Upgrading Rig, buying an SSD and still want to use my HDD with everything on it


Jul 11, 2014
I am upgrading almost everything in my pc, except the PSU and GPU, and of course the 1TB HDD I have. I am doing the thing every computer owner tells you to do buy buying a SSD and using it as my boot drive and also for start up programs. I was wondering how in the word would I go about installing this SSD with windows 10 and still being able to use my old HDD without having to re install all of my programs?
A few noteworthy things:
-My HDD is almost full and is running Windows 10. It also has the default partitions since I dont know what to do when it comes to those so I left them alone.
-My windows disk is windows 8.1, but I will be able to upgrade as soon as I install it right?
-I don't know how to format, but from what I have been reading, I would need to install windows on the SSD, shut down, plug in the HDD, and then it would give me an option to format the hard drive or something and then I can just delete all of the windows files off the hard drive?
-I do not have anything I can back my data up with so if there is literally no way this can be done without problems, then I will start fresh again if I need to. Speaking of starting fresh, how would I do that as well?

Sorry for all the questions, I'm sure its much easier than I think and am just more nervous than anything. If anyone could help, it would be so appreciated. Thanks!
Hey there, djdirka.

Basically it's always better if you make a fresh install of Windows. So, even though it would be a longer and more tedious process to start from scratch, I'd recommend that you do it. If you decide to go this way, then you should do the following:
1. Disconnect the HDD from the motherboard and connect the SSD
2. Enter your BIOS/UEFI settings and set the SATA controller's mode to AHCI, then save & exit
3. Install Windows
4. Make sure that the installation is successful (just boot to Windows to see if everything's OK).
5. Turn off the computer and connect the HDD.
At this point your HDD will be full with everything you already had. If your Windows is on a separate partition you could simply open Disk Management and delete the Windows partition along with any other OS (operating system) associated partitions like system reserved, recovery, etc. but only the ones on the HDD and not the SSD. This can be done by right clicking on each of them and then selecting "delete volume". Here's a tutorial on how to partition the unallocated space you're going to be left with afterwards (it will also show you how to access Disk Management as well): How to partition and format a drive on Windows and Mac OSX.

Note that some of the programs and/or games you've already installed on the HDD might not work with the new Windows installation.
As for upgrading to Windows 10, as far as I know the free upgrade is available until 29 July.

The other option would be to migrate your OS from the HDD to the SSD, but since you've mentioned that you don't have a drive for backups (you should seriously consider a backup option in the future) it might be a bit difficult. Here's a tutorial on how to do that: http://lifehacker.com/5837543/how-to-migrate-to-a-solid-state-drive-without-reinstalling-windows

I know I've written a lot of stuff so don't hesitate to ask if there's anything unclear.

Hope that helps.


Jul 11, 2014
So if my hard drive has everything on one partition (boot, games, etc) I would have to delete them all? And if I won't be able to upgrade to windows 10 (I should have all the parts by August 3) would everything on my hard drive still work? And if I can't get this to work, what other option are there?
Well, the best way to start with a new build is to install everything from scratch. It's really unfortunate that you have everything on a single partition though. :\

As for your components - if everything's compatible, the OS doesn't play a role here. The build should work with both Windows 8.1 and 10. Hopefully you'll get everything a few days early so that you can take advantage of the free upgrade.
I'd also recommend that you get in touch with Microsoft and explain your situation, to see if you'd be able to get a key for the upgrade after 29 July or if there's another option.

Please keep me informed.
No worries. Let me know if anything else comes up. ;)

Other than that I don't think you have anything to lose if you check with Microsoft what's the situation. Having in mind Windows 10 is supposed to be the future, it's recommended that you don't pass on the possibility if there's a chance that you might be able to upgrade for free afterwards or get a key from your current installation.