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Replacing Primary Hard Drive

  • Hard Drives
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
July 7, 2009 8:30:43 PM

I presently have a Hard Drive that is Partitioned, C: (O/S) and D: (Data).

I want to replace this drive with a new one that will only have the O/S. However, I still want to use the Partitioned Drive. Can I rename the C: Partition so that so that the PC will not Boot from this drive?

More about : replacing primary hard drive

a b G Storage
July 7, 2009 8:49:31 PM

install your new drive
set the bios to boot first cd second the new hdd
install windows on new drive
and your good to go
July 8, 2009 1:56:47 AM

So, after I have installed the new HD, how do I change the C: partition to another drive letter? When I hook it up, the PC will see two C: Drives.
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a b G Storage
July 8, 2009 2:10:20 AM

windows will take care of that for you, just follow the steps above. If for some reason you don't like the letter assignment after the new install you can change things through disk management.

boot priority is set in bios not my windows, be sure to set the bios to boot from the new drive ( you will be able to select which specific drive you want to boot from)
July 8, 2009 3:49:29 AM


One last question. On the Old HD, can I delete the C: (O/S) Partition and re-allocate it to the D: Partition, or do I need Partition Managment Software to do this?
a b G Storage
July 8, 2009 6:12:16 AM

you can reformat to whatever you want once you've reinstalled windows
a c 464 G Storage
July 10, 2009 8:56:25 PM

OK, a few things to watch for.

1. It's a very common story that someone wants to migrate to a new much bigger drive and save everything. Along with this, you often want simply to copy and maintain the C: drive you have with its OS and files, rather than re-installing the OS and all application software. 505090's route would be a complete clean re-install of Windows, followed by installing all your application software, then copying all other files. If you don't want that re-install, look for free utilities from your new hard drive maker to make a bootable CLONE of your current C: drive to the new drive. At the same time you will want that clone to be made much bigger than the original, using up all of the new drive's space in one volume. Seagate's software for this is Disk Wizard; WD's is Data Lifeguard Tools. Sometimes they come on a CD with the Retail-packaged HDD. If not, go the the manufacturer's website and look for it, then choose the right version for your situation and download and install. You temporarily install the new HDD in your machine and run the cloning software. Then you shut down and swap cables so the new HDD is connected in place of the old C: drive, reconnect power and reboot from the new drive. (Or, you can simply use the BIOS to re-specify which drive to boot from, and it will automatically become C:.)

2. I'm not so sure about combining the C: and D: Partitions on the old drive (they will NOT be called those letters after installing and running from the new drive). Let's face it, once you have completed the cloning, etc. to use the new C: drive and are SURE you don't need anything off the old former C: drive, you will want to Delete that old C: Partition. THEN you can try to expand the former D: drive to include it. Right there could be a problem. I'm not sure that Disk Manager will delete the old disk's Primary Bootable Partition, leaving on it only a Secondary Partition. Windows DOES have a tool in Disk Manager for expanding a Partition to include the immediately-adjacent Unallocated Space. But I am not sure it will allow you to do that when the space we're talking about is physically BEFORE the Partition. If it does, you are OK. I would only suggest, if that works, that you run a De-Fragmentation tool on the resulting drive to let it reorganize the file layout. However, if Disk Manager won't do this job for you, I can think of two ways to proceed. One is to use a third-party tool like Partition Manager, which will do the job I'm sure. The other is more round-about. You use the disk cloning tools to delete the old disks' Primary Partition. Then you use it to clone the old D: drive's data contents to a new Primary Partition created in the space freed up already. But this time the Primary Partition must NOT be bootable. When that is done, you use the tool to delete the old D: Partition, then again to expand the new Partition (which by now contains the original D: drive's files) to include all the Unallocated Space which is now AFTER the new Primary Partition. When you are done, you should have a new large C: drive and an older drive with all of the D: drive's files, but in a larger space that is roughly the total of the old C: and D:.

3. If this all works, you might have a small last detail to adjust. I suspect that, by default, Windows will re-name everything so that the C: drive is your boot drive, D: is the re-structured old drive, and your DC-ROM unit still has its old name, E:. If that is the case, no problem. BUT if the DC-ROM and second hard drive names are somehow not what you want, you can change them in Disk Manager.