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Install Windows 7 Upgrade on a Second Drive

Last response: in Windows 7
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December 3, 2010 2:44:40 AM

I have decided to take the hard drives from my old rig and stick them in my shiny new one that im building on Christmas. The problem is I will be getting three drives:

Drive A (SSD-New)
Drive C (HDD-Windows HDD)
Drive Z (HDD-Multimedia Drive)

Since Windows is installed on C, and i want it on the SDD i would have to do a clean install. No problem, UNTILL i realize that I have an upgrade version. Which means that i will have to use the old installation to install OVER. I want to use the same windows 7 key for the new rig, but put it on the new SSD.

So in short I want to install my Windows 7 Upgrade on Drive A when its installed onto drive C. Is there a way to format the drive then install all in the same go around so i can keep my one key?

(I would have formatted Drive C, but then I wouldnt have an OS to install over...)
December 3, 2010 3:15:08 AM

lol Ive always done clean installs on blank drives :lol: .

I saw that you have to boot into windows to start the process??? If thats the case im screwed lol
December 3, 2010 6:17:41 AM

Buy a new oem copy of windows 7, it's only ~$130. That's your only bet.
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a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2010 1:27:28 PM

gidgiddonihah said:
I have decided to take the hard drives from my old rig and stick them in my shiny new one that im building on Christmas. The problem is I will be getting three drives:

Drive A (SSD-New)
Drive C (HDD-Windows HDD)
Drive Z (HDD-Multimedia Drive)

Since Windows is installed on C, and i want it on the SDD i would have to do a clean install. No problem, UNTILL i realize that I have an upgrade version. Which means that i will have to use the old installation to install OVER. I want to use the same windows 7 key for the new rig, but put it on the new SSD.

So in short I want to install my Windows 7 Upgrade on Drive A when its installed onto drive C. Is there a way to format the drive then install all in the same go around so i can keep my one key?

(I would have formatted Drive C, but then I wouldnt have an OS to install over...)


No problem.

Windows upgrade packages come with two dvd's; a 32 bit and a 64 bit.

If you were to try to upgrade from a 32 bit vista to a 64 bit W7, you would not be able to run the 64 bit installer while booted on a 32 bit OS. For that scenario, microsoft provides a workaround.

You install windows-7 from the dvd, but do not initially enter the product code or activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional OS for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the dvd again, while running Windows-7 and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.
So, go ahead and install on the SSD using this procedure. Disconnect your old drives so windows-7 will stand alone, and the hidden recovery partition(100mb) will be put on the SSD. After installation, reattach your old drives to be able to access whatever on them.

Also, in the bios, set the sata mode to AHCI(not IDE or RAID). That will cause the windows-7 AHCI drivers to be installed, allowing the "trim" command to be passed tot the SSD. The trim command helps prevent performance degradation as the SSD gets filled

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December 3, 2010 1:44:31 PM
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you can use your win upgrade disk to install to your new drive without any problems, I have done it as recently as twice in the last week when installing new ssd as my OS drives,

install your new ssd in the tower, make sure you connect it to the first sata port on the mboard, generally port 0 or 1

I'm sure you know to set your BIOS to ACHI

enter your boot setup in BIOS (this will vary slightly depending on your motherboard)

set your optical device (DVD) to first boot device

set your ssd as the first HDD in the list of HDD so it will then become the second boot device

disable any other boot option in the boot sequence

save settings in BIOS ( you can either put your upgrade disk in the DVD then, prior to saving & exiting BIOS and it will automatically load the window's setup screen) or save and reboot then put your disk in and reboot and select boot from CD when option appears on screen

the windows setup will start from the upgrade disk, windows will detect the existing OS on the other drive, simply do a custom install and select your new ssd from the list of drives shown

the setup program will format and install windows to the new ssd like a full retail disk

allow windows to install using it's own ACHI driver during installation and download and install Intel's RST driver (only if using Intel chipset on Mboard) using the setup program included with the driver download after the windows installation is complete, and then install remaining drivers from motherboard disk.

if using an AMD processor I think it is still recommended to use the generic ACHI driver embedded in the windows setup program, do some reading in the ssd section to confirm this
December 3, 2010 8:06:19 PM

Haha have no clue what the ACHI is :lol: . Oh its up on the second post :lol: .

I am using an AMD proc, so you would just change it so it will boot from the Old Windows Drive first then the SDD?? Then find the ACHI thing in the BIOS (Ive always rebuild DELL computers so im NOT proficient in the BIOS-So I dont know where it would be located) and enable, boot into setup and format/Install onto SDD? And i will be able to keep my single key? Man i fell like a newb :lol:  .
a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2010 8:41:24 PM

The bios is usually accessed by pressing delete or f2 while the pc is starting up. Check your documentation. There is no OS involved at that time.

In the bios, you can set the boot order. Boot from the dvd to install windows. Then change to boot from the SSD on which you installed windows-7.

In the bios will be a place to set the sata mode. It is often IDE by default. If you leave it at ide, it becomes very difficult to change it later without a windows reinstall.

December 4, 2010 12:57:57 PM

re-read my post, you do not boot from the existing drive!

DVD is first boot device

SSD is second boot device, once windows is installed you can then set the ssd as the first boot device as Geofelt posted

you need to leave the old drive with windows connected, simply so the upgrade disk can detect a previously installed operating sytem, the old drive is not involved in the installation process once the upgrade disk detects the operating system and gives you the option to do a custom install.

Over the years I have used this procedure so many times using XP, Vista, WIN 7 upgrade disks, I cannot remember the number, it works upgrading from XP or Vista or WIN 7, 32 or 64 bit, because you are doing a custom install onto a different drive from the previous operating sytem drive.

The only time you may have had problems using an upgrade disk is when the original drive was an IDE and the new install was to a sata drive, this was because the older motherboards BIOS always defaulted to the IDE drive as the primary boot drive, this is now virtually eliminated on all modern motherboards as the the sata system is now the default setup and you have to enable IDE modes in the BIOS
December 4, 2010 11:24:32 PM

Ok got it, thanks a ton everyone!! :lol: 
a c 371 $ Windows 7
December 5, 2010 1:30:01 AM

cool good job!
December 5, 2010 3:46:19 AM

:lol:  i havnt done it yet, it just makes sense now...

I may be posting again around christmas if i cant figure it out ;) . I just wanted to know if it was possible, and if it was somewhat easy so i could plan ahead to buy a new copy or to try to swing something else so i could build it on christmas day without too much hassle... Instead i got a really helpful step by step guide (In many ways) to get there (Thanks for all your guys' input)...

Hopefully you wont have to hear from me again :lol: 
December 26, 2010 6:19:25 AM

Just for those wondering...

I built the whole thing, set the ACHI (In the RAID options...), and installed Windows. It took a couple of installs, had some driver issues and it installed on the wrong drive... (Also cut myself on the sharp fins of my heatsink :p  ) But i have it working, its been activated, and have played several games and it seems to be working great :) .

Thanks for all the help!
January 1, 2011 10:57:19 PM

Best answer selected by gidgiddonihah.
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