How do I use a HDD with Windows on it as storage?

Naveen117

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Jul 16, 2016
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My motherboard died so until I get it back I need to use another computer. This one has only a 120GB SSD in it so I was wondering if I could use the HDD from my broken computer in this computer as a storage temporarily. I want to use it in my own computer again once I get the motherboard back. How do I go about doing this? Is there anyway to do this WITHOUT formatting the HDD?
 

John_VanKirk

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Jan 28, 2010
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Hi Naveen,

Please let us know what OS is on your bad MB computer, and also what OS you have running on this temporary one. Also if this HDD was set up as a Basic Simple drive, or a Dynamic drive. In general if you just connect a HDD to a different computer running the same OS (more recent than Win XP Home) and same type, you can use it without any problem. Then when your MB gets out of the hospital, it can be reconnected to that machine. Might also mention the HDD Model, size, SATA II or III, or ATA. And of course, you only attach a secondary storage drive to a different computer with the computer shut down and unplugged.
Once attached as a Mass Storage Device, you can check in Disk Management to see that it comes Online and the Volume has a Healthy status
 

Naveen117

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Jul 16, 2016
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OS on bad board: Windows 10
OS on temporary: Windows 8/10 I am not sure what is on this one since it's my friend's and I can't get hold of him for the next couple of days, however, I am certain that it is either 8, 8.1 or 10.

The HDD I am using: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236339

Sorry but I'm not sure what a Basic or Dynamic drives are. When I built it I just plugged it in and didn't play around with the storage settings, so I'm assuming it's a basic drive?

Additional question: Could I remove the SSD and use my HDD as the boot drive and then attach it to my repaired motherboard without any issues? I heard that I may need my product key but the OS on my HDD was originally Windows 8 before I upgraded it to Windows 10. I forgot to record my Windows 10 key so now all I have is my 8 key. People say that Microsoft will give you a new key but does that require reinstalling windows which would format my HDD? Sorry if I have confused you.
 

John_VanKirk

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Jan 28, 2010
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Hi again,

The secondary WD Blue is a great drive for storing data.
You won't have any problem disconnecting the WD Blue from your sick computer, and attaching it to the temporary machine. Once you do that, Boot up to the desktop, Rt Clk on My Computer, and click "Manage", then on Disk Management. Look in the graphical area toward the bottom, and you will see the WD Blue attached. There are two sections to review. On the left end of the WD Disk, is the Disk Status Info. If should read Disk # 1,2,or 3 depending on how many other HDD's are attached. Then is should say "Basic", then the size in GB, and "Online". Then in the middle Volume Status section there should be a dark Blue band across the top, and it should list the Drive friendly name, or Drive E: (or similar), any Partitions on the Disk, size of each and most importantly "Healthy". Don't change anything here, just review the info. If any different than listed above, let us know. If it is as above, you are OK to go ahead and use it from File Explorer, or with Apps without any problems.

Regarding your second question, depending if the computer is an OEM model, you may well have to call MS to reactivate the OS if the MB has changed or they send you a new replacement rather than replacing a bad component..
That can be tricky, and frustrating if Win-10 is the OS and the UEFI Secure Boot is on, as is the default.
 

Naveen117

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Jul 16, 2016
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Thanks for the help! You'll likely hear back from me tonight or tomorrow depending on when I get the time to do all of this. I'm so happy I won't be losing any files.

When launching games and apps that were on the HDD, will there be any issues? Will I have to change the drive letter/name to what it was in my computer to tell the program where to find something on the drive or something?
 

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