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  1. #1

    [How To] Cut Your WoW SSD Installation Down to 14GB~ (Updated for MoP!)

    If you previously followed this guide for Cataclysm, remove all of the links previously created, delete all WoW files from your SSD and rerun your launcher to install the missing pieces before following these instructions.

    UPDATE: The guide has been updated for MoP. As with all expansions, there's obviously going to be more space required for the install, and with MoP's significantly higher amount of textures and assets compared to previous expansions, this is no different. It seems they have also fooled around with MPQ groupings as usual, but the overall purpose of this hasn't changed.

    At first glance after I (and after you have) installed the 5.0 client, you'll notice that the total folder should weigh in around 20GB. So you'll think, "Gee Glo, what's the point of doing all of this for a measely 5GB?".

    Well, the point is:

    1. Your sound cache will start to build up gradually over time as it has previously and drastically inflate your install folder size
    2. Keeping your logs, addons, and everything else off of the SSD will prevent virtually all writes to your SSD from WoW. If one knows about SSD longevity and the factors contributing to it, this is clearly an awesome thing. WoW only -reads- info from MPQ files, it doesn't write. The only time you'll EVER write to your SSD with WoW is when you patch.

    Back to the guide!


    First, a background on how WoW works with its own data files:

    WoW stores all of it's resources in large files called MPQs. These files contain sounds, textures, and base polygons, among other things. Every time you load into a zone, the client polls the corresponding MPQ file for the needed resource.

    So how do we reduce that amount of data? By putting resource files that don't need SSD performance on our regular old mechanical HDD. Sound resources, mainly. Sound (and mostly the sound cache) take up almost 9GB of WoW's installation size, and since soundtracks are only one sequential read, having it on a mechanical HDD will virtually have no negative performance decrease as a result. The second component of WoW's sound are combat noises, spell noises, and the such. Those a very few in number, and again, will have no impact on your load times nor overall performance.

    How do you split up the installation? We're going to use a nifty little feature in Windows called "Symbolic Links". It's simple!

    Download this program first to make using symbolic links easy, without the need for the command line:

    http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinks....html#download

    Pick x86 if you are using Windows 32bit, and x64 if you're using 64bit. Make sure you download and install BOTH files so you have the necessary DLLs to run the program.

    After you're done with that, just follow these very simple steps:

    0. If you previously followed this guide for Cataclysm, remove all of the links previously created, delete all WoW files from your SSD and rerun your launcher to install the missing pieces before following these instructions.
    1. Move (or install) WoW to your mechanical HDD in its full form.
    2. Delete your WoW installation from your SSD.
    3. Create a folder anywhere on your SSD, it doesn't matter where it's located. Name it "WoWSSD" for easy reference.
    4. Navigate to your WoW folder, then enter the Data folder within and select the following files that are pictured in this screenshot.

    5. Cut and paste those files into the "WoWSSD" folder you made on your SSD. Do not copy and paste them, they need to be completely removed (or renamed) from your mechanical HDD's WoW installation folder.
    6. Navigate to the "WoWSSD" folder, and highlight all the files within it. Right click and select "Pick Link Source".
    7. Navigate to your mechanical HDD's WoW installation folder, then navigate to the "Data" folder within it (the same place you copied the data files from previously).
    8. Right click inside the folder and select "Drop As", then select "Symbolic Link".
    9. Fire up WoW and enjoy your extra SSD space!

    (if you opted to move your installation, the shortcuts on your start menu and desktop will need to be updated with the correct path!)
    Last edited by glo; 2012-08-31 at 12:27 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Pretty sweet stuff GLO. Thanks for taking the time to write this out... if only I used an HDD

  3. #3
    Is that download even needed?? The way you create links in the command prompt is pretty straight forward.
    There's probably a lot like me who don't like to install/download unnecessary stuff.

    SYMBOLIC LINKS

    Scroll down to how it's done in command prompt.
    Last edited by Chronius; 2012-05-07 at 04:39 PM.

  4. #4
    The Lightbringer Djinni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chronius View Post
    Is that download even needed?? The way you create links in the command prompt is pretty straight forward.
    There's probably a lot like me who don't like to install/download unnecessary stuff.

    SYMBOLIC LINKS

    Scroll down to how it's done in command prompt.
    To be honest MOST Windows users don't know anything about command line, and still think it's a "wiz" when someone does anything on it. Not to mention a handy GUI is generally preferable since it's much easier to understand.
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  5. #5
    The Lightbringer CheezusCrust's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great guide Glo, it's going to free up a huge amount of space on my SSD =)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Chronius View Post
    Is that download even needed?? The way you create links in the command prompt is pretty straight forward.
    There's probably a lot like me who don't like to install/download unnecessary stuff.

