Don’t Move that Users folder!

Posted in Storage, Uncategorized by QuietOC on March 2, 2010

The SSD Dilemma

I recently purchased a 60 GB OCZ Agility SSD for our main system at home. It certainly has plenty of room for Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2007, Adobe Creative Suite, and a few Steam games. Of course, it doesn’t have enough room for our pictures, videos, or music, but I also have a new 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 hard drive ready to store those files.

Moving C:\Users Via the Registry

I installed the SSD last week, and we already had a few files stored on the C:\User\ folders on the SSD. There are a few ways to automatically store files on another drive. One seemingly simple way is by editing the Windows registry to point the User profiles directory to another drive. While this works for new user profiles, it doesn’t actually move the existing profiles.

The Process

The directions are fairly simple: modify a few registry settings and then make a temporary administrator account. Log into the temporary account and move all the contents of C:\Users to the location you changed the registry to point to. Delete the old user accounts and everything in C:\Users. Rename the moved old user folders–their contents will have to be moved to newly created user folders after the next step.  Create new users with the old user names, this will make new user folders on the hard drive. Copy the contents of the old renamed user folders into the new user folders, and finally delete the old renamed user folders.

The Problems

Now all of your old C:\User files are now located on the hard drive. The question is, is this what we really want? Now if the hard drive dies or is removed you will no longer be able to even login to Windows. Plus many of the files in the User folder are regularly accessed and thus should be on the fast SSD. Also some things just don’t transfer properly into the new user accounts, and there is no good way to undo the move. So, moving C:\Users is not recommended.

The Better Alternative

Don’t mess with the registry and just leave C:\Users and the user profile folders on the SSD. Instead use Microsoft’s option to move the user subfolders to other locations. Change the “Location” in the properties of the special subfolders of the user accounts on the SSD to point to other folders on the hard drive. while this will need to be done for each subfolder in each user folder, it has an advantage that multiple users can use the same hard drive folder. And Windows will also boot just fine without access to those folders, since the required profile information it needs remains on the SSD in C:\Users.

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Budget Dual Core Battle: Athlon II 240 vs. Pentium Dual-Core E5200

Posted in CPU, Uncategorized by QuietOC on February 26, 2010

Computers have quickly gone from single processor cores into multiple cores, but most software still doesn’t benefit from the extra cores. Still the dual core processor has become standard for PCs, and, yes, two cores are beneficial in ways not measured by most benchmarks mostly by more smoothly handling background tasks.

Both AMD and Intel sell dual core processors that cost more than their cheapest quad core processors. That doesn’t mean there is a good reason to buy a $300 Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 or even a $100 AMD Phenom II X2 555. There are much cheaper deals for basically the same thing–specifically the Pentium Dual-Core and the Athlon II X2. (more…)

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The $150 Budget Desktop PC

Posted in Uncategorized by QuietOC on February 13, 2010

So you want a really cheap but decent performing system. Perhaps you have seen $1000 budget computer buying guides or maybe even $500 buying guides. Well, those are all too expensive. There is actually quite of bit of choice for components for a $150 system. Of course we can’t include the monitor, Windows, or even the keyboard or mouse. In fact we may be dumpster diving to scrounge up an old case and an optical drive, but probably you already have those. If you do check out the dumpsters you may find a whole working PC, but it will probably won’t be one you will want to use. So let’s look for some new components! (more…)

The Evolution of the Microsoft/Intel Netbook: Three generations of mini Windows laptops

Posted in Uncategorized by QuietOC on February 12, 2010

The Eee PC 1000 and Gateway EC18 form factors

A couple of years ago I was shopping for something simple to take notes on during class and for writing in general. I remembered seeing people use small keyboards with PDAs to take class notes. So I first thought of getting a PDA and a keyboard. A few PDAs were still available, but they weren’t all that cheap, and I also discovered that keyboards for PDAs were actually pretty expensive. However, I found out about another type of device that Microsoft had developed called the Handheld PC. Handheld PCs (HPCs) were basically PDA electronics in a mini notebook form factor. I soon purchased one of the last HPCs, a used NEC Mobile Pro 900C.

NEC Mobile Pro 900C running Cmonex v2

NEC Mobile Pro 900C running Cmonex v2

A few months later ASUS released the original Eee PC on the unsuspecting world market. I wasn’t too envious of ASUS’s new device, but there is something to be said for x86 compatibility. What I really wanted though was x86 Windows compatibility–the first Eee PCs shipped with Linux. I did find my old NEC useful mainly due to its active user community and upgradeable firmware. I was soon running a user-modified OS that allowed most newer Window Mobile apps to run alongside older software on the device.


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