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Will Win 7 64-bit Recognize No-OS HD Formatted Under Win XP 32-bit?

Last response: in Windows 7
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December 3, 2011 2:03:05 AM

Hello and thanks for reading. I'm really hoping folks can easily clear up the below for me.

I'm currently running Win XP SP3 32-bit. I have two hard drives, an older Western Digital 250 GB Caviar SATA II drive and a more recent Western Digital 1TB Caviar SATA III drive.

My system is now currently running exclusively on the 1TB drive. Not long ago I cloned it from the older 250 GB drive to gain space.

This means I have an unattached/dormant 250 GB drive that still has Win XP 32-bit OS on it, along with a great deal of other data that's all preserved on my 1 TB drive.

I'm preparing to upgrade to Win 7 64-bit and have bought many new components for the new build — including a new Mushkin 120 GB solid state drive — and the old Caviar hard drives will be integrated into this as well.

So, I want to do the following (unless either I can't or there's a better, easier way):
1. Erase and reformat my 250 GB Caviar drive.
2. Install the now reformatted 250 GB Caviar drive as a slave drive in my current Win XP 32-bit system.
3. Copy all files I want to preserve for my Win 7 build to the 250 GB Caviar drive from my current 1 TB Caviar drive.
4. Now erase and reformat the 1 TB Caviar drive.
5. Build the Win 7 system, loading the Win 7 OS on to my new Mushkin 120 GB solid state drive.
6. Add both the reformatted 1 TB Caviar drive (w/no data) and the 250 GB Caviar drive with my "old" data that I'm transferring over to my Win 7 system on it.

In addition to old files I want to keep, the 250 GB Caviar drive will have drivers and other data useful in setting up my Win 7 system on it.

Is this simple or is there an issue with using a hard drive formatted under Win XP 32-bit on a Win 7 64-bit system? (I'll also note that I bought the full version of Win 7, which has both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the OS on it, though I definitely want to ultimately run 64-bit.)

Thoughts? Issues you can see?

Thanks again for reading and any input you can offer.

- ELB
a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 3, 2011 6:36:08 AM

It will work perfectly fine. The version of NTFS used in Windows 7 is a superset of that used in Windows XP, so Windows 7 will be able to recognize and use the XP-formatted drive without any problems. Just be sure that any files and folders you create have "Everyone: Full Control" access.

I'd change the order a bit and not delete the contents of your 1TB drive until you've installed Windows 7 on the new SSD, attached the 250GB drive to it, and confirmed that you can successfully access all your files. There shouldn't be any problem, but IMHO you should get your foot firmly onto the other bank of the river before you burn that bridge.
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December 3, 2011 1:10:25 PM

sminlal said:
It will work perfectly fine. The version of NTFS used in Windows 7 is a superset of that used in Windows XP, so Windows 7 will be able to recognize and use the XP-formatted drive without any problems. Just be sure that any files and folders you create have "Everyone: Full Control" access.

I'd change the order a bit and not delete the contents of your 1TB drive until you've installed Windows 7 on the new SSD, attached the 250GB drive to it, and confirmed that you can successfully access all your files. There shouldn't be any problem, but IMHO you should get your foot firmly onto the other bank of the river before you burn that bridge.


Brilliant thought. You're 100% right, of course, as there's absolutely no reason to empty my 1 TB with a Win XP system I know is working well until I've confirmed that my Win 7 PC is up and running.

As for "Everyone: Full Control," how do I set that? Is that something you set in Win XP home version (rather than professional, and I don't believe my PC is set up as a network)?

Thanks again for your reply — very helpful.

- ELB
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a b $ Windows 7
December 3, 2011 2:08:20 PM

You mention that there will be drivers etc. for setting up the win7 OS on the 250GB. drive -- You do realize that the 64 bit Win 7 will need different drivers than what you were using on the 32 bit system correct ? -- So best option would be first make sure you have all of the files you want from the 250GB HDD on the 1TB. drive as a backup -- then Format the 250GB drive (To wipe out the old OS and get back to a clean slate -- transfer the files you want to keep back onto it from the 1TB. drive including any drivers you feel you may need during the win7 install (be sure they are the 64 bit drivers since this is what the new system will need not 32 bit drivers) -- Once you have those files on the 250GB drive build the new system with the SSD as the primary boot drive and the 250GB drive as a storage drive - install win 7 64 to the SSD and load any needed drivers from the 250GB. drive (or direct from the net once the system is setup) -- Make sure you can access the files you moved to the 250GB. drive and that all is working - Once everything is up and running install the 1TB drive as a secondary storage drive. - Transfer any other files you may have missed from the 1TB HDD to the 250GB. HDD that you want to keep and then format the 1TB. drive and then move the files that you want kept to the drive you want them on and delete any extra copies unless you want them as backups. (might want to keep a copy of important files on both the 250GB. and 1 TB hdd in case one fails)

By doing it that way you can recover from any errors along the way and still have all of the files you need on at least one source at all times and usually on 2 sources.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 3, 2011 3:38:31 PM

ELB said:
As for "Everyone: Full Control," how do I set that? Is that something you set in Win XP home version (rather than professional, and I don't believe my PC is set up as a network)?
Ah yes, I don't think XP home has the same ability to edit access control lists. I didn't run the home version can I can't remember exactly what you needed to do to change file and folder security with it, so I'm afraid I can't be of any direct help. But it shouldn't be a problem as long as the folders aren't part of your account profile (your "My Document" folder tree). Windows applies protection on profile folders, but when you create folders on another drive the default is for them to have blanket access by everyone.
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December 3, 2011 10:01:27 PM

JDFan and sminlal:

I am really getting top-quality advice here — very much appreciated.

JDFan, yes, I did realize that I need all new drivers for Win 7 64-bit and have been downloading accordingly (to the 1 TB, which will then be copied to the 250 GB, so I will have them on both).

I actually believe I've found and downloaded them all, save perhaps firmware for my WD Caviar drives — I either can't find it at Western Digital (and they have a thorough site) or they don't exist. I'm not sure firmware would have anything to do with Win 7 anyway; WD says that these drives run off the drive controller drivers in the OS (which would be Win 7), if I'm understanding them correctly.

Thanks again, and any other moving-to-Win 7 tips would be greatly appreciated.

- ELB




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a c 209 $ Windows 7
December 4, 2011 12:42:38 AM

When you install Windows 7 make sure that the drive you're installing it onto is the only drive connected to the system. Windows will try to create a small 100MB boot partition on any other drive it can find, and most people prefer that the system boot directly off the OS drive.
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December 4, 2011 12:39:01 PM

sminlal said:
When you install Windows 7 make sure that the drive you're installing it onto is the only drive connected to the system. Windows will try to create a small 100MB boot partition on any other drive it can find, and most people prefer that the system boot directly off the OS drive.


Very good to know. Thanks for that.
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