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Question Deleting Windows from HDD and installing on SSD

omegaglory1

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Hi all, I'm planning on buying an SSD. My existing HDD will serve as a storage for mostly files while the new SSD will be for OS and some programs.

I plan to do a fresh Windows 10 install on the SSD as I've read this is less hassle than cloning and migrating. I've got a recent backup sitting in an external hard drive.

How do I go about doing OS install and deleting the current OS installation from the HDD? Do I need to delete OS first then install to the SSD?
 

Newtonius

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It's easily possible to install the OS onto the SSD while the HDD still has the previous OS on it.

First obviously backup your important personal data to whatever you can and if you don't have a windows installation USB yet, make one before proceeding. You can most likely re-use your current windows key so get that first too.
  • Turn off the computer and physically install the SSD
  • Unplug the SATA cable from the HDD
  • Plug in the USB windows media installer
  • Turn on the computer and boot from the USB through BIOS
  • Install windows to the SSD with the USB media creation
  • Load up windows and do your usual Windows updates and first time configurations/driver installations.
  • Shutdown the computer
  • Plug the HDD's SATA cable back in
  • Turn on the computer and go straight into BIOS (Make sure you don't miss this part or you'll possibly end up booting the old OS)
  • In BIOS, set the boot order so that the SSD is the priority 1 boot device.
  • Save and restart the computer from the BIOS
  • It'll boot with the SSD into the fresh windows
  • Format the HDD in windows and boom, clean HDD ready to be used as a storage drive.
 
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Hi all, I'm planning on buying an SSD. My existing HDD will serve as a storage for mostly files while the new SSD will be for OS and some programs.

I plan to do a fresh Windows 10 install on the SSD as I've read this is less hassle than cloning and migrating. I've got a recent backup sitting in an external hard drive.

How do I go about doing OS install and deleting the current OS installation from the HDD? Do I need to delete OS first then install to the SSD?
I think cloning is less hassle.
I'd clone the HDD to the SSD and format the HDD and be done with it.
Otherwise....what I think you're looking at is...selectively deleting the OS on the HDD while keeping your data on the HDD? That sounds like a pain.
 

omegaglory1

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May 5, 2015
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It's easily possible to install the OS onto the SSD while the HDD still has the previous OS on it.

First obviously backup your important personal data to whatever you can and if you don't have a windows installation USB yet, make one before proceeding. You can most likely re-use your current windows key so get that first too.
  • Turn off the computer and physically install the SSD
  • Unplug the SATA cable from the HDD
  • Plug in the USB windows media installer
  • Turn on the computer and boot from the USB through BIOS
  • Install windows to the SSD with the USB media creation
  • Load up windows and do your usual Windows updates and first time configurations/driver installations.
  • Shutdown the computer
  • Plug the HDD's SATA cable back in
  • Turn on the computer and go straight into BIOS (Make sure you don't miss this part or you'll possibly end up booting the old OS)
  • In BIOS, set the boot order so that the SSD is the priority 1 boot device.
  • Save and restart the computer from the BIOS
  • It'll boot with the SSD into the fresh windows
  • Format the HDD in windows and boom, clean HDD ready to be used as a storage drive.
Thanks, very in depth step by step! For the final step, would I be able safely to delete the OS on the HDD once OS is installed and running on the SSD and if so what're the steps to this? I plan to still retain a lot of programs on the HDD, the SSD will primarily be for OS and photo editing software, which would benefit from speedier run times.
 

