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Is it safe to use a hard drive that's NOT in a bay/bracket?

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June 20, 2012 4:41:15 AM

I'm building a new computer and I want to transfer everything (including Windows 7) from my old HDD to my new HDD, so I want to plug both into my old computer to do the transfer. HOWEVER, my old case is a Mini-ITX case and only has one HDD bay. So is it okay to plug in power/SATA to the HDD and just leave it on my desk? It's a temporary solution, just until I get all my data transferred, however I don't want to damage my new drive.


I guess I'll toss in a second question here, what's the easiest way to transfer everything (incl. W7/all my applications) to my new drive? Bare in mind I won't be using my old HDD in my new build.

I really appreciate any advice! :) 
June 20, 2012 4:59:26 AM

It should be safe, just dont let the drive move around while its reading/writing stuff or even when its turned off, mechanical drives are quite sensitive to physical shock (exposed drives are common on test benches)

edit: I wouldnt recommend just copying over the windows installation to the new drive, a safer bet would e to reinstall windows then reinstall all the applications to the new drive, this would give you a cleaner install of windows and avoid possible file and registry mishaps (plus this would remove all your drivers, which is good especially when youre using a new system since some drivers from your previous installation might be incompatible with your new system)
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June 20, 2012 7:36:24 AM

spindle said:
I'm building a new computer and I want to transfer everything (including Windows 7) from my old HDD to my new HDD, so I want to plug both into my old computer to do the transfer. HOWEVER, my old case is a Mini-ITX case and only has one HDD bay. So is it okay to plug in power/SATA to the HDD and just leave it on my desk? It's a temporary solution, just until I get all my data transferred, however I don't want to damage my new drive.


I guess I'll toss in a second question here, what's the easiest way to transfer everything (incl. W7/all my applications) to my new drive? Bare in mind I won't be using my old HDD in my new build.

I really appreciate any advice! :) 



You can clone your W7/applications HDD onto the new HDD, BUT being that you will be moving Window 7 setup/settings from OLD machine to NEW, I discourage this method. The thing that happens when you install an operating system, it takes stock of all the hardware and sets the required drivers and registry settings.

If you take your current Windows 7 from the OLD machine to NEW, your OS may boot-up successfully, but you will get a lot of crashes (freezes and blue screens) during its usage since it will not be stable with the myriad hardware/drivers incompatibility that will be difficult to track and remedy. The other outcome of your current Windows 7 from OLD machine on the NEW, boot-up may not even be successful.

The BEST solution is for you to do a clean Windows 7 install (plus all your applications). You can keep your old Mini-ITX Windows 7 PC as you back-up computer unless you intend on donating it to me (LOL) :-)
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June 20, 2012 7:52:42 AM

the easy way to move files without opening up the cases is if you have a wifi network is to turn on disk and file sharing on both pc. then log onto the new pc and copy the files you need from the old pc onto the new pc after you install a anti virus software.
if you dont have a wifi network then buy a cross over network cable. the 20.00 cost would be one large usb stick.
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June 20, 2012 5:10:53 PM

Best answer selected by Spindle.
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June 20, 2012 5:13:56 PM

Thanks everyone, I didn't even think about driver/hardware compatibility, so I'm definitely going to do a fresh install of windows.

As for all my files, I'm probably going to create a backup file on this computer, then restore them on the new computer. I'll only include movies/pictures/word docs etc so it won't cause any registry/compatibility issues.
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June 20, 2012 6:24:58 PM

Unless you have a retail version of W7 (unlikely) you are wasting your time even trying this. W7 OEM is tied to the MB permanently. Microsoft will tell you to buy a new copy.
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