    SYMBOLIC LINKS

    Scroll down to how it's done in command prompt.
    It's just a shell extension, it's not even a running process. I don't know, even for the 6 or so files you need to move, it would take considerably longer to do it by hand with command prompt than installing and using the extension.

    OT: Thanks for the comments. I'm going to update the OP with the disclaimer that the MoP beta has some of the MPQ files renamed, and this process will probably have to be redone once it releases.
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  7. #7
    Great info! Thank you glo!

  8. #8
    This is great, my laziness regarding symlinks was the reason my MMOs are on my HDD instead of my SSD. Thank you!
    5 EVE accounts, one WoW account, one World of Tanks premium running, zero time to play them. Graaaargh

  9. #9
    Mechagnome Shruikah's Avatar
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    Thanks for the guide!

  10. #10
    Very cool. Thanks for the guide, Glo!

  11. #11
    Dreadlord joepesci's Avatar
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    I always thought that the minimum size of a SSD should be 256 GB for me, it just feels right.
    Most people recommend 128 GB, but SSD price in general is already low enough to be able to afford a 256 GB version.
    I only have 140 GB free on my 256 GB Samsung 830, and I didn't install much... WoW, WoW MoP, D3, Win 7 Ultimate, MS Office and a few small programs.
    Last edited by joepesci; 2012-05-19 at 12:29 AM.

  12. #12
    Very cool and helpful. I've been thinking of getting an SSD but space is definitely a concern, this would be a great help!

  13. #13
    Very nice guide, will have to keep this one at the ready for when I start micromanaging my 31GB left ^^

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  14. #14
    The Lightbringer Djinni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joepesci View Post
    I always thought that the minimum size of a SSD should be 256 GB for me, it just feels right.
    Most people recommend 128 GB, but SSD price in general is already low enough to be able to afford a 256 GB version.
    I only have 140 GB free on my 256 GB Samsung 830, and I didn't install much... WoW, WoW MoP, D3, Win 7 Ultimate, MS Office and a few small programs.
    Indeed... very tempting:


    SanDisk Extreme SSD SATA III 2.5" 240GB Solid State Hard Drive

    Read Speed: 550MB/Sec, Write Speed: 520MB/Sec, Flash: MLC, Controller: SandForce SF-2281.
    £159.98 inc vat

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  15. #15
    What happens during a patch once this has been done? Do the SSD files get updated or do you have to copy everything back, update, and recreate the links?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by The High Druid View Post
    What happens during a patch once this has been done? Do the SSD files get updated or do you have to copy everything back, update, and recreate the links?
    The links act just as if the files were actually there. So if a patch modifies a MPQ file, it will modify it on the SSD through the link.

    However, when the expansion hits and some of the MPQ files get renamed, you may need to link / move a thing or two. I'll know more once that time comes and the client is released past beta.
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  17. #17
    Bloodsail Admiral lockblock's Avatar
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    I know this is slightly off topic but you can do the same for Diablo 3
    files to put on ssd would be:
    /Data_D3/PC/MPQs/ClientData.mpq
    /Data_D3/PC/MPQs/CoreData.mpq
    /Data_D3/PC/MPQs/Texture.mpq

    This would reduce the install size to 3.92GB on the ssd. I know its not much or that D3 don't take up that much to begin with but if your still running with a 60gb every little bit counts.
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  18. #18
    thanks for the info! was running out of space.

  19. #19
    Can the same set of links be used for two different warcraft folders? If so is there anything else I need to do to make it work?

    I run two monitors, and have two separate warcraft folders each set up to run on a different monitor (saves messing with video settings every time I want to swap).

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by The High Druid View Post
    Can the same set of links be used for two different warcraft folders? If so is there anything else I need to do to make it work?

    I run two monitors, and have two separate warcraft folders each set up to run on a different monitor (saves messing with video settings every time I want to swap).
    Yes. WTF folder is the only place where resolution-specific information is hold (game's graphic settings as well as addon settings). You can share whole wow\data and wow\interface between two installations and just keep separate WTF, that way you have two separate addon/computer settings but exactly same addons mirrored on both and disc usage of only one WoW client.
    Never going to log into this garbage forum again as long as calling obvious troll obvious troll is the easiest way to get banned.
    Trolling should be.

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