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Storing OS on Hard Drive Partition

Tags:
  • Partition
  • Storage
  • Hard Drives
  • Windows 8
Last response: in Storage
July 29, 2013 6:09:26 AM

Hello,
I have a hard drive with windows 8 installed on it and some of my files. Unfortunately I have to reinstall the operating system and, from what I read, the only way will be to clear the hard drive and then reinstall the OS. This is fine since my stuff is backed up; my question is: is it possible, to instal the OS a second time, then partition the HD and store my files on the partition without the OS so that, in the event that I have to reinstall the OS, again I don't have to wipe the entire drive?

By the way, the reason I have to reinstall the OS is because it's in an automatic repair loop and I can't seem to fix it.

Thanks

More about : storing hard drive partition

a c 464 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
July 29, 2013 7:00:03 AM

Yes, you can do exactly that, and many have done so for the same reason. Because you already have all your stuff backed up, you're ready to go.

First of all, you have heard correctly. The Install process will completely wipe out what is already on the drive and start fresh. So, you will have to restore your data files etc. after that. BUT you will also have to re-install all your application software because the new OS will not know where to find them. So, make SURE you have all you app software installation media available with the authorization codes.

When you start the Install you will have to tell it to Delete all the existing Partition(s) on that drive. Then as you proceed, do NOT allow it to establish a new Primary Partition for the Install that takes up the full drive space. Instead, tell it to create only a Partition with enough space for the OS plus some spare - say, 10 to 20 GB extra to allow for temporary files and the Virtual Memory file (depends on your RAM size). This will allow you to complete the Install and leave the whole rest of your HDD Unallocated - you'll come back later to manually Create a second Partition there and use it.

When the Install is finished and any Updates done, you may have to Install also a few updated device drivers. When that's all done, use Windows' Disk Management utility to look at your drives. In the LOWER RIGHT pane you'll see your HDD with a large block called Unallocated Space. RIGHT click on it and choose to Create a new Partition and Format it. Tell it to use all of this empty space to make a second Primary Partition, but it does not need to be bootable. If you have to choose Format options, make it the NTFS File System and choose what type of Format you want - the Quick one, or the Full one. This will make that space into another drive with its own letter name that you can use. Back out of Disk Management and reboot.

Now you should set up Windows to use that new large drive as the default location for your files. Then start Installing all your application software. This is necessary so that the Registry of the new Install is told where all that software is. As each is installed, make sure you tell it NOT to install to the C: drive, but to the new large empty drive. Also ensure each app is set to place its own default file folders on that empty data drive.

After all your apps are re-installed, you can copy all your old configuration and data files from the backup drive to the new drive. Then you're complete.

July 29, 2013 8:19:07 AM

Paperdoc said:
Yes, you can do exactly that, and many have done so for the same reason. Because you already have all your stuff backed up, you're ready to go.

First of all, you have heard correctly. The Install process will completely wipe out what is already on the drive and start fresh. So, you will have to restore your data files etc. after that. BUT you will also have to re-install all your application software because the new OS will not know where to find them. So, make SURE you have all you app software installation media available with the authorization codes.

When you start the Install you will have to tell it to Delete all the existing Partition(s) on that drive. Then as you proceed, do NOT allow it to establish a new Primary Partition for the Install that takes up the full drive space. Instead, tell it to create only a Partition with enough space for the OS plus some spare - say, 10 to 20 GB extra to allow for temporary files and the Virtual Memory file (depends on your RAM size). This will allow you to complete the Install and leave the whole rest of your HDD Unallocated - you'll come back later to manually Create a second Partition there and use it.

When the Install is finished and any Updates done, you may have to Install also a few updated device drivers. When that's all done, use Windows' Disk Management utility to look at your drives. In the LOWER RIGHT pane you'll see your HDD with a large block called Unallocated Space. RIGHT click on it and choose to Create a new Partition and Format it. Tell it to use all of this empty space to make a second Primary Partition, but it does not need to be bootable. If you have to choose Format options, make it the NTFS File System and choose what type of Format you want - the Quick one, or the Full one. This will make that space into another drive with its own letter name that you can use. Back out of Disk Management and reboot.

Now you should set up Windows to use that new large drive as the default location for your files. Then start Installing all your application software. This is necessary so that the Registry of the new Install is told where all that software is. As each is installed, make sure you tell it NOT to install to the C: drive, but to the new large empty drive. Also ensure each app is set to place its own default file folders on that empty data drive.

After all your apps are re-installed, you can copy all your old configuration and data files from the backup drive to the new drive. Then you're complete.



Thanks so much for the response and instructions!

Say the OS problems were to occur again and I need to re-install windows again, would it only then need to wipe the partition with the OS, keeping my partition with all my files on it?
a c 464 G Storage
a b * Windows 8
July 29, 2013 12:21:05 PM

Yes, that's the idea. When you start this second re-install of the OS, you may have to manually tell it to Delete only the one Partition you were using as the C: drive, then use that Unallocated Space to create a fresh Partition in which to do the new Install. Remember that, after the Install is completed, you'd then have to change Windows' settings for the locations of certain default folders, like My Documents, etc.

However, I think there would still be a problem that the new Registry would not have any record of your applications software. You would have to re-install all those apps again, remembering to install to your data drive, not the C: drive. Then in each case you would have to go into the app and change its configuration settings and those for for default file locations to the way it was, because the app's Install likely would have set them differently. But here's some good news. My son tells me that, when this is done, the Install of each app will not delete the data files you already have stored in folders of the same name on your data drive. For example, if you have a folder named Algebra on the data drive with all your old assignments in it, they will still be there after you have done the re-install.
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