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Windows 7: Reformating computer with two Hard Drives.

25 Dec 2012   #1

Windows 7 professional X64
 
 
Reformating computer with two Hard Drives.

Hey peeps. I was looking for some information regarding the reformat/clean install of windows 7 in my system.

I will add a new motherboard, and I thought it would be a good idea to start fresh, however I have a couple of questions..
I have two hard drives, one in which the motherboard is installed, and other one in which a couple of games, and files are stored, but there are no system files. And the drives are not in any RAID array.
Can I use my second drive as a backup drive even though it is internal?
Would I need to remove it from my computer before I reformat?
If I don't need to remove it, can I just reformat the main drive in which windows 7 is installed and leave the second drive alone?

What would be the recommended process to follow? I'm a little err.. worried about the outcome, since I have plenty of applications I've spent days trying to configure correctly, so I would like to have a backup that leaves my system as close as it was before the clean install.

I've heard sysprep does something similar, but what are the benefits/risks of sysprep in comparison to a reformat? My startup has been slower than usual, and my drivers would appreciate a clean start.
Could I consider sysprep a reformat but one that does not affect my files?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Dec 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
Can I use my second drive as a backup drive even though it is internal?
Yes. Your primary drive will be the C: drive and this second drive will have a different drive letter (let's say it's the E: drive.) When it comes time to create a backup or system image, you will be prompted to select a destination drive. Just select the E: drive.
Quote:
Would I need to remove it from my computer before I reformat?
I would suggest you remove it. If there's only one drive in the machine during the reformat, there's no way that the second drive could be mistakenly wiped clean or otherwise messed with.
Quote:
What would be the recommended process to follow?
Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
Clean Install Windows 7
Quote:
(a) I would like to have a backup that leaves my system as close as it was before the clean install.
(b) I've heard sysprep does something similar, but what are the benefits/risks of sysprep in comparison to a reformat?
(a) This is just personal opinion and others may disagree or have a better suggestion. Your primary hard drive (let's call it Drive 1) contains your operating system and whatever other programs may be installed. Your second hard drive (let's call it Drive 2) contains a couple of games and files. If Drive 2 has enough free space you could clone Drive 1 to Drive 2 and that would be your backup. You could use a free program like Macrium to do the cloning.
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
Go ahead and format Drive 1 and then you could reinstall the backup from Drive 2. But if that backup has any malware, factory bloatware, damaged or corrupt system files, etc you'd be reinstalling all of that stuff back onto Drive 1. You've effectively undone the format. What I would do is make a new system image of the newly formatted Drive 1 that now contains the newly reinstalled operating system, programs, all updates, customizations, etc.
(b)From what I understand, sysprep basically duplicates (images) your existing system setup for deployment on several machines throughout an organization or network. It also gives you the opportunity to add additional device drivers or applications specific to the different machines you'll be installing on. Since you're dealing with only one machine, I believe cloning would be quicker and less prone to errors.
What Is Sysprep?

But as I said up front, all of this is just my personal opinion and others may have a much better way to proceed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Dec 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Quote:
I will add a new motherboard,
You need to do a clean install,
As the new MOBO's now have a uEFI BIOS.
How to install Windows 64 bit on a uEFI BIOS:
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 7 with
or
UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) - Install Windows 8 with



For more info on uEFI:
Windows and GPT FAQ
Unified Extensible Firmware Interface - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
UEFI and Windows
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


25 Dec 2012   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

Sysprep is only needed to move an OS to different hardware.

You want to Clean Reinstall to target HD with other unplugged, deleting all partitions during install or wiping the HD first with Clean command: Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2012   #5

Windows 7 professional X64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
Quote:
Can I use my second drive as a backup drive even though it is internal?
Yes. Your primary drive will be the C: drive and this second drive will have a different drive letter (let's say it's the E: drive.) When it comes time to create a backup or system image, you will be prompted to select a destination drive. Just select the E: drive.
Quote:
Would I need to remove it from my computer before I reformat?
I would suggest you remove it. If there's only one drive in the machine during the reformat, there's no way that the second drive could be mistakenly wiped clean or otherwise messed with.
Quote:
What would be the recommended process to follow?
Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
Clean Install Windows 7
Quote:
(a) I would like to have a backup that leaves my system as close as it was before the clean install.
(b) I've heard sysprep does something similar, but what are the benefits/risks of sysprep in comparison to a reformat?
(a) This is just personal opinion and others may disagree or have a better suggestion. Your primary hard drive (let's call it Drive 1) contains your operating system and whatever other programs may be installed. Your second hard drive (let's call it Drive 2) contains a couple of games and files. If Drive 2 has enough free space you could clone Drive 1 to Drive 2 and that would be your backup. You could use a free program like Macrium to do the cloning.
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
Go ahead and format Drive 1 and then you could reinstall the backup from Drive 2. But if that backup has any malware, factory bloatware, damaged or corrupt system files, etc you'd be reinstalling all of that stuff back onto Drive 1. You've effectively undone the format. What I would do is make a new system image of the newly formatted Drive 1 that now contains the newly reinstalled operating system, programs, all updates, customizations, etc.
(b)From what I understand, sysprep basically duplicates (images) your existing system setup for deployment on several machines throughout an organization or network. It also gives you the opportunity to add additional device drivers or applications specific to the different machines you'll be installing on. Since you're dealing with only one machine, I believe cloning would be quicker and less prone to errors.
What Is Sysprep?

