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Windows 7: Can I change my boot drive to an SSD without deleting HDD files?

27 Aug 2014   #1
Bassking31

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 
Can I change my boot drive to an SSD without deleting HDD files?

Hey, I have a 2TB HDD hard drive with windows and all of my files installed on it. Is there any way that I can install windows on my SSD and use that as the boot drive while keeping all of my files on the HDD? Would I be fine keeping windows installed on the HDD, or would I have to remove everything on it to do so. Basically, how do I set up my computer so the SSD is the boot drive and the HDD is the storage drive, and is there any way I can keep the files that are currently on my HDD?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Aug 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bassking31 View Post
Hey, I have a 2TB HDD hard drive with windows and all of my files installed on it. Is there any way that I can install windows on my SSD and use that as the boot drive while keeping all of my files on the HDD? Would I be fine keeping windows installed on the HDD, or would I have to remove everything on it to do so. Basically, how do I set up my computer so the SSD is the boot drive and the HDD is the storage drive, and is there any way I can keep the files that are currently on my HDD?
Why did you buy the SSD if not to run Windows on it?

If I had an SSD, I certainly would NOT want to have Windows on an HDD.

Here's a couple of things you could do:

1: start over. Do a clean install of Windows to the SSD and reinstall your programs to the SSD. Doable easily enough and preferable-----except for the time it requires.

2: I'm guessing you have your personal data and Windows on the same C partition on the HDD. If so, you could shrink C, make a D, put your data on D, and then make an image of C (and System Reserved if you have it) and restore that image to the SSD.

The safe way to do the second choice is to first copy your personal files to some other drive entirely as a backup precaution.

Post a screen shot of Windows Disk Management showing the HDD partitions so we can get a better idea.

Do you have a 25 character Windows Product Key?

Do you have an external drive or anywhere at all to which you can temporarily copy your data?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2014   #3
Bassking31

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Ok, if I did a clean install of windows, could I make SSD the boot drive but use the HDD for storage? If so, how?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Aug 2014   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bassking31 View Post
Ok, if I did a clean install of windows, could I make SSD the boot drive but use the HDD for storage? If so, how?
What are the answers to the last 2 questions I asked?

You install to the SSD with the HDD disconnected.

After Windows is installed, you reconnect the HDD and reboot to the SSD. The SSD will be C. The HDD partitions will be D, E, etc.

You'd then delete the old Windows partition from the HDD (the old C). You'd add that space to D.

If you have a System Reserved on the current HDD, you'd also delete it and add its space to D. So the HDD would have exactly one partition for all data.

If you currently keep your data under "C:\Users" somewhere, you could remap it to allow for the fact that your data is actually on D. There are tutorials on this site on how to do that.

Personally, I don't use C:\Users for my data. I save to D directly and don't remap the users folder.

Here's what my drives look like.

C is an SSD with Windows.

D is my data only.

E is for backup only.

3 separate drives; one partition each; no System Reserved.


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27 Aug 2014   #5
Bassking31

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Yes I have my product key, and yes I have an external hard drive. Do you think a clean install would be best?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Aug 2014   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bassking31 View Post
Yes I have my product key, and yes I have an external hard drive. Do you think a clean install would be best?
Sure, if you have the time and don't mind doing it. It will take no more than a half hour to reinstall Windows once you get the SSD into the case. But it might take you 40 hours to reinstall your applications and configure them just the way you want.

Just leave the HDD disconnected. Install Windows to the SSD and get it fully updated from Windows Update. Then reconnect the HDD.

The other method I mentioned--shrinking C, making a new D, making an image of C, restoring the image to the SSD, might take only an hour or two, BUT----you'd have to learn how to do that and the restored installation would have the same exact problems (if you have any) that you have on the current HDD. An image restoration contains everything from C---including warts as well as the installed applications.

It's a personal choice. I do a clean install every time I change motherboards--every few years.

But if my SSD dropped dead tomorrow, I would restore the image of my current C rather than do a clean install. Why? Because my current installation is running very well and I have 55 applications installed on it---it would take me weeks to get that all reinstalled and configured if I did a clean install.

Do you have a known good Windows installation disc?
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