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Installing OS on H/D without formating.

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • Computer
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
July 16, 2010 9:12:40 AM

Hello everyone, I hope that I explain this ok. Recently the motherboard/processor failed on my computer, It's ok because I was planning a new build anyway but I have a problem even though the parts are coming today.

I used two SATA hard drives in my old computer, an 80gig one that held my OS and some important files etc, and a 500Gig hard drive that was more of a data drive. As my computer stopped working suddenly I was unable to back anything up, and I am going to need to reinstall windows on the new computer that I am building today but I can not loose any of the data on either of the drives. Is there a way to install windows on one of the drives without formatting either one? or can you think of a way around it? I have no spare hard drives unfortunatly.

Please help asap parts are due any minute and Im really excited.

Thanks a lot everyone :) 

More about : installing formating

a c 162 G Storage
July 16, 2010 10:14:13 AM

You could boot of a Linux Live CD, copy the files you need from one drive to another, and then format the HDD and install Windows.
July 16, 2010 10:35:20 AM

Emerald said:
You could boot of a Linux Live CD, copy the files you need from one drive to another, and then format the HDD and install Windows.

Yeh that a good idea, but dont have a linux CD =( and no CD burner to burn it with, on a netbook now
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July 16, 2010 12:03:12 PM

Quote:
Hello everyone, I hope that I explain this ok. Recently the motherboard/processor failed on my computer, It's ok because I was planning a new build anyway but I have a problem even though the parts are coming today.

I used two SATA hard drives in my old computer, an 80gig one that held my OS and some important files etc, and a 500Gig hard drive that was more of a data drive. As my computer stopped working suddenly I was unable to back anything up, and I am going to need to reinstall windows on the new computer that I am building today but I can not loose any of the data on either of the drives. Is there a way to install windows on one of the drives without formatting either one? or can you think of a way around it? I have no spare hard drives unfortunatly.

Please help asap parts are due any minute and Im really excited.

Thanks a lot everyone :) 


Yes you can install windows without formatting hard disks. Just keep away from things like hdd partitioning and format.
Win XP setup doesn't even ask for format directly, you must do it manually.
Win 7 setup is a little different, when asked to select setup mode: Upgrade/Custom, select custom, select your hard drive and install.
a c 464 G Storage
July 16, 2010 5:40:44 PM

NO!! Do NOT "Install" Windows on your old HDD. Any normal Windows Install will create a Partition and Format it, and that might just wipe out your old data.

You can try this route, which is safe for your data, but might not work. The heart of the issue is that your new build will have all kinds of devices in it (many of them as parts of the new mobo), but the Windows already installed on your 80 GB unit has the drivers suited for your old machine. The solution is called a "Repair Install". To do that you need the Windows Install CD and you boot from it as if you were going to Install. BUT you do NOT do it normally. You look right at the start for an option to do a Repair Install, not a normal full install. NOTE: I suggest that, when you do this, the 80 GB older drive should be the ONLY HDD installed in your new machine.

A Repair Install will survey the devices in the piece of hardware it is running on and the device drivers already in the Windows installed on the boot drive. It will attempt to find all the mismatches and fix them by deleting and replacing or adding drivers. When it is done, if it all works ideally, your old Windows installed on the 80 GB unit will be fully altered to conform to the new hardware. If that works OK, I REALLY suggest that your next step should be to UPDATE virtually every driver you can, and the best source for updated drivers usually is the website of the devices in question. That includes the latest driver sets from your mobo manufacturer (may NOT be on the CD of drivers that comes with the system), as well as ones for added devices like video cards or modems, etc.

Once that is done, you can install your old 500 GB unit as the second drive. Windows should recognize it and you should have it fully available with all its files.
July 19, 2010 3:18:03 PM

Paperdoc said:
NO!! Do NOT "Install" Windows on your old HDD. Any normal Windows Install will create a Partition and Format it, and that might just wipe out your old data.

You can try this route, which is safe for your data, but might not work. The heart of the issue is that your new build will have all kinds of devices in it (many of them as parts of the new mobo), but the Windows already installed on your 80 GB unit has the drivers suited for your old machine. The solution is called a "Repair Install". To do that you need the Windows Install CD and you boot from it as if you were going to Install. BUT you do NOT do it normally. You look right at the start for an option to do a Repair Install, not a normal full install. NOTE: I suggest that, when you do this, the 80 GB older drive should be the ONLY HDD installed in your new machine.

A Repair Install will survey the devices in the piece of hardware it is running on and the device drivers already in the Windows installed on the boot drive. It will attempt to find all the mismatches and fix them by deleting and replacing or adding drivers. When it is done, if it all works ideally, your old Windows installed on the 80 GB unit will be fully altered to conform to the new hardware. If that works OK, I REALLY suggest that your next step should be to UPDATE virtually every driver you can, and the best source for updated drivers usually is the website of the devices in question. That includes the latest driver sets from your mobo manufacturer (may NOT be on the CD of drivers that comes with the system), as well as ones for added devices like video cards or modems, etc.

Once that is done, you can install your old 500 GB unit as the second drive. Windows should recognize it and you should have it fully available with all its files.


All "normal" Windows installations installs windows without format or partitioning. If you want to do that, you must do it MANUALLY! It was like that since Win95 (it's the first version i used). Of course if you use some "upgrade" "repair" or "factory recover" installation mode (the one which comes with hp/dell laptops), hdd format can happen, but you'll be always warned.

You can use your old 80gb hdd drive to install windows. All "normal" Windows installations (if you don't want to format hdd) puts your windows and user files in new folder named "C:\Windows.old" where you can access them after fresh windows install. Also fresh installation gets new registry, and has no drivers in it, so you can use fresh windows on any machine configuration you want. Repair install might keep old drivers (don't know for sure), but fresh install will be fresh.

You can freely and safely connect 5 more hdd's with no fear of loosing data as long as you setup Windows manually, and know what you're doing.

I did that with 3 different pc's last week. All had their data after completely fresh Windows installations.