Currently I have two hard drives in the computer I am using, one with an OS and another with just a bunch of files etc on it (1TB hard drive). Very soon I will be building a new computer with all new hardware, including a new Hard Drive (320gb) to install an OS on, but want I to keep the 1TB one from my old computer and put it into the new one.
Am I correct in saying that if I move the 1TB drive into the new computer that all of the files will be safe and it will work as normal, like Plug and play? I just want to make sure so I know if I should make backups or not.
You should be able to do it without problem. One potential problem may be if you need to take ownership of the files on the old hard drive, but on Windows 7 this is very easy but a bit more involved if the operating system is Windows XP.
A tip to head off future trouble. When you build you new machine and go to install the new OS (Probably Win 7 or Vista), install ONLY the new HDD at first. Install the OS on that and get it all working. THEN add the old HDD and it should be recognized.
Why? This is to deliberately defeat a "safety feature" in Vista and Win 7. When they are installed they inventory the hardware in the system. If they find a second HDD present, they will place a set of backup files on the second drive. The intent is for future disaster recovery. If at some future occasion the OS finds files on the boot drive corrupted, it will go to the second drive and use the backups to restore the files automatically. A really good idea, right? HOWEVER, apparently the system will look for those backup files EVERY time it boots, and will NOT boot if it can't find its safety net available on the second drive, even though it is not trying to use them! This has caused people much distress. There IS a way out of the dilemma if the second HDD cannot be reconnected. But if you don't have that second HDD available when the OS is first installed, the backup files will be put on the only HDD that is in the machine.