So, I have 2 old PATA drives that are in my current computer (using Windows XP), and they are chock-full of information. I know that PATA is significantly slower than SATA, but that isn't really my problem (I also have a new 1 TB SATA drive).
So, if I take my 2 PATA drives and install them as slaves to the 1TB SATA drive, will I be able to access the information on it and run the programs even though the drives were used with a different machine that ran Windows XP, and the new system will be running Windows 7 Home 64-Bit?
Yes, you'll be able to do that. The biggest issue you're likely to face is that the Windows 7 system will have different accounts - even if you give them the same name as on your old XP system they won't have security access to files in any personal folders on the old XP disks.
There are two ways to get around that problem:
1) Before you remove the disks from your XP system, go to the main folder of every directory tree you'll want to access under Windows 7 and set the file permissions to allow "Full Control" access by "Everyone". Make sure that the permissions apply to all files and subfolders when you do this.
2) If you've already removed the disks from your XP system, you'll have to attach them to your Windows 7 system, sign on to an administrative account, and "take ownership" of the folders (including files and subfolders) and then change the permissions.
Thank you, I am VERY relieved to hear this. Are you aware if this will apply to games as well. Also, if I use a program that edits video (and changes the files, ect), will I still be able to access these the same way? (sorry if this question doesnt make sense)
Lastly, do you know if there is a big problem with compatibility between software used on XP systems and then trying to use those same programs on a Win7 system?
Most programs will run under Windows 7 just fine - it doesn't even matter if they're 32-bit programs and you use a 64-bit version of Windows 7. Where you're more likely to have problems is if you have hardware that requires special drivers - for example if you have an old printer or scanner you should probably check to make sure that Vista or Windows 7 drivers are available for it (Vista drivers should work equally well with Windows 7, but XP ones won't).
You should be aware that you'll have to reinstall your programs. Although you can buy an "Upgrade" edition of Windows 7 to get a valid license by virtue of owning Windows XP, you can't actually use it to do an "in place upgrade". You'll have to use the upgrade disk to install a fresh copy of Windows 7 and then re-install all your software.
Once you have the OS and programs installed, you run the programs pretty much the same way you did under XP - you double-click a data file associated with the program (for example, double-click a ".doc" file to run Word), or use the Start menu to run the program directly. Windows 7 also lets you "pin" programs to the taskbar so that you can start them up just by clicking on their icons.
Once the program is started, you use it exactly the same way you did under XP.
As far as the machine is concerned, you can install Win 7 on the new SATA drive and, in BIOS Setup, ensure that the SATA drive is your boot drive called C: and it makes NO attempt to boot from either of the older PATA drives. You set those two older drives to Master and Slave (essential if they share one port, and maybe NO change from how they were before the new OS was installed) and they are just usable drives you don't boot from.
If you have not started the installation of Win 7 yet, my advice is to disconnect the two older drives and have ONLY the new SATA HDD and your optical drive connected. Do the Win 7 install until you've got it all working, then re-connect the older drives and let Windows give them new letter names so you can use them.