is there some way to combine the drives to a single virtual drive?
 

Harry Hooper

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I know you're not eager, but you can grab an Intel 256 GB SSD for $70. A 128 GB drive can be had for even less.
 

Couperin47

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Considering Win 10 requires as an absolute minimum either 16 (32 bit) or 20 Gig (64 bit) it's criminal to sell any Win 10 laptop with less than a 64 Gig drive, especially considering the difference in cost is virtually nil, especially since absolutely no one buys 32 Gig SSDs anymore, at retail the difference is around $10-15 in the 2nd rate brands you still find for sale.
 

Hoodie Sleeves

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Do you know what the problem directories are?

There are a bunch of things that windows requires to be on the root/C drive (basically anything that is shared between multiple components). That doesn't mean they have to be on the same physical drive though - you can use some creative symlinks to move things around. (and if its got a dvd drive, and you don't use it, you can get cheap hdd caddies that replace the cd drive)

Personally, I'd just replace the drive. 32gb is ridiculous.
 

GoJeff!

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It's an HP 14-an012nr. Since I've already gotten rid of hibernation, I guess I'll just buy a 240gb SSD.
I agree on 32 being ridiculous. I have almost nothing on this computer.
 

Couperin47

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It can be done, the process is a bit convoluted as the eMMC ssd is a surface mount chip device, but it's not on the mb itself and with extra components it can be replaced (bracket & cable) with a SATA drive.

The details are here:
https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/457911/Upgrade+eMMC+storage+in+this+laptop

Then use decent clone software to backup to an external device, clone to your newly installed reasonable size ssd and change boot order.
 

GoJeff!

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One other question: Do I clone to an external drive, install the SSD and clone onto it, or install the SSD first and just clone from the existing eMMC SSD?
 

Couperin47

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Can I add a second? My understanding was that it has a single channel board, meaning I’d need a single 8 gb module.
It has 2 memory slots, you can add a 2nd 4 Gig module. In everything from Win 7 to 10, there is a significant measurable increase in OS performance by increasing ram over 4 Gig, after 8 the gain decreases such that 6-8 is the 'sweet spot'. After that more memory really only matters to certain programs: example if you do a ton of Photoshop work on large files, the ability to keep each image entirely in ram makes a huge difference.

Single channel means the memory in the 2 slots is not interleaved and using 2 channels to communicate with the chipset, which increases performance and is 'standard' on virtually all desktop implementations. What this does allow is for the memory in the 2 slots to be unequal without any loss of existing performance, you could put an 8 Gig module in the 2nd slot, but the practical difference between 8 and 12 would not be noticeable aside from benchmarks.

Installing the larger ssd requires you remove the board where the eMMC resides, so your 2nd scenario is not an option. You have to make the backup/clone file to something external first. Then clone to the new ssd after booting from usb or optical into the cloning software. Alternative: produce backup/clone file onto some sort of media, take it to some other desktop Windows machine, attach the new ssd to that machine, run the clone software to move that image onto the ssd, then it's ready to install on your laptop. Enter setup and point it to boot from the new ssd.
 
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GoJeff!

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It has 2 memory slots, you can add a 2nd 4 Gig module. In everything from Win 7 to 10, there is a significant measurable increase in OS performance by increasing ram over 4 Gig, after 8 the gain decreases such that 6-8 is the 'sweet spot'. After that more memory really only matters to certain programs: example if you do a ton of Photoshop work on large files, the ability to keep each image entirely in ram makes a huge difference.

Single channel means the memory in the 2 slots is not interleaved and using 2 channels to communicate with the chipset, which increases performance and is 'standard' on virtually all desktop implementations. What this does allow is for the memory in the 2 slots to be unequal without any loss of existing performance, you could put an 8 Gig module in the 2nd slot, but the practical difference between 8 and 12 would not be noticeable aside from benchmarks.

Installing the larger ssd requires you remove the board where the eMMC resides, so your 2nd scenario is not an option. You have to make the backup/clone file to something external first. Then clone to the new ssd after booting from usb or optical into the cloning software. Alternative: produce backup/clone file onto some sort of media, take it to some other desktop Windows machine, attach the new ssd to that machine, run the clone software to move that image onto the ssd, then it's ready to install on your laptop. Enter setup and point it to boot from the new ssd.
Thanks. This was very helpful.
 

bohous

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I hope it's ok to pile on to this thread as I'm in the market for either a W10 notebook or Chromebook for my 10yo daughter and looking for feedback. A Chromebook fills most of her needs (homework and Youtube) but understand the advantages of a more robust OS with a Windows machine. I have not used Chromebooks much beyond setting one up for my wife's grandmother but I like the idea of instant boot time and not dealing with the bloat and constant updates of Windows. What is the performance like with these budget W10 notebooks? Any other pitfalls of a Chromebook besides lack of storage and offline capabilities?
 

GoJeff!

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One follow up question:
I’ve added the memory and the SSD, and everything works. However, the SSD connector I used goes to an unused CD connector on the motherboard. Should I get a connector that instead plugs into where the eMMC used to connect? Or is the performance difference negligible on a system like this?

I currently have the eMMC disconnected because bios would not let me automatically boot from the SSD (I can use f9 to boot from the SSD with both connected).
 

Couperin47

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One follow up question:
I’ve added the memory and the SSD, and everything works. However, the SSD connector I used goes to an unused CD connector on the motherboard. Should I get a connector that instead plugs into where the eMMC used to connect? Or is the performance difference negligible on a system like this?

I currently have the eMMC disconnected because bios would not let me automatically boot from the SSD (I can use f9 to boot from the SSD with both connected).
I think you have already answered your own question. Connected to the eMMC sata connector no one else is reporting you can't boot from it, and it's also very likely performance will be much improved. Also since you clone the eMMC with both connected you now have 2 drives both formatted as active primary with hidden system partitions used to boot...Windows doesn't much like this, though I'm not sure exactly how Win 10 and the BIOS of this laptop interact....