13" macbook pro (2009), optibay 2nd hard drive (SSD), OSX, and bootcamp (windows 7)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by thesmoth, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. thesmoth macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2008
    I currently have a 320 gig hard drive with a 60 gig windows 7 boot camp partition (with VMware fusion for virtualization). I rarely use my windows 7 partition, and infact haven't booted to in in nearly a year. I have it just incase there is a program I need for work that is not compatible with OSX and so far that hasn't been an issue.

    I've ordered an optibay off ebay to convert my superdrive to a second hard drive, which I got a 120 gig intel GEN3 SSD for. My plan is to keep in the original HD in the regular HD slot (to keep the SMS working), and I will put the SSD in the optibay. I will then install OSX on the SSD as my main boot drive, wipe the old HD and use it for backups, extra files, videos, iphoto library, and itunes library. This way I can keep my main drive with applications on the SSD (takes up about 50-60 gigs) and then have another 60 or so gigs free for downloads and such. I will move most downloads to the regular SSD as I go to make sure the SSD doesn't get filled.

    Now I would like to have a windows 7 bootcamp parition, but the SSD seems too small. All of the windows 7 bootcamp partitions i've made seem to need to be at least 50 gigs, cause anything smaller gets bloated up even with nothing installed but windows 7 and google chrome (everytime I check back it gets bigger even when i'm not using it). For this reason I don't think having the windows 7 partition on my SSD is a good idea. I would like to create a partition on the 320 gig hard drive for the windows 7 drive (50 gigs), and use the rest for storage/backups/downloads, etc... I realize having the windows 7 boot drive on the SSD would be much faster, but as I said I rarely use VMware fusion and windows 7 so i'm not too worried. I suppose I could spare 25 gigs for a windows 7 bootcamp partition on the SSD, but based on previous experiences that seems too small (maybe I could squeeze out 30 gigs and just do all of my downloading directly to the second HDD and not on the SSD). Any thoughts on this?

    Is it possible for me to do this and have a bootcamp partition on the second hard drive that is NOT my main boot drive (the SSD is the main boot drive). Also, if I am using VMware fusion from my OSX drive (the SSD) to access the boot camp windows 7 drive (second HD) will this work? Should I just eat the space loss and throw a 30 gig windows 7 partition on the SSD, and then with my ~60 gig operating size of my OSX partition have about 30 gigs overhead space on the SSD for regular OSX operations, and then do downloads directly to the second HDD to keep the SSD from filling up?

    I was planning on cloning my existing 50 gig windows 7 boot camp drive and then restoring it on a new partition on the HD once I format and do all of this (I have another 2TB external drive for time machine and backups), but I suppose I could delete everything on it to get it as small as I can, and then clone it and put it on the SSD in an appropriately sized partition (hopefully around 30 gigs if I can free up enough space on it).

    Does this all sound feasible, and if not any suggestions on how best to do it? I can't afford a 240 gig SSD ($200 for the 120 gig was high enough).
  2. FluJunkie macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2007
    Can I ask, what kind of programs are we talking about? Could you get away with *just* a VM version of Windows 7, and skipping Bootcamp entirely, or do you need access to your system's full resources?
  3. thesmoth thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 7, 2008
    Hmmm, never used a VM version of windows 7, how does that work? Just much slower? How much space used up?
  4. footswitch, Aug 3, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011

    footswitch macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2011
    You can have several operating systems in several drives. No worries there.

    Regarding FluJunkie's question:
    In terms of usage, if you always use VMWare Fusion to boot your bootcamp partition, then you don't need bootcamp at all. You can create a virtual machine from Fusion, which will be file-contained. Much like anything else, there are pros and cons:

    1. You'd be able to easily move your VM back and forth between HDs (move the file and you're done).
    2. You'd have access to Snapshots - they allow you to "save" your VM's state (with your custom installation, configurations, apps) and restore to that point when you want.

    Your Windows installation will be accessible only through Fusion.

    Now, if you EVER had to restart your mac to enter bootcamp, for whatever reason (for instance, resource-hungry applications that only have a Windows version, or for gaming), you have to decide if you really want to get rid of bootcamp, because seriously you don't want to run those kind of apps through Fusion.

    Personally I would try the VM route - create a virtual 30 or 40GB drive in the SSD drive (unlike partitions, a virtual drive will only fill up the space that you actually use); and possibly create another virtual drive in the HDD, for additional programs and so forth.
    - You'd "have to" exclude the VM from Time Machine (Time Machine would backup your entire virtual drive each time you run the VM, which is undesirable).
    - In case of "emergency" you'd be able to easily move that VM entirely to the HDD and get back your once lost SSD space :)

    The equivalent with bootcamp would be creating two partitions, one in each drive. Windows 7 alone really requires 30GB, and that's still risking it.

    I recently bought an SSD drive as well, but installed it in the default place. The HDD went to the optical drive space. Because of three reasons:
    1. My HDD has integrated G-Force protection (equivalent to SMS).
    2. SSDs are much cooler. I find it comfortable to supress the extra heat below my right wrist.
    3. I really didn't know if the second S-ATA channel was of the same interface, and if it would pose speed constraints, so I just went with it :)

    But I still haven't moved the OS X to the SSD, because of the drive space as well. Actually I believe I need to perform a fresh installation, because my Users folder will have to remain in the HDD, and my applications will have to be carefully distributed between the two drives.

    Would you like to share your experience now that almost a month has passed?


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