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Old February 7th, 2013 (4:13 PM). Edited February 7th, 2013 by InMooseWeTrust.
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InMooseWeTrust InMooseWeTrust is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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I just ordered a 120 GB SSD on eBay. I lucked out in the auction and got it for $86. I have two external hard drives (both Seagate, 2TB and 3TB for more than I could possibly want to store). I also ripped out hard drives out of laptops that broke down (took them apart, sold some, recycled others). I bought enclosures/USB adapters for them and now they're fully external hard drives. I'm giving two away to friends and keeping one for school files.

I recommend a setup like this one. Also, hard drives are slow as **** when compared to any other piece of hardware in your computer.

If you need a lot of storage for things like gaming, keep Windows 7 settings to bare bones (SSD's don't need pagefiles or anything like that), and just use an external hard drive like I described. Hybrid drives seem rather pointless except for boot (other apps will still be really slow). Higher RPM disks have a minimal increase in performace (especially when fragmented) and get hotter and eat more battery.

If you stay with HDD:
You also don't need Autoruns or anything like that. Msconfig is more than enough for disabling most bloatware. I recommend Ccleaner to do a deep clean of your system (including registry and files), and then use Microsoft Security Essentials as your antivirus/antispyware. Then delete or move to external drive anything that doesn't need to sit in your computer. Then defrag and wipe the free space in your hard drive with Ccleaner or the cipher thing in Windows (1 pass is enough unless you have something really bad, then use 3 pass). It doesn't get much cleaner and lighter than that.

It also helps to use ligher versions of annoyingly slow and bloated software. For example, use WinAMP (can sync iPods) instead of iTunes. And use Foxit Reader instead of Adobe. Paint.NET can do most things Photoshop does, etc..
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