Using a former boot drive as a storage drive
Hi all, I am planning on building a new PC soon and was curious if I could simply plug in my current boot drive as a storage drive on that one. Is there any specific process to do it, or do I simply plug it in. Also, how would I go about deleting Windows on it and making a storage drive and retaining my current data?
Yes you can and yes you just plug it in and boom your done. (assuming its a sata drive and not an IDE drive. If its IDE the process is slightly different but you can do that also, just mess around with a couple of jumpers and what not)
But for sata just plug it in and your good to go.
As for what to do with your data... Theres a couple of options really. Mainly you can just pop in the drive then leave everything as it is and choose to delete your windows folder and/or your program files folder if you don't need it. Or you can copy over the stuff that you want onto your new drive, format the old drive, then put the stuff that you don't want to keep on your main drive back onto the old drive.
The choice is yours but either way its super simple and super easy.
I would probably completely set up the new PC and when you're ready, add that drive. You should still be able to boot in like normal and see that drive as another drive.
If you want to keep some data on it, you might look at copying it off to another drive or an external drive. Then, you can just format the drive and move the data back.
Here's a suggestion to avoid a problem later. When you are building the machine and go to Install Windows on it, do NOT install the old HDD. Install ONLY the new HDD in the machine. This applies to Win 7 and 8, not earlier.
When Install of Win 7 or 8 is done, it does this by default: it looks for a second HDD. If it finds one, it install there a semi-hidden copy of key OS files before putting Windows on your main drive. The idea is that, sometime in the future if your main drive's OS files become corrupted and it can't boot, it will go to the backup copies on the other drive and use them to restore the main drive, then complete the boot process. It automatically fixes that problem for you! Nice Idea!
BUT (there's no free lunch!) the problem some have had is this: EVERY time the machine boots it checks to be sure those backups are there, and, if not, it will not boot! So if you remove the second HDD for any reason (like, maybe your old HDD failed), your machine suddenly does not work. (There is a cure for this, but I'm giving you a prevention.)
HOWEVER, if you do the original Install with ONLY the one HDD in the machine, it can't put the backups on a non-existent second HDD. It puts them on the only HDD present, which is the one you will always boot from. AFTER you have Windows installed and running, you install your other HDD(s) and they work. If you ever remove the extra HDD(s), no problem. The downside of defeating this part of the safety net is that the backups are on the SAME HDD as the OS, which is a bit less secure than having them on a separate HDD in the system.