Question SSD + HDD cooperation with a fresh Win10 installation.

Dec 4, 2019
I'm about to do my first major PC upgrade in half a decade. The only things staying on are little things like case fans, a wifi adapter I don't really use now but hey no reason to get rid of it, optical drive, my case, and my HDD.

I'm strongly inclined to get an SSD (though I haven't decided on what kind), specifically an m.2 since my new board has a nice slot for that, and using that for a boot drive. I've read a lot about how doing a fresh install of Windows 10 can make all the files on your old drive [redacted] because no registry in the new OS. So I'd like to outline my current plan and ask for any corrections or suggestions for improvement, or even if it'll work at all!

  1. With my USB of installation in hand, I backup my internal hdd to an external one. Probably a really good time to do some cleaning of files I don't need.
  2. At some point before or after the PC build, format the internal hdd (not as certain on when the best time to do this would be).
  3. Install all new components, do the checks, install any software (before or after Windows installation, depending on how it works?), all that good stuff..
  4. Set up my hypothetical SSD as the boot drive (in my head it's at least one of those 512gb options, if not more), install Windows.
  5. Set my correct boot order, plug in and add the formatted internal hdd to the list.
  6. Once all above are achieved as well as driver updates for my new hardware, plug in my external hdd and restore those old files to my formatted, internal hdd.
  7. Success, maybe?
Decent chance I have an incorrect assumption somewhere in there, hence why I'm posting here. My end goal is a system with majority file storage on HDD, with OS and favored programs on SSD, but able to access, modify, and run files and programs from both drives simultaneously while booting Win10 from the SSD. For all I know all of that may not be possible, or I'm missing a step, or I've fundamentally misunderstood something.

Here's the rundown of what I'll be working with.

Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk Max
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8gb)
GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER Gaming X
PSU: Seasonic FOCUS GX-650 80+ Gold (Full Modular)
HDD (Internal): Western Digital Black 1tb
SDD: To be decided.

Will also take any SSD recommendations. Slot supports NVMe.
Last edited by a moderator:


Vulgarity in anagram form will not be tolerated.

About the board, you should be looking at an NVMe drive for that board. A Samsung 970 Evo Plus would be beneficial. Pertaining the SSD and OS installation, you should have all drives disconnected while the NVMe is only plugged in and then use the bootable USB installer to install the OS.

Prior to that, you can have the original HDD and back up all critical data. You can have it connected while you want to install the OS but instead of installing the OS anew on the SSD, you format the previous installation drive. Mind you, it's good practice to label the drives so you don't format the wrong drive. I usually label the installation drive on any (former)drive as Windows 10 so it's easily identifiable during the installation process(from the USB installer).

Once formatted. Power down, then disconnect all drives except the NVMe drive and follow the first step listed above.
Dec 4, 2019
Your second point lost me a bit. Sorry about the anagram.

I think I'm set on just concerning myself with backing up user data, maybe some saved game files, chrome bookmarks and the like. It seems like trying to reintroduce installed programs is more of a pain than it's worth and you should just fresh install those too.

Should I wait to format the hdd until after the fresh install on the SSD? It seems prudent to not go deleting anything until I have Windows up and running again.