Swapping a data harddrive from one OS to another


Sep 6, 2011

This is the 3rd computer I've ever built, but I'm a bit rusty. I think I know what I'm doing but some reassurances can't hurt--not to mention this data took me years to accumulate so I want to be sure I'm using the safest method here. Hence, the exhaustive detail.

The hardware:

I want to move data (movies, music, word docs, etc.) from my old rig to my new computer. On my old computer I currently have 2 drives in raid 0 which boots to Windows Vista. I've also connected a 128 gb SSD. This was plugged in because I had no other way to test if the drives was defective on delivery. It has Windows 7 on it. So when i boot, i'm prompted with booting either into Vista or 7.

So in total my old computer has 3 drives that are currently connected.

The new computer will have 2 drives: 1) 128 GB SSD drive for Windows 7 and high utilization programs.
2) 2 TB 5400 rpm drive for data storage (music, vids, etc.)

The plan:

So first, I plan to unplug the SSD drive from my old PC. Then, hook up the 2 TB data drive to the old PC. I have to do this because I'm out of SATA ports. I will then boot into Vista (since the SSD drive with Windows 7 will be unplugged). From there, I will drag all my data (music, vids, files) from my raid 0 drives to the 2 TB hard drive. Once this transfer is done. I will unplug the 2 TB harddrive.

At this point, both the 128 GB SSD drive with Windows 7 and the 2 TB storage drive with all my data will have been disconnected from my old Vista PC.

I will then plug those into the new rig. I will boot from my Windows 7 disc and reinstall Windows onto the 128 GB SSD drive (since this is a new rig, I should do this right?)

At which point, I should be able to reboot from the SSD drive to Windows 7, and have all my data retrievable from the 2 TB drive.

So 2 questions:
1) Do I need to do any special formatting when I plug in the 2 tb harddrive into my old rig and then move it to the new one. Since its just data, it should be plug and play right?
2) When reinstalling Windows 7 on the SSD drive, I just delete the whole drive and do a fresh install of Windows right? I don't need to format the SSD drive.

PHEW. Thanks for the help guys. You'll be contributing to the making of a quiet beast!

Your procedure is fine but you will run into issues if your Win 7 is an OEM copy. It can only be installed on one motherboard. Win 7 licensing is like that. If it's a full version or upgrade version then you are OK.