New system with one old HDD, one new SSD and one OS key to switch between boot up.

Hello everyone. I've been scanning and searching for a solution to my problem all morning but have not found anything with quite the same situation.

Put simply I am building a new computer where the only thing I am keeping from the old computer is the HDD with windows 7 64 with my wife's clutter of things. I then want to add a SSD with just my games and things to keep clutter free with that same windows 7 64 and same key.

Reading through the forums I noticed a reply where someone mentioned you could go into the properties of 'my computer' and have it boot the old drive as default but give you a few second window during boot up to change to another which would be my personal SSD. Is this safe/reliable on windows 7?

Second question is how do I make it so Microsoft doesn't think I gave away my key having it booted up in a brand new system and being on two drives?

I've never messed with more than one HDD or OS on one system before so I'm sure this is pretty simple to most but really all I want is to have a personal drive without clutter to keep my system performance from getting bogged down. That and saving money from having to buy another OS or key although that would be so much easier than hurting my brain with this stuff. :D thanks in advance for any help!
6 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about system hdd ssd key switch boot
  1. If you have a prebuilt computer you cannot reuse the license. OEM windows 7 licenses are tied to the motherboard. You can't just put it in a different computer and expect it to work either and I'd never suggest doing that. You need to buy a new license and do a clean install. The correct way to do this is install it on the SSD, backup/wipe the harddrive, and use it to store miscellaneous data.
  2. I built the previous system myself and have the CD/key. Basically I don't want anyone on my new SSD or able to put anything on it. The SSD I'm looking at is small to begin with so with an OS and a game or two it will be about all I'm willing to put on it.
  3. In that case, I think that the cleanest solution is to (there are lots of threads with more detail; I'll try to link to one).

    1) Build win7 onto the SSD with no other drives attached to the system. This ensures that the actual boot process starts from the SSD.
    2) Use a bootable utility to mark the old drive as not bootable. So your system will never try to boot from it directly.
    3) Set up the My Documents and My Everything Else folders to point to _new_ folders on the old hard drive.
    4) Have each user copy his/her files from the existing location on the hard drive to his/her new My Everything folder. The reason for this is to make them marked as owned by the username on your new system. The usernames will have unique IDs different from the ones on the old system even if you make the names the same.

    And various cleanups like backup the data that was copied and then delete it, delete OS stuff from the HDD, .... unksol's suggestion to backup and wipe the HDD is a pretty good one, in my opinion; more work but you end up with only files with good ownerships.
  4. Well the problem is I'm not wanting to change anything on the old HDD. I don't want to pull anything from the HDD to the SDD, I just want to put the OS on it as well, install a game or two and be done.

    When my wife or whoever she has over wants to get on the computer I want it to simply boot the old HDD as default so they can do what they want on that drive. Then all I have to do is restart and switch the drives during boot up so I have my clean SSD for gaming.
  5. Best answer
    Ahh! Is different. Is reliable on Windows 7. Safe is a matter of interpretation - the default way of doing it requires that the boot process start from the HDD. This means that if the HDD fails you won't be able to boot from the SSD.

    For this setup, attach the SSD to the system with the HDD still installed. Install Win7 on the SSD. You should end up with a system that boots from the HDD and pauses to offer you a choice of which OS to start from that point. If it doesn't give you that menu by default, there are easy ways to edit the BCD, like easyBCD.
  6. Awesome, thanks, will give that a shot.
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