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What do I need to do to use an old hdd for a new PC?

So I'm upgrading to a new rig in regards to some components, namely the case, motherboard and cpu, but I am also retaining the gpu, psu and am hoping to use the current hdd I have as well. I know there are complications in regards to drivers and the OS only being one time use, so I am wondering what steps I need to take. The machine I have was a pre-build and as such the OS was already installed. I plan to keep on using Windows 7 home premium 64bit, but am not sure if I just need a product key or an actual retail disc. As for drivers, do I have to do a full wipe on the drive, or just specific software and such?
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  1. You should really wipe the drive entirely. You only need a product key, you can create a disc (or bootable USB) from ISOs available online.

    I have read of people being able to remove specific drivers & getting up & running on a new board with minimal problems, but that really is the exception.

    You should:
    1. Back up data/files you want to keep (to another drive - external HDD would be perfect)
    2. Build new rig
    3. Attached HDD and boot from disc/USB W7 installation media
    4. Select where to install & format the drive
    5. Install & activate with a new product key.
    6. Transfer any files/games/media/data back to the HDD

    Really, this would be the perfect time to pick up an SSD for your OS (even a 120GB would do, but 240GB or so would be ideal) and get Windows 10 (which you can download, including product key from MS)
  2. You best off doing a full format/reinstall with a new copy of Windows. If your intention is gaming, I would consider win 10, as it will be required for DX12.
  3. You'd need to get a new copy of windows, will cost about 100 dollars, boot up from the cd or USB drive they give you and install the os. Your cd that came with your new motherboard will have most drivers you need, the main thing is your graphics card most likely, which you should be able to download from the manufacturer website like nvidia or amd. But worst case, you may be able to go back to the site of the company that originally built the system you started with, they may have a driver for it.
  4. ohiou_grad_2006 said:
    You'd need to get a new copy of windows, will cost about 100 dollars, boot up from the cd or USB drive they give you and install the os. Your cd that came with your new motherboard will have most drivers you need, the main thing is your graphics card most likely, which you should be able to download from the manufacturer website like nvidia or amd. But worst case, you may be able to go back to the site of the company that originally built the system you started with, they may have a driver for it.


    While that is true, drivers that are on the motherboard driver disk do tend to be outdated more often than not.
    You can always download all the drivers (from the manufacturers website) prior to your reinstall and then you have all the latest available (say, on an external HDD)
  5. if you have any copy of win 7/8/8.1, Win 10 is free until this summer
  6. ScrewySqrl said:
    if you have any copy of win 7/8/8.1, Win 10 is free until this summer


    The OP is changing out the Motherboard & CPU - and his existing copy of W7 is OEM. Either way they're paying for a new OS so could save themselves the upgrade headache/clean install if they just bought W10 now.
  7. Another question I have in relation to this: can I get away with not having any optical drives in the new tower, since I believe my current ones are not compatible with it. If I have all the drivers downloaded onto a usb stick/external drive, surely that cancels out the need for any disc based installations?
  8. smoothrunes said:
    Another question I have in relation to this: can I get away with not having any optical drives in the new tower, since I believe my current ones are not compatible with it. If I have all the drivers downloaded onto a usb stick/external drive, surely that cancels out the need for any disc based installations?


    Yes, many people forgo an ODD.
    Or, have an external one.

    If you've determined you will never need a DVD, then there is no reason.
  9. USAFRet said:
    smoothrunes said:
    Another question I have in relation to this: can I get away with not having any optical drives in the new tower, since I believe my current ones are not compatible with it. If I have all the drivers downloaded onto a usb stick/external drive, surely that cancels out the need for any disc based installations?


    Yes, many people forgo an ODD.
    Or, have an external one.

    If you've determined you will never need a DVD, then there is no reason.


    I should ideally never need to use a DVD. The rig is intended mainly as a gaming PC and I never buy physical copies of PC games these days.

    Can anyone run me through all the drivers I would need to have on a usb stick, since all my driver installations will be coming off of that instead of any discs I own.
  10. Best answer
    smoothrunes said:
    USAFRet said:
    smoothrunes said:
    Another question I have in relation to this: can I get away with not having any optical drives in the new tower, since I believe my current ones are not compatible with it. If I have all the drivers downloaded onto a usb stick/external drive, surely that cancels out the need for any disc based installations?


    Yes, many people forgo an ODD.
    Or, have an external one.

    If you've determined you will never need a DVD, then there is no reason.


    I should ideally never need to use a DVD. The rig is intended mainly as a gaming PC and I never buy physical copies of PC games these days.

    Can anyone run me through all the drivers I would need to have on a usb stick, since all my driver installations will be coming off of that instead of any discs I own.



    The latest one for all of your hardware
    LAN and/or WiFi audio, GPU, motherboard, mouse/kbd if necessary.

    Primarily LAN or WiFi. Once you have those, you can get everything else once the OS is installed.
  11. There's really not many you should need. If you will be using Wifi then your Wifi driver (from the motherboard manufacturers site), the rest you can download once you're online - W7 you'll probably need the LAN driver if you're going with ethernet connection.

    If you're going with Windows 10, the auto-update of drivers will probably take care of most. If you want to stick with W7, you'll need to install most manually.

    Whether you want to grab them all or just the wifi, head to your mobo's manufacturer site, search the model & OS, and select either just the wifi, or pretty much everything there (if there are multiples, pick the latest version of the drivers - unless they are flagged "BETA")
  12. Barty1884 said:
    There's really not many you should need. If you will be using Wifi then your Wifi driver (from the motherboard manufacturers site), the rest you can download once you're online - W7 you'll probably need the LAN driver if you're going with ethernet connection.

    If you're going with Windows 10, the auto-update of drivers will probably take care of most. If you want to stick with W7, you'll need to install most manually.

    Whether you want to grab them all or just the wifi, head to your mobo's manufacturer site, search the model & OS, and select either just the wifi, or pretty much everything there (if there are multiples, pick the latest version of the drivers - unless they are flagged "BETA")


    I'll be going through a Ethernet LAN connection. Anything I should need to know?
  13. smoothrunes said:
    I'll be going through a Ethernet LAN connection. Anything I should need to know?


    Depends on the OS. W7, you;ll likely need to have that driver on hand, W10 will most likely sort it for you automatically.
    Once you're online, you can just head to the manufacturers site & download/install as you go.
  14. Just go ahead and get windows 10. Windows 7 was a good os, but if you want to game, windows 10 will support direct x12 when it becomes more mainstream. Since you'll be buying a license might as well get windows 10. Also, do some checking, but I think you can get a retail copy of windows 10 for about 120 for the home edition. Might go ahead and spend the extra, I think the retail version you can carry to a new system when you upgrade again.
  15. Microsoft, as per there own licensing agreement should only sell Retail versions to the public (although I haven't seen proof regarding W10 yet). I would realistically assume any version you buy directly from MS would be a retail version - as has been the case with every other OS they've released.

    189.99 for Pro retail (via download) or 99.99 for Home retail (via download): http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp/Windows-10-Home/productID.320418600
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