But as I said up front, all of this is just my personal opinion and others may have a much better way to proceed.
Thanks!
This made me think of a new question i might have missed, if my second drive is usable, and I save files to it, what is going to happen when I plug it back in after installation? Will it try to format itself? Or is the fact that it is already partitioned going to make the system read it as soon as I turn on the computer?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Dec 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

That second drive should be automatically recognized by Windows 7 (plug and play) and a drive letter would be assigned. No formating would happen unless you decide to do it. And there are enough steps and warnings involved that it would be very unlikely that you would do it accidentally.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2012   #7

Windows 7 professional X64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
That second drive should be automatically recognized by Windows 7 (plug and play) and a drive letter would be assigned. No formating would happen unless you decide to do it. And there are enough steps and warnings involved that it would be very unlikely that you would do it accidentally.
Thanks again!

And uhm, I already have some 200gb stored in that second hard drive, can I still make the backup without having those files affected? Or should I move them over to my first drive, and then back them up from there?

Most files are applications, and installers for said applications.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Erick Aguilar View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
That second drive should be automatically recognized by Windows 7 (plug and play) and a drive letter would be assigned. No formating would happen unless you decide to do it. And there are enough steps and warnings involved that it would be very unlikely that you would do it accidentally.
Thanks again!

And uhm, I already have some 200gb stored in that second hard drive, can I still make the backup without having those files affected? Or should I move them over to my first drive, and then back them up from there?

Most files are applications, and installers for said applications.
I'm getting confused.

Are you saying you also want to back up the 200gb that's on the second hard drive? Couple of things to consider:
1. You cannot create and save a backup/system image to the same drive you're trying to back up. In other words, if that second hard drive is called Drive E: (just as an example) you cannot backup/system image Drive E: to itself.
2. If you want to create and save a backup/system image of Drive C: you can save it to Drive E: providing Drive E: has enough free space. In addition to the 200gb of data already stored on Drive E: you would see a new file called WindowsImageBackup. Drive E: would then contain the original 200gb of data plus a complete Drive C: backup/system image within the WindowsImageBackup file.
3. If you want to create and save a backup/system image of Drive C: and the 200gb of in one operation, it would be easier (IMO) to have the 200gb on Drive C: and backup/system image everything to Drive E:
4. Or you could get a third external hard drive ( call it Drive F: ) and backup/system image Drive C: and Drive E: at the same time to Drive F:

Are you confused yet?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

EDIT: I should have mentioned a 5th consideration. The time it will take to complete a backup/system image. As a very rough estimate, figure at least 30 minutes for every 50gb of data. 200gb = 2 hours, 500gb = 5 hours (if my math is correct.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Dec 2012   #10

Windows 7 professional X64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Erick Aguilar View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
That second drive should be automatically recognized by Windows 7 (plug and play) and a drive letter would be assigned. No formating would happen unless you decide to do it. And there are enough steps and warnings involved that it would be very unlikely that you would do it accidentally.
Thanks again!

And uhm, I already have some 200gb stored in that second hard drive, can I still make the backup without having those files affected? Or should I move them over to my first drive, and then back them up from there?

Most files are applications, and installers for said applications.
I'm getting confused.

Are you saying you also want to back up the 200gb that's on the second hard drive? Couple of things to consider:
1. You cannot create and save a backup/system image to the same drive you're trying to back up. In other words, if that second hard drive is called Drive E: (just as an example) you cannot backup/system image Drive E: to itself.
2. If you want to create and save a backup/system image of Drive C: you can save it to Drive E: providing Drive E: has enough free space. In addition to the 200gb of data already stored on Drive E: you would see a new file called WindowsImageBackup. Drive E: would then contain the original 200gb of data plus a complete Drive C: backup/system image within the WindowsImageBackup file.
3. If you want to create and save a backup/system image of Drive C: and the 200gb of in one operation, it would be easier (IMO) to have the 200gb on Drive C: and backup/system image everything to Drive E:
4. Or you could get a third external hard drive ( call it Drive F: ) and backup/system image Drive C: and Drive E: at the same time to Drive F:

Are you confused yet?
A little hahahaha.. Let me rephrase it..

I have drives C: and D:
I want to back up C: in D:
In D: I already have some files stored
If I backup C: in D: will the files already stored in D: be affected in any way? There are installed applications, and their installer files in it, as well as movies, and documents of the like.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Reformating computer with two Hard Drives.




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