Question I want to move an old Hard Drive to a new computer without losing data. How?

Oct 21, 2020
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I know how to install a new hard drive fairly easily. My question is simply, how do I take an older 3.5" hard drive that has an OS on it, and put it on my new computer that has the OS on an M.2 that I'm using? Obviously I don't need the OS on the hard drive anymore, but I really don't want to lose any of my personal files when I switch it over. Can someone help me understand what to do?
 
Oct 21, 2020
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@RARRAF even after I run that program, I just take the drive and plug it into the sata port of my new system, right? Will I be able to delete the OS part of the drive off of that when it is on my new computer and simply retain my other personal information?
 

USAFRet

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This is to be a secondary drive?
The new system already has a drive and OS?

No cloning needed or wanted.
Assuming the boot order is correct, just plug it in.
The system will boot from its normal drive, just like always.
 
Oct 21, 2020
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@USAFRet Thank you! how do I delete the OS from the old drive to open that space up? Is it by removing the partition? Sorry for all the questions, I just want to make sure I clean the OS off of it to reserve space, but I want to do it without losing my personal files. And yes, this hard drive will be my secondary drive.
 
This is to be a secondary drive?
The new system already has a drive and OS?

No cloning needed or wanted.
Assuming the boot order is correct, just plug it in.
The system will boot from its normal drive, just like always.

I would advise that "boot order" is (in theory) the correct response. Unfortunately in practice we find it doesn't always work out that way.

Use a dock to plug in the HDD to your up and running system, or use the old system. It avoids "Oops I accidentally did such and such to my OS" posts.
 
Reactions: bradencn

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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I would advise that "boot order" is (in theory) the correct response. Unfortunately in practice we find it doesn't always work out that way.

Use a dock to plug in the HDD to your up and running system, or use the old system. It avoids "Oops I accidentally did such and such to my OS" posts.
Yes, a docking station is a wonderful device to have.
Specifically for situations like this.
 
Reactions: bradencn
Another easy thing to do relies on your old system being up and operational as well.

If you don't already have a Windows install USB or disk, go on the new computer and start one going.
Log on to the old computer and move everything off that you want to keep. After that is done, use the disk or usb installer as if you were going to install Windows. When it gets to the first option, go to advanced and delete all the disk partitions. After it confirms that is complete, just stop the install. Remove the drive and it will be unallocated space that you can format as you wish within the new system.
 
Reactions: bradencn

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