Newtonius

Respectable
Thanks, very in depth step by step! For the final step, would I be able safely to delete the OS on the HDD once OS is installed and running on the SSD and if so what're the steps to this? I plan to still retain a lot of programs on the HDD, the SSD will primarily be for OS and photo editing software.
Yeah it's safe to wipe an HDD with an OS on it while you're running an OS on the SSD. You can simply use windows built in format tool. Simply open up file explorer > 'this pc' > right click on your HDD drive icon > click "format" and follow these steps:

  • Set file system to NTFS
  • Set allocation size to default or 4096
  • Name the drive whatever you want in the 'Volume label'
  • Check the 'quick format' option. This means the drive will simply set the entire drive to be overwritten. It will not delete the physical data but rather allow the new windows to write new data OVER the existing data ultimately wiping it in the long run the more you write to the drive.
Or you can un-check quick format to do a complete wipe of the existing data, but this will take longer depending on the size of the drive.
 

omegaglory1

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May 5, 2015
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Yeah it's safe to wipe an HDD with an OS on it while you're running an OS on the SSD. You can simply use windows built in format tool. Simply open up file explorer > 'this pc' > right click on your HDD drive icon > click "format" and follow these steps:

  • Set file system to NTFS
  • Set allocation size to default or 4096
  • Name the drive whatever you want in the 'Volume label'
  • Check the 'quick format' option. This means the drive will simply set the entire drive to be overwritten. It will not delete the physical data but rather allow the new windows to write new data OVER the existing data ultimately wiping it in the long run the more you write to the drive.
Or you can un-check quick format to do a complete wipe of the existing data, but this will take longer depending on the size of the drive.
Can this method be used to selectively delete OS only? My aim is to retain everything as it is minus the OS on my HDD and have a set up where I'm ultimately booting from OS installed on an SSD. Or is it an easy case of just deleting the Windows folder on my HDD?
 
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Newtonius

Respectable
Can this method be used to selectively delete OS only? My aim is to retain everything as it is minus the OS on my HDD and have a set up where I'm ultimately booting from OS installed on an SSD.
No, if you want to preserve your personal data you'll most likely find it in the 'Users' folder of your HDD's old OS directory.



Look for that 'users' folder in your old OS directory and look for your personal user folder. You should be able to access it provided that you're admin on your new OS. You will see all your desktop files, downloads, pictures folder, etc.

You can backup those files wherever you want to your SSD or to an external cloud/drive/USB and then once done format the entire drive once you've confirmed all your personal data is backed up. You should do this before installing the new SSD though, and then do a once more confirmation after you've installed the new SSD.

This is really the best option if you don't plan on cloning, which you're right about some people saying it's a hassle or can cause some problems. So if you don't feel comfortable doing a cloning or don't have the tools than what I wrote above is the best way to proceed.
 
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omegaglory1

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May 5, 2015
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No, if you want to preserve your personal data you'll most likely find it in the 'Users' folder of your HDD's old OS directory.



Look for that 'users' folder in your old OS directory and look for your personal user folder. You should be able to access it provided that you're admin on your new OS. You will see all your desktop files, downloads, pictures folder, etc.

You can backup those files wherever you want to your SSD or to an external cloud/drive/USB and then once done format the entire drive once you've confirmed all your personal data is backed up. You should do this before installing the new SSD though, and then do a once more confirmation after you've installed the new SSD.

This is really the best option if you don't plan on cloning, which you're right about some people saying it's a hassle or can cause some problems. So if you don't feel comfortable doing a cloning or don't have the tools than what I wrote above is the best way to proceed.
No, if you want to preserve your personal data you'll most likely find it in the 'Users' folder of your HDD's old OS directory.



Look for that 'users' folder in your old OS directory and look for your personal user folder. You should be able to access it provided that you're admin on your new OS. You will see all your desktop files, downloads, pictures folder, etc.

You can backup those files wherever you want to your SSD or to an external cloud/drive/USB and then once done format the entire drive once you've confirmed all your personal data is backed up. You should do this before installing the new SSD though, and then do a once more confirmation after you've installed the new SSD.

This is really the best option if you don't plan on cloning, which you're right about some people saying it's a hassle or can cause some problems. So if you don't feel comfortable doing a cloning or don't have the tools than what I wrote above is the best way to proceed.
The files and folders aren't a big issue as I've got them in my system image backup and could easily create file copies on a usb drive. With the method you've suggested, is there a way to retain programs or will these be lost?

Could I simply do a system restore onto my SSD then delete files and folders, uninstall programs as needed from the SSD and reinstall them on my HDD? The main ones are Steam and Adobe.
 

