Question How to reset old HDD for new PC?

Mar 30, 2019
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Hey guys, I recently found a old 500GB HDD in my house that I most likely purchased from a thrift store, and I was wondering how I could use it on my new PC to add some storage without damaging anything? I read somewhere that it could cause problems if I just connected it and tried booting my computer up, especially if it has a different driver involved.
Is there a way to reset it without risking damage?

Thank you!
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
make a linux drive
Boot to a USB drive with linux on it. grab a USB drive, a copy of rufus and a linux distribution.
http://distrowatch.com/ has tons of differing linux distributions and download links. I personally am fond of linux mint with cinnamon.
https://rufus.ie/ the utility used to extract the ISO file to the USB drive.

use rufus to extract the selected ISO to the tunmb drive. it will make the drive bootable and you can run linux from the drive once done.
disconnect your hard drives and connect the 500GB.
boot into linux and proceed to wipe the hard drive. assuming you used mint, click the mint button, go to all applications and find the "disks" program. you can there view the drive info and remove partitions or format the drive as you see fit.

once the drive is cleaned you can shut down reconnect the drives and boot into you windows knowing your safe.
 
This guy obviously is unsure on how to connect a hdd and you talk about installing linux? If he knows how to this then I apologise.

Anyway - as for your question.
Plugging the HDD into your computer using the correct cables and not removing ones already in your computer should not change anything.
Once this is done, windows should boot up with no problem.
If you find it doesn't just disconnect it, and let us know on this thread.

If you do get into windows, you can easily browse the HDD as long as it has been initialised (see USAFRet post).
If you don't know how to initialise it, again post that you can't on here.

So to recap
Plug it in
Turn it on
If you can see the HDD under Windows Explorer as a new drive eg D: then all is good
if windows boots up and you can't see it, disk management
If windows doesn't boot up at all, remove it.
 

R_1

Judicious
Herald
This guy obviously is unsure on how to connect a hdd and you talk about installing linux? If he knows how to this then I apologise.

Anyway - as for your question.
Plugging the HDD into your computer using the correct cables and not removing ones already in your computer should not change anything.
Once this is done, windows should boot up with no problem.
If you find it doesn't just disconnect it, and let us know on this thread.

If you do get into windows, you can easily browse the HDD as long as it has been initialised (see USAFRet post).
If you don't know how to initialise it, again post that you can't on here.

So to recap
Plug it in
Turn it on
If you can see the HDD under Windows Explorer as a new drive eg D: then all is good
if windows boots up and you can't see it, disk management
If windows doesn't boot up at all, remove it.
read my words, boot to linux, I said nothing about installing. not a single word about installing linux to anything other than the USB drive which is a simple file copy using a simple utility.
I have had clients delete the wrong partitions in windows disk manager. the safest way I know is to remove all but the drive in question and then delete only that drive.
the request was for "way to reset it without risking damage" disk manager as good as it is, is just one wrong click away from data deletion. its a risk.
the SAFEST WAY IS TO ONLY WORK ON THAT DRIVE.

your instructions assume the drive boot priorities did not change and that the old drive does not boot up. IF that were to happen you just instructed him to delete the partition he wants to keep.
 
Chances of a mistake in disk management do indeed go up exponentially when/if drives are the same size, 500 GB in this instance...; however, each drive listed (Disk 0,1,2, etc.)can be clicked on , and the 'properties' tab selected, and the specific model number/manufacturer will be listed (Samsung, HGST, ST (Seagate Technologies), etc...)

That would still leave a chance of a mistake if/when, for example, two WD drives of equal size were used, however... :) ...as there is no predictable way of knowing which drives are listed in seemingly random order within disk management... (My own HGST 4 TB storage drive is listed as drive 0, an extra laptop drive for tinkering is drive 1, and the Samsung NVME OS/C: drive is drive 2....)

When connecting the drive, do completely power off the rig, to include a shutdown AND removing power cable from rear of PSU , to ensure nothing goes wrong when connecting the drive's SATA power cable and SATA data cable to an available mainboard port... If you do not have a spare SATA power cable, and need to add one to a modular PSU, make sure you use the ones provided with that PSU, as the pinout at the PSU end is often different, which can quickly fry a drive at power on when/if wrong/incompatible cables are used!
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Additionally, for any old used drive...I would NOT have it connected at boot up.
This is where a USB SATA dock comes in handy.

Power on that dock only after the system is booted up.
Plus, this gives a much clearer indication of which drive you're accessing.
 

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