I just have a question regarding HDD's that I wanted to ask before going ahead and doing what I want to do.
My rig is running 3 HDD's with one of them being for the OS and Programs and two for Documents, Media, etc.
I want to wipe the OS disk and reinstall with a different OS.
What I want to know is whether my other 2 HDD's will be immediately accesible on first bootup? Or will they need to be initialised/formatted after the clean OS thereby wiping them (and deleting 3 TBs worth of files)?
Also, as an aside.
Same question if I were to change motherboard and other parts but keep the media/document HDD's.
Would they be accesible without needing to intialise/format?
Yea if you format over the hard drive of your choice, yes you can use a Storage drive for a OS driver
I'm not quite sure you understood the question...
I am not touching the 2 storage drives.
Am just wiping the OS disk and reinstalling a different OS on the same disk.
So, want to know whether the other 2 untouched disks will be immediately accesible or whether they will need to be initialised/formatted and wiped.
This will all work smoothly, BUT there is a "trick" you should know about that actually has nothing to do with your original question.
Win 7 has a "peace-of-mind" feature that has caused some people problems, and there is a way to defeat it IF you want to.
In any normal installation process of Win 7, it will look though the system for a second HDD. If it finds one, it will install on it a semi-hidden set of backup files. The idea is that, at some time in the future when your main OS HDD has an error in some important Windows file and it can't boot properly, it will automatically go to the other HDD and find all those backups. It will restore any corrupted file and boot properly from your original OS disk, saving you all the headaches. Nice feature!
HOWEVER, once this is in place, EVERY time Win 7 boots up it checks to be sure the backups are there, and it will NOT boot if that HDD is missing. So you cannot remove that second HDD. (Well, you can, IF you go though a process to put those backup files somewhere else.) So to prevent this dilemma (if it bothers you), when you first install Win 7, do NOT have any HDD other than the OS unit in the machine. In that case, the backup files will be placed on that same OS HDD unit (not quite so safe as having them on a different HDD), and you will not have any trouble later if you make changes to the data drives.
AFTER you have Win 7 installed and running on one HDD, you shut down and install your other two older data drive units. When Win 7 boots up, it will find and recognize those units and you will have full access to them.
One small consequence of doing things this way, though, is that you MIGHT end up with HDD letter names not the way you want them. For example, doing it this way may end up with the OS unit as the C: drive, your optical as D:, and the data drives as E: and F:. If you need different naming, you can change them, and the easiest way may be in two stages. First, after you have installed Win 7 on the one HDD, go into Disk Management and its Lower Right pane which shows you all the drive devices. You can RIGHT-click on a drive and choose to change its letter name. For example, you could change the optical unit to G:, leaving the intervening letters unused. Then back out of Disk Management and reboot to update the Registry. Now as the second stage, shut down and install your tow older data units. Boot up and use My Computer to check which letter names have been given to those drives. If you don't like them, use Disk Management again to change the letters on them until you get what you want for everything. Then back out and reboot to update the Registry. Doing all this before installing all kinds of software will avoid the kinds of later problems created when you change a drive letter and cause Registry confusion.
^ See my second-last paragraph about how to install and use the old data drives WITH their contents - easy!
Yes, you can do this without temporarily disconnecting the two data drives, and it WILL all work just fine. Until you remove one of those data drives a year from now, and your machine mysteriously can't boot. That was my point - if you know about this quirk ahead of time, you can prevent it now if you choose to.