Upgrading to Unformatted SSD from Potentially Dying HDD

Hey there,
So I have an unformatted 128GB SSD and in addition to it, I have my normal 1TB that is running my current Windows 7 system, but also it's making some angry noises that haven't seemed to affect system performance during normal operation besides the past night and today when it has shut down. I assume they were unexpected crashes since upon powering up, Windows will tell me it's recovered from an error or something along those lines; I had been away from my computer both times, and windows updates had been installed and wanting to restart the system previous to the shutdowns, if that info is pertinent whatsoever. I am worried about it, and therefore interested in replacing my main operating system a.s.a.p. I've already backed up the generally most important personal stuff, including firefox personal data onto an external HDD. I'd definitely prefer not to format this drive for any reason though, since it holds many programs. I plan to reboot right after posting this since I've scheduled to run a check disk on C: and will tell anyone who's curious about the results if they care, but I know this isn't the forum for that, so instead, I'm wondering:
1) Can I "Upgrade" (specifically the $40 option) my current distribution, but install the Windows 8 copy onto the SSD? I would like to retain my current 1TB HDD for storage purposes.
2) Can I selectively migrate programs to be installed onto the new drive?
3) If no to 2), then how might I go about reinstalling software that I've already activated the product keys for?
4) If "you're S.O.L." for 3), would it be possible to buy a new 1TB (ideally on some Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal, so soon), and then migrate all my stuff to that disk?
5) Would dual-booting be possible since I lack the option to run these programs in Windows 8?
6) If 1) is possible, would it be possible to run Windows 8 off of the SSD but run the programs from the Windows 7 drive in the Windows 8 environment? I'm fine with installing necessary software/editing registry entries as long as there's some instruction to the operation.
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  1. 1. If you upgrade, it's an upgrade and not a dual-boot OS - you could buy the full Win8 version and do this, but an upgrade license would require that you stopped using the previous installed OS.
    2. You can't migrate programs from 1 OS install to another - they would have to be re-installed. If you installed them originally, you should be able to re-install them and activate them in the new OS. How do you know they won't run in Win8?

    3. If you get a new 1TB HD, you could image the old drive and out the image on the new drive. This would move the OS and the programs. It would also move any data or OS corruption, so if the OS has issues now, it will still have issues after the move - just make sure it's a dying HDD, and not a OS issue.

    I would Install a fresh OS onto the SSD, and use the HDD as storage. You should backup any data, wipe the drive, and reformat it before storing any new data on it. If the drive still has issues, then replace it.
  2. Awesome, thank you for the information.
    I just got home from purchasing a 3TB external drive (for $100!) from a black friday sale, and apparently it has standard SATA connections so I could theoretically install it as an internal, if I wanted to.
    Imaging the HDD might be the most ideal option.
    Do you have any suggestions for good open source/freeware to make an image of a disk?
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