Newtonius

Respectable
The files and folders aren't a big issue as I've got them in my system image backup and could easily create file copies on a usb drive. With the method you've suggested, is there a way to retain programs or will these be lost?

Could I simply do a system restore onto my SSD then delete files and folders, uninstall programs as needed from the SSD and reinstall them on my HDD? The main ones are Steam and Adobe.
I don't believe System restore works that way since these are time based restore points - it'd be easier cloning your drives than doing that. But then again I haven't done a system restore with Win 10 yet. You should check out a few videos about it and test it out if you feel comfortable enough.

The method I suggested will not preserve the programs - all those programs will not be in the new windows registry and thus unusable. If these are games you're talking about, you can drag some games over to your new SSD if you don't have the network speed to reinstall them. Just make sure they mimick the same directory path as they did previously if you do it manually over system restore.
 

omegaglory1

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I don't believe System restore works that way since these are time based restore points - it'd be easier cloning your drives than doing that. But then again I haven't done a system restore with Win 10 yet. You should check out a few videos about it and test it out if you feel comfortable enough.

The method I suggested will not preserve the programs - all those programs will not be in the new windows registry and thus unusable. If these are games you're talking about, you can drag some games over to your new SSD if you don't have the network speed to reinstall them. Just make sure they mimick the same directory path as they did previously if you do it manually over system restore.
Sorry, I meant restoring from system image. I can live with not preserving my programs, those can be easily reinstalled and Steam games will still be retained. An important question/hurdle would be: is a system image created on a HDD usable on an SSD?

Essentially I would be copying everything via a system image, OS included, to the SSD, which negates the need for a fresh OS install. Then selectively uninstalling/deleting things on the SSD until I only have OS and any programs I want. Wipe the HDD, reinstall programs and copy files onto it from USB drives as needed.

If my OS was installed to a separate partition on the HDD, could I simply delete the partition then restore system image or is that impossible?

Then again, the method you suggested would be less hassle and more foolproof. Doing a fresh OS install on the SSD then transferring personal files comes with far less risk and less chance of anything being incompatible. Only programs installed on the HDD would be sacrificed but as I said, these can be recovered.
 
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Newtonius

Respectable
Sorry, I meant restoring from system image. I can live with not preserving my programs, those can be easily reinstalled and Steam games will still be retained. An important question/hurdle would be: is a system image created on a HDD usable on an SSD?

Essentially I would be copying everything via a system image, OS included, to the SSD, which negates the need for a fresh OS install. Then selectively uninstalling/deleting things on the SSD until I only have OS and any programs I want. Wipe the HDD, reinstall programs and copy files onto it from USB drives as needed.

If my OS was installed to a separate partition on the HDD, could I simply delete the partition then restore system image or is that impossible?

Then again, the method you suggested would be less hassle and more foolproof. Doing a fresh OS install on the SSD then transferring personal files comes with far less risk and less chance of anything being incompatible. Only programs installed on the HDD would be sacrificed but as I said, these can be recovered.
Lol sounds like you've figured out which direction to go. That method you pitched doesn't sound ideal and as you mentioned could possibly cause issues, but now you seem to understand your options. Just take into consideration that SSD's are limited by their amount of write cycles, so choose the method that will be less stressful on your SSD in the long-run. Just don't forget to secure your windows key from your current OS if you plan on a fresh install.
 

omegaglory1

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Lol sounds like you've figured out which direction to go. That method you pitched doesn't sound ideal and as you mentioned could possibly cause issues, but now you seem to understand your options. Just take into consideration that SSD's are limited by their amount of write cycles, so choose the method that will be less stressful on your SSD in the long-run. Just don't forget to secure your windows key from your current OS if you plan on a fresh install.
I think a fresh OS install to the SSD means I'm not copying over any errors either.
 

omegaglory1

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Completed installation today with a fresh OS install, I decided to ditch the old 500GB HDD for a new 1TB one as well. The difference the SSD makes is significant.
 

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