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Hard drive question

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September 24, 2011 7:16:40 AM

I'm not sure exactly where to put this post.. Ok so I am building a new gaming Computer.. I'm getting everything new except I am using the 1.5tb hard drive from the computer I currently have. so the hard drive I have that I'm going to use in the new computer already has stuff on it.. Windows 7 etc.. so when I build the new computer it will have completely new hard ware obviously.. So when I put the hard drive in do I need to re-format it? Some one who was helping me said the first time I boot the new one up Have the motherboard disk in to install the stuff for that.. then put the windows 7 disk in and restart the computer to install windows 7.. is that what I should do? or is there a way for me to wipe the hard drive before I put it in the new computer?

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September 25, 2011 5:38:34 PM

Do NOT wipe the old HDD.

The key question is: do you need to save the "stuff on it" - the files on the old HDD. That is, OS, application software, and data files. If you want any of this stuff, you REALLY should make a backup copy of the entire old HDD on another drive, because you could lose what is on it now.

The difficult part then becomes, do you need to save the Win 7 OS already on that HDD? Or, do you plan to do a brand new Install of some OS from an optical disk?

Option 1 - assume you do NOT want to save anything on the old HDD, and you will do a brand new Install. This is by far the easiest. You do not need to do anything in preparation. After you have assembled everything, you put the Win7 (or whatever OS) Install disk in your optical drive and boot from it to do the Install. Very near the beginning, look for an option to Delete any and all existing Partitions from the HDD. That makes it just like a blank new HDD. Now you can have the Install routine Create a new Partition and Format it for you, then proceed with a normal Install. After the OS is installed, you will have to install any application software.

Option 2 - You want to keep everything and do NOT intend to do a clean Install. You actually want to continue using the existing Win 7 OS already on the old HDD. This is probably what your friend was offering advice about, but the advice was flawed. There is a reasonable chance that this can work, but it definitely is NOT guaranteed. So I repeat, make a complete backup before starting in case it all goes bad.

The issue to deal with is that the existing Win 7 Install on your old HDD has the drivers for devices in your old system, and does NOT have drivers for many components of your new system. To fix this you need the original Install disk for Win 7. Once you have assembled the new system, you put that Install disk into your optical drive and boot from it as if you were going to Install Win 7. BUT do NOT do a regular Install! At the beginning, look for an option to do a REPAIR INSTALL. Choose that. What it should do is assess all the devices found in the (new) system and all the drivers already installed on your HDD, and try to fix all the mismatches. You'll probably have to reboot when the process finishes. If this works, your Win 7 will run the new system, and you'll have all your old app software and data files right there. If it does not work, you might end up with a version of Win 7 that cannot boot and run, and you will be forced to start over with a complete clean install like Option 1. If that happens, you also will need to Install again ALL your old application software, and then restore your old data files from the backup you made.

IF the Repair Install works, it would be a good idea to go through Device Manager and check for trouble indicators. Even if there are none, you could consider updating the drivers for most of your devices. The drivers from your Win 7 Install disk will be what is in there now. Drivers on the CD that comes with your new system may be more recent for the mobo devices. Better yet, look on manufacturer's websites for the MOST up-to-date drivers for all your devices and update to those.

Note the sequence here. Your friend said on your first boot, you should install drivers from the mobo CD. You can't do that if the old version of Win 7 on the HDD can't boot the machine to start with (because of missing drivers). That is why you MUST try the Repair Install process FIRST. Only then, with a functioning Windows, can you take the next step of updating to the latest drivers - whether they be from the mobo CD or from websites.
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September 25, 2011 8:56:47 PM

Wow thanks for that very informational reply! :D  Its about time for a reformat anyway so I have an external backup drive that i'm going to put all of my important stuff on and just do a new w7 install. thanks for the reply :) 
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September 25, 2011 8:56:56 PM

Best answer selected by Awaffle.
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