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Windows 7: Installing new SSD & keeping Win7 on HDD

12 Jun 2016   #1
7isntheaven

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 
Installing new SSD & keeping Win7 on HDD

Hello, I'm getting a Samsung 850 Pro 512 SATA SSD today (should have went with ssd 5 years ago) & after reading up on everything about going from hdd os to ssd os for a few days now, in advance of installing it, I'm curious as to if I can use Win7 (from a Home Premium 64-bit retail DVD) to dual-boot using both drives? Why would I? Because I'd like to keep the OS installed on the HDD and be able to boot from it easily using the F11 boot device menu (never from changing boot order in BIOS) on startup to choose the hdd to boot to if needed, in case the SSD has or develops problems later on. Also about activation, if ssd install turns out well and once the OS on the SSD is validated by MS (before reconnecting the HDD later on I would assume) and then I choose to boot to the HDD os if the ssd fails, will I run into any product activation problems with the product key licensing or using the OS on the HDD from another drive letter, or is it 'illegal' to use the same OS activation key if in fact, I can dual-boot to both drives?

I mean it's not a big deal if I can't dual-boot for whatever reason (only one active partition, product activation, soft or hardware issues, etc.) but I keep thinking it would be a good backup plan (along with regular backups to an external drive) to be able to keep using Win7 on the hdd in case the ssd ever fails. And also, is it ok to leave Windows installed on the HDD for a few weeks (if advised that I should never use it to boot to) before removing it? And is it as simple as deleting the folders from Explorer or should I just reformat the partition to remove all traces? And will I be able to delete the 100mb system partition from Win7 on the hdd once I boot to the ssd drive from Explorer, since they're 'system files'? have a 1Tb WD SATA Black HDD partitioned into 250G for windows (C) & the rest as a data storage partition (E). Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Jun 2016   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I am fairly sure you'd need 2 Windows licenses if you want to dual boot Windows 7 on 2 different drives installed at the same time in one PC.

Imaging is a much simpler way to have an OS backed up. You can typically be back up and running in 30 minutes and you haven't tied up your spare drive in the meantime.

You don't want to have your "System Reserved" partition on a different drive than your C partition. The way to avoid that is to have only one drive connected when you install Windows.

In your situation, I would:

1: plan on using the SSD as my OS drive, with the system reserved partition on that same SSD.

2: install Windows to the SSD with only the SSD connected.

3: if you have confirmed that the SSD will boot your PC with the HD disconnected, then re-connect the HD and delete the OS partition from it. Then add that reclaimed space to the data partition on that drive. You might be able to do that with Windows Disk Management or you might have to use a tool such as Partition Wizard.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #3
7isntheaven

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

That's what I thought. I plan on installing with just the SSD connected. BIOS is already set to AHCI mode. I understand about not being able to dual-boot only having one product key. So much for that half-baked backup strategy. I have Acronis True Image software I can install & use (from the WD-branded type), will that be better to use to make system images with or will Win7 imaging be good enough? I wasn't asking about changing or moving the system reserved partition on the HDD once I have Win7 up & running from the SSD, just if I can delete it from Windows Explorer from the OS on the SSD once I reconnect the HDD, since it's special system files. In other words, once the SSD OS is booted, can I simply delete the system reserved part along with the Windows system folders on the HDD or will I need to reformat the 250GB part to get rid of the reserved folder to clear up space on it? Thanks for the quick reply.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Jun 2016   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 7isntheaven View Post
I have Acronis True Image software I can install & use (from the WD-branded type), will that be better to use to make system images with or will Win7 imaging be good enough?

I would use Acronis rather than Windows, but I would prefer Macrium Reflect Free to Acronis.

The bigger and FAR more important point is that you know how to use your imaging application, it's shortcomings, it's nuances, it's menus, etc. The worst thing you can do is make an image and then say to yourself, "well, that's done. I'll figure out how the restoration process works when the time comes." Bad move.


I wasn't asking about changing or moving the system reserved partition on the HDD once I have Win7 up & running from the SSD, just if I can delete it from Windows Explorer from the OS on the SSD once I reconnect the HDD, since it's special system files.

