Question Add another ssd that already has windows installed?

BScomputer

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Aug 25, 2016
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Hi,

I just built a new computer with a 500 gb ssd. I realized that my old ssd would be good to use as storage for games and such that need fast speeds. I already have Windows installed on that disk since it was my boot drive on old computer. Is it possible to add it to my new computer somehow?

Thanks
 

britechguy

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Jul 2, 2019
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You can nuke all Windows folders on drives that are not the active system drive.

Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. If it's not the system drive then it's just like any other auxiliary drive, and all files are fair game (if you have admin privileges, anyway, and after you've taken ownership if necessary).
 

britechguy

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On Transferring a System Drive with Windows 10 to a Completely Different Machine

Yes, you can do this, but you will get one of three results:

1. The machine will not boot, period. In which case you will simply have to do a completely clean install of Windows 10 anyway. If the hardware is really different this is the most likely outcome.

2. The machine will boot and run, even relatively well, and you can reactivate Windows, but because the hardware is completely different you will spend weeks to months chasing one issue after another because virtually nothing from the old hardware matches the new and that would make any OS crazy. It’s expecting things that just aren’t there anymore.

3. The machine will boot and run flawlessly, though Windows will not be activated. This happens, but is the least likely outcome. I’ve personally never seen this occur, but there are enough credible reports that it must happen on occasion. I would also imagine this only happens when one is dealing with actual or virtual "hardware twins" for the transplant.

My general advice is to start again from scratch. It all depends on what your tolerance for experimentation and frustration is.

If the machine in question ever had Windows 10 installed and activated at any point in the past it when you reinstall it will automatically fetch the digital license for the edition that it knows that machine last had. You can, of course, choose to upgrade it to a different edition, e.g., Home to Pro, by purchasing a Pro license key and using Settings, Update & Security, Activation Pane, Change product key link. After doing the under the hood activation for the components that were previously locked, you’ll have Windows 10 Pro instead. Windows 10 does not have to be reinstalled, as all components are already present, it is the license key that determines which are unlocked and active, which in turn is what determines the edition you’re running.
 

BScomputer

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Aug 25, 2016
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On Transferring a System Drive with Windows 10 to a Completely Different Machine

Yes, you can do this, but you will get one of three results:

1. The machine will not boot, period. In which case you will simply have to do a completely clean install of Windows 10 anyway. If the hardware is really different this is the most likely outcome.

2. The machine will boot and run, even relatively well, and you can reactivate Windows, but because the hardware is completely different you will spend weeks to months chasing one issue after another because virtually nothing from the old hardware matches the new and that would make any OS crazy. It’s expecting things that just aren’t there anymore.

3. The machine will boot and run flawlessly, though Windows will not be activated. This happens, but is the least likely outcome. I’ve personally never seen this occur, but there are enough credible reports that it must happen on occasion. I would also imagine this only happens when one is dealing with actual or virtual "hardware twins" for the transplant.

My general advice is to start again from scratch. It all depends on what your tolerance for experimentation and frustration is.

If the machine in question ever had Windows 10 installed and activated at any point in the past it when you reinstall it will automatically fetch the digital license for the edition that it knows that machine last had. You can, of course, choose to upgrade it to a different edition, e.g., Home to Pro, by purchasing a Pro license key and using Settings, Update & Security, Activation Pane, Change product key link. After doing the under the hood activation for the components that were previously locked, you’ll have Windows 10 Pro instead. Windows 10 does not have to be reinstalled, as all components are already present, it is the license key that determines which are unlocked and active, which in turn is what determines the edition you’re running.
Thanks for your lenghty response. However I think you either misunderstood me or vice versa. I'm not looking to keep the Windows installation on the old drive (that currently have Windows) but rather keep it as a storage drive on the new computer, like a faster hdd.

Best scenario would be if I could format it somehow when putting it into the new computer.

Apologies if I misunderstood you
 

BScomputer

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Found this in another thread. Does it really work and what happens if I boot the old computer and remove these files and folders with Windows running on it? Does it just shut down?

Formating is kinda excessive. Depending on size of HDD, there might be a lot of user data to backup.
Windows OS files are located in folders:
  • \Program Files
    \Program Files (x86)
    \ProgramData
    \Users - this contains user profiles, backup your user files before deleting
    \Windows
Delete those folders from HDD and old windows is gone.
 
Yes, that works. You can delete those files/folders from a secondary drive. You may encounter problems with file access permissions though.
But you can not delete them from primary OS drive (where windows is loaded from). Open files (currently used by windows) can not be deleted.
 

BScomputer

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Aug 25, 2016
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Yes, that works. You can delete those files/folders from a secondary drive. You may encounter problems with file access permissions though.
But you can not delete them from primary OS drive (where windows is loaded from). Open files (currently used by windows) can not be deleted.
But what happens if I put this old disk in the new computer and boot up? If it does boot, how do I even access the files/drive when its password protected?
 

britechguy

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If you put the old drive in and boot from it, then it IS the system drive, and you can't delete the Windows folders.

You would have to install it as a secondary drive. I am presuming your machine has a bay for a secondary internal drive. If not, then you'd need to buy a drive enclosure and cable and connect it like you do any other external USB drive.
 

BScomputer

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If you put the old drive in and boot from it, then it IS the system drive, and you can't delete the Windows folders.

You would have to install it as a secondary drive. I am presuming your machine has a bay for a secondary internal drive. If not, then you'd need to buy a drive enclosure and cable and connect it like you do any other external USB drive.
No, I'm not going to boot from it. I thought there would be additional security on a Windows install rather than just putting it in another computer and browse the files.

Anyway, I got the info I needed so thanks guys!
 

britechguy

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Well, there will be file system security, but if you are logged in as a user with admin privileges you are the Grand Poobah on the system and can demand that you be given access.

Probably the first time you try to access those folders on the auxiliary drive you'll be told you don't have permissions and asked if you want to have them granted (as you have the right to do as admin). It can take a while for the process to complete, but once you have those permissions those files/folders are like all others.
 

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