Question How to go about adding an old HDD with data on it onto a new desktop as a second HDD, without losing any data.

Jul 23, 2019
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Hi, I've just ordered a new desktop PC that will have an SSD with Windows 10 installed along with a 1Tb HDD. I would like to add my HDD from my current desktop to the new one as a second HDD. The old HDD (my current one) has loads of files on it that I can not lose, it also has windows 10 installed. Can I hook up my old HDD to the new PC without losing anything?

I have heard different things from different sources. Some people have said that I can install Windows 10 on my new PC's SSD, shut down the install my old HDD to the motherboard. and tell the new PS to boot from the SDD and to not allow the old HDD in my boot list.

I have also heard that once Windows is installed on the new PC, that I can then just hook up my old HDD and should simply have access to all my files (this seems far fetched but I don't know).

And also I've been told that I need to copy everything from my old HDD to an external drive (which I do not have). I can't format the old drive of course. and I'm not sure my pc PC is going to stay on long enough to copy over or clone the 903Gb of data from my old HDD to an external even if I did have one.

If I use the windows "Create and format hard disk partitions" there is an option called "Do not format this volume". Will this allow me to see and access the files from my old HDD once is hooked up without losing anything?

I know that the programs from the old HDD will have to be re-installed on the new PC before I can use them or that's what I've read.

Oh also will Windows 10 already being installed on the old HDD cause problems when being connected?

If anyone could step by step guide me on this that would be great! Or maybe tell me what my best option could be. Thanks.
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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A secondary drive should have no problem, as long as the system does not try to boot from it.

Ideally, you locate and copy all your data off that drive, then wipe it completely.
Later, copy your data back to it.


The new PC OS should be installed with only the SSD connected.
Reconnect all other drives later.
Read through here:
 
Jul 23, 2019
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A secondary drive should have no problem, as long as the system does not try to boot from it.

Ideally, you locate and copy all your data off that drive, then wipe it completely.
Later, copy your data back to it.


The new PC OS should be installed with only the SSD connected.
Reconnect all other drives later.
Read through here:
Ok thanks, I'm about to read through that now. The new pc will have an SDD for windows 10 and comes with a 1Tb hdd that I suspect will be empty for the most part. should I take out the new hdd before starting up the new pc to install windows do you think? Or should that be fine?
 
Jul 23, 2019
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Yes, disconnect the HDD.
Have only the SSD connected when you do this install?

Read through that link a time or two to get familiar with the process.
Yup just did that. So after I install windows onto ONLY the SDD with NO HDD connected at all, Will the Bios know to boot from the SDD after hooking up the old HDD and the new empty HDD? Also, will my old HDD be displayed with all data intact or will I have to do something like "Create and format hard disk partitions" and choose "Do not format this volume", to get my old HDD and it's contents to appear? Don't mean to sound like nitpicking just trying to be very safe about this.
 
Jul 23, 2019
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As long as the SSD is above the HDD in the boot order, no problem.
It never gets to the HDD to boot from.

The old drive should just be presented with another drive letter, just like any other drive.
D, E, F, whataver.
Okay, awesome! so essentially if the other HDD's are lower in the boot list than the SDD, they act sort of as internal flash drives. And I should have no issue with the two HDD's showing up in "My Computer"?
 
Jul 23, 2019
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The "My Computer" window in my PC...;)
Great! wow, that's a lot of space! One more thing I wanted to make sure of when I get the new PC and install the Windows 10 that comes with it, it will be a fresh copy of windows with a new product key, I use my Microsoft account to log into my old PC now with a pin. Will I be able to set up Windows on the SDD and still use my Microsoft account without any hassle?
 
Jul 23, 2019
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Well...you should ALWAYS have a backup.

Yeah I'm trying to get as much stuff as I can over to a 32 gb thumb drive and onto an older laptop, I'm a musician and game developer and there's just SO MUCH to back up it's taking a very long time plus there's not a big enough HDD on the laptop to cover everything important. I would get an external and maybe try to clone my old drive. But my old PC has been going black screen with everything in the tower still running. I'm not sure I think it's my video card dying out or my CPU maybe. I was just worried it would crash while trying to clone everything from the old HDD to an external.
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
I'm glad you guys touched on the backing up "files you can't lose" topic. I thought it got missed at first.

You absolutely have to have those on an unpowered backup. All drives fail and you need to be prepared for that!
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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I'm glad you guys touched on the backing up "files you can't lose" topic. I thought it got missed at first.

You absolutely have to have those on an unpowered backup. All drives fail and you need to be prepared for that!
And sometimes, you have little or NO warning.
The last two drives I had die were a 3TB HDD and a 960GB SSD.

The HDD went from seemingly perfect to dead in 36 hours.
The SSD went from no issue to no access in the space of power off and power up.

Full drive backups saved me both times.
 

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