Question Clean Windows 10 Install on New SSD

Sep 27, 2020
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I know this is a pretty popular topic, but I really did spend some time searching and I couldn't find an answer for my specific case that wasn't 5+ years old.

I'm upgrading an old PC by adding an SSD. The PC currently has one HDD installed that holds the OS and all the files, but it has two open SATA ports. I'd like to run both hard drives in parallel with the OS on the SSD and the HDD for extra storage. I don't need to keep any data from the original HDD; I want to format it completely and start with a fresh Windows install. As I understand it, the process needs to be:
  1. Download the Win 10 ISO and make a USB key
  2. Shut down the PC, unplug the HDD and plug in the SSD in an open SATA port
  3. Install Win 10 on the SSD and check that it works
  4. Shut down the PC, plug the HDD back in
  5. Start the computer, remove all partitions and format the HDD
I have a few questions:
  • Is that process correct?
  • When I start the PC in step 5, how do I know that the PC will start with the OS from the SSD and not the HDD?
  • It doesn't matter which SATA ports the HDD and SSD go in, right?
  • Do I need to find my Windows key somewhere on the HDD before I start this process, or is that info stored in the motherboard?
  • This is a ~10 year old PC that started on Win 7 and was upgraded to Win 10. Does that make a difference for anything?
Thanks in advance for your help :)
 
Sep 27, 2020
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Read and follow:

Thanks, that answered a number of my questions.

I'm still not clear on how to format the original HDD after Windows is installed on the SSD. If I make sure that the SSD is before the HDD in the BIOS startup order, is that enough to make sure it boots from the SSD? Once it's booted from the SSD can I just clean and format the HDD from diskpart same as you would a flash drive?
 
Thanks, that answered a number of my questions.

I'm still not clear on how to format the original HDD after Windows is installed on the SSD. If I make sure that the SSD is before the HDD in the BIOS startup order, is that enough to make sure it boots from the SSD? Once it's booted from the SSD can I just clean and format the HDD from diskpart same as you would a flash drive?
I would suggest you install windows on the new drive while old drive is disconnected.
Once you have everything working and booting from new drive you can connect old drive and delete all the partitions on old drive so you have full capacity available. It's obvious that you have to make new drive #1 in boot order in BIOS. As it's easy to make mistake using diskpart, you may be better off using GUI based program like https://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html to safely make changes to old disk.
 

BogdanH

Proper
Sep 21, 2020
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@arimb
Your process (1-5) of installing windows on new SSD is correct.
After you connect old HDD back again and power up, PC will automatically start windows from SSD, even there's still windows on HDD -because PC was shut down with SSD (as last active boot drive).
After your PC starts with both drives, HDD will become D drive, which you can format directly in File explorer (or clean partition & format by using Computer Management>Storage>Disk Management).
 

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