[SOLVED] How to save secondary drives and data when wiping/resetting Windows

Jan 28, 2022
Hi everyone. I have a desktop PC that I built a few years back and I want to factory reset the Windows on it. I have moved everything I want to keep off the C: Drive/Windows boot drive which is a SSD. I also have two HDD drives I use as backups. I want to preserve the contents of the two secondary drives.

I'm thinking these are my two options:
1. Reset Windows but "Keep my files" and if I do that does it just not touch the secondary drives at all? Is there any risk to doing this? I read something that if there is a secondary drive installed during a windows install then it puts Windows files on the secondary drive. That may be the case for one or both of these drives and it would cause issues right?

2. Reset Windows and "Remove all files" in which case I should probably unplug/disconnect the other two drives before I do the reset right? Once Windows has a clean reset can I plug the secondary drives back in and still access all the data on them? I'd have to activate them or something right?

Thanks so much for your help! I have been searching all over the internet for this answer so I'm here asking the real ones.
Disconnect the storage drives. Wipe the SSD and install Windows. After you are back up running, reconnect the storage drives. You (might) have to go into disk management and re-initialize them.


Physically disconnect the other drives.

Anything else is subject to fail.

And not "reset".....full wipe and reinstall.