Windows 7 on the 8Gb SSD Mini 9: Redux

Posted by Rik Hepworth on Friday, February 20, 2009

You may remember that I ended my previous post with about 1.6Gb free on the 8Gb SSD of the Mini 9 after installing Windows 7.

I still needed to install Office 2007, or at the very least Word and Excel for the ‘book to be useful. I therefore rummaged out another 16Gb SD card and revisited my earlier vista post about installing apps to an SD card. This time I simply let the card allocate a drive letter and installed Office to d:\Program Files instead.

The trouble was, after installing Office I was down to about 400Mb free on the Dell’s SSD, despite installing the suite to the SD card. There are two reasons for this: Firstly, the common stuff goes into c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared; secondly, the installer files are stored in c:\windows\installer.

I then followed the steps in my post about moving installer files with Vista and created d:\Windows\Installer to hold the data. I’m now back to 1.3Gb free on the SSD. I have successfully installed a couple of apps (including some of the Wave 3 Live suite) following the change so I am pretty confident it works.

I should point out at this juncture that after my previous post I received an email about junctions, Windows installer and Windows XP. That email warned me that performing the steps I documented with Windows XP was extremely dangerous and I should warn people against it. I did ask the mailer the reason why so I could post more detail, but I never got a response. The moral? Do this at your own risk, people.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend the 8Gb SSD as a realistic option. The XP install shipped on it is compressed and slow. My Windows 7 solution is compressed (although not as slow as I had expected – it’s quite usable). Most importantly, once you’ve got the OS on, you’re a bit stuffed for anything else without resorting to hacks like the ones described here. I would say that 16Gb is a minimum, and depending on your needs a 32Gb SSD might be worth the money.