Question Can my HDD's still read/write if changing Windows version?

Jan 18, 2020
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Hi guys, I'm currently using Windows 7 and would like to move to Windows 10. I'm going to do a fresh install of Windows 10 on my SSD. But I have 3 other internal HDD's in my computer (with files) that I would like to keep. So can I just unplug my HDD's, do a new install of Windows 10 on SSD, then plug the HDD's all back internally (SATA) and it will read/write fine? Will it register the HDD or I would have to do something? I also wouldn't want to have to wipe everything or get an enclosure.

Or can I just install Windows 10 on the SSD without having to unplug the HDD's?

Thank you for reading and your replies.
 
Safest way is the first method you mentioned. Disconnect the other drives, install Windows to the SSD (log in, shut down), then reconnect the old drives. The data on the old drives will still be there, and you shouldn't need to do anything special.

The only exception is if you installed any software onto these other drives as the new Windows installation won't know about them.
 

falcon291

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Jul 17, 2019
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Hi guys, I'm currently using Windows 7 and would like to move to Windows 10. I'm going to do a fresh install of Windows 10 on my SSD. But I have 3 other internal HDD's in my computer (with files) that I would like to keep. So can I just unplug my HDD's, do a new install of Windows 10 on SSD, then plug the HDD's all back internally (SATA) and it will read/write fine? Will it register the HDD or I would have to do something? I also wouldn't want to have to wipe everything or get an enclosure.

Or can I just install Windows 10 on the SSD without having to unplug the HDD's?

Thank you for reading and your replies.
You don't need to unplug the other HDDs But read all the messages during installation clearly, and be sure that you are installing Windows on SSD.

If you press OK without reading what is written, there is a chance that you may end up installing Windows on one of these HDDs, deleting all these files. Don't do it.
 

Wu-Zi-Mu

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Feb 20, 2016
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If you press OK without reading what is written, there is a chance that you may end up installing Windows on one of these HDDs, deleting all these files. Don't do it.
You can install 7 on an existing partition, it won't delete any files, even old system files. I think you can even install 7 over an existing 7 installation and the old install is moved to the Windows.old folder. I would hope MS hasn't messed that up with 10 but haven't tried myself.
 

falcon291

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Jul 17, 2019
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You can install 7 on an existing partition, it won't delete any files, even old system files. I think you can even install 7 over an existing 7 installation and the old install is moved to the Windows.old folder. I would hope MS hasn't messed that up with 10 but haven't tried myself.
Honestly I didn't try to install Windows 10 using old partitions, but rather I gave the whole disk and let Windows installation create as many partitions as it wants. And Windows 10 has two more partitions created.

If I remember right it is possible to install Windows 10 in a single partition not leaving it to installation program, but it is not recommended.
 

Wu-Zi-Mu

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Feb 20, 2016
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Honestly I didn't try to install Windows 10 using old partitions, but rather I gave the whole disk and let Windows installation create as many partitions as it wants. And Windows 10 has two more partitions created.
Those two extra partitions are probably EFI and system recovery.
If I remember right it is possible to install Windows 10 in a single partition not leaving it to installation program, but it is not recommended.
It probably works fine with 10 since it works fine with 7 & 8 but I haven't needed to try it yet so I can't recommend for sure
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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You absolutely need to physically disconnect all drives except the desired boot drive.

Failure to do so during a clean install leads to having the small boot partition ending up on one of the other drives.
Yes, it does this. Nothing you selected. It just does it.
 

Nemesia

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Nov 6, 2019
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You don't need to unplug the other HDDs But read all the messages during installation clearly, and be sure that you are installing Windows on SSD.

If you press OK without reading what is written, there is a chance that you may end up installing Windows on one of these HDDs, deleting all these files. Don't do it.
That is wrong. If you don't unplug the HDD it isn't about on what drive you install windows but windows can install system files to that other HDD. So when you unplug the HDD in the future your windows won't boot even if you installed windows on the SSD.
 

falcon291

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Jul 17, 2019
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That is wrong. If you don't unplug the HDD it isn't about on what drive you install windows but windows can install system files to that other HDD. So when you unplug the HDD in the future your windows won't boot even if you installed windows on the SSD.
You will be selecting the drive to install Windows. So no Windows will not install files to other drives. Last year I first installed Windows to a SSD drive, then a NVMe drive and all other harddisks were connected to my computer during installations.

I always make clean installations and give whole drive to Windows installation. If you make your own partitioning, EFI and Recovery partitions might end up in other drives. It was not the case for my installations.
 

Nemesia

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Nov 6, 2019
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You will be selecting the drive to install Windows. So no Windows will not install files to other drives. Last year I first installed Windows to a SSD drive, then a NVMe drive and all other harddisks were connected to my computer during installations.

I always make clean installations and give whole drive to Windows installation. If you make your own partitioning, EFI and Recovery partitions might end up in other drives. It was not the case for my installations.
This is not something you have the choices over. Windows will install system files on other drives if it wants to. All the experts on this forum will tell you the same. You absolutely need to unplug your other drives. There are many cases of this on this forum every day where people now have system files on another drive while having the boot and the rest on the drive they choose to install windows. I'm surprised you don't know this really.

Do not argue on this. This is something already confirmed by the community even if you installed Windows once and it didn't do this it doesn't mean it won't next time especially if you don't unplug your other drives.
 

USAFRet

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You will be selecting the drive to install Windows. So no Windows will not install files to other drives. Last year I first installed Windows to a SSD drive, then a NVMe drive and all other harddisks were connected to my computer during installations.
As opposed to the dozens of people we see here every week, where exactly that happened.
 

falcon291

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Jul 17, 2019
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This is not something you have the choices over. Windows will install system files on other drives if it wants to. All the experts on this forum will tell you the same. You absolutely need to unplug your other drives. There are many cases of this on this forum every day where people now have system files on another drive while having the boot and the rest on the drive they choose to install windows. I'm surprised you don't know this really.

Do not argue on this. This is something already confirmed by the community even if you installed Windows once and it didn't do this it doesn't mean it won't next time especially if you don't unplug your other drives.
I am not arguing anything here: But I am just saying that if you give control of a whole drive to Windows installer, it would not meddle with other drives, as it was with my case, and it was what I did for whole my Windows 8 and Windows 10 installations.

And I try to explain it in my reply: "I always make clean installations and give whole drive to Windows installation. If you make your own partitioning, EFI and Recovery partitions might end up in other drives. It was not the case for my installations."
 

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