No, you would NOT delete it from Windows Explorer if "from" means "using".

You delete it via Windows Disk Management, which will result in a bunch of "unoccupied space". You then add that unoccupied space to the data partition. You most likely would have to use Partition Wizard to add the space to the data partition.



In other words, once the SSD OS is booted, can I simply delete the system reserved part along with the Windows system folders or will I need to reformat the 250GB part to get rid of the reserved folder to clear up space on it?

After the SSD is booted, you can reconnect the HDD and delete any partition you want from it. Presumably, you'd delete the System Reserved partition and the OS partition, leaving only the data partition. Then add the space from those 2 partitions to the data partition.

You wouldn't delete "Windows system folders". You'd delete the entire operating system partition on that drive--what would be C if you were booting from it. As well as the System Reserved partition.

You don't need to "reformat" anything. Just delete partitions and then add the space they previously occupied to the data partition.

If you want, you can install Windows to the SSD and not even have a System Reserved partition on it. That's what I do. It doesn't really matter, but I just like the idea of one partition on each of my drives--it appeals to my sense of order.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #5
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

I've converted/transferred from one storage device to another several times.
Personally i keep the original HD as-is until i'm sure the new HD/SSD works correctly.
It could be days, weeks, months before i can be sure everything works for me.
I don't use the old HD, or dual-boot, but i keep it as-is "just-in-case".
I just keep as a "recovery option" (backup plan), the same as you are asking about.

When i'm convinced the new device works, i run a Diskpart Clean on the old HD.
That removes everything, including all partitions and the MBR, so it can't boot.
Then I re-partition that old HD as I want, usually a single partition for Data or Backups.

Here is a tutorial for Diskpart Clean:
Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command

If you only delete folders and partitions, some traces of the old bootable OS remain.
That could cause problems, someday, somehow, from what i've read and learned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #6
7isntheaven

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

Yea, thanks Dave, that's what I plan on, just keeping Windows on the HDD while I see if all goes well for a few weeks. I should be able to use the 2nd, non-OS partition on the HDD I use just for data/storage only (I hope?) After calling around, it seems I can't even buy the one I want in a brick & mortar store in my city/region. Have to order it through Samsung/Amazon/etc. I don't understand what the other poster meant by "I don't even use a system reserved partition." I thought that was a mandatory deal when installing Win7? Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #7
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You need the files normally found on System Reserved. Those files are needed to boot.

You don't need System Reserved.

You can install without System Reserved and the files normally found on System Reserved will be put on C.

It takes a minute or so to do during the installation.

Boot from the Windows 7 installation disc.

Hit Shift F10 at the first screen where you are asked to choose a language.

A command prompt will appear. Type diskpart at that prompt.

Type in the following commands one by one, followed by the Enter key to create a partition (text in parentheses are comments only):

list disk (to show the ID number of the hard disk to partition, normally Disk 0)

select disk 0 (change 0 to another number if applicable)

clean (this wipes the drive of anything on it; not needed on a brand new drive)

create partition primary (this will create one primary partition covering the entire drive; if you instead want to create a primary partition of 80 GB, add “size=80000” after the word “primary”)

select partition 1 (this selects the partition you just made)

active (this marks that partition active)

format fs=ntfs quick (this formats that partition)

exit (this quits the diskpart program)

exit (this closes the command prompt window)

Continue Windows 7 installation as usual. Remember to highlight and select the partition just created when you come to the partition screen asking you "where do you want to install Windows?”.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #8
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

If you install Windows into unallocated space it will create a System Reserved partition for the bootloader, and a C partition for Windows.

If you create a partition before installing Windows and install Windows to that partition, the bootloader and Windows will be in the C partition, there will not be a System Reserved partition.

Either way works, it's up to the person installing the OS if they want or don't want a System Reserved partition created for the bootloader.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #9
7isntheaven

Windows 7 HP x64
 
 

Thank you both for helping, along with the clear instructions on how to use the cmd to set a partition before installing, I really appreciate it. Now if I'm understanding correctly, I would have to create a partition on the new ssd before installing Win7 from DVD if I do not want a system reserved partition on the new ssd, or I can just have Win7 do all that during install and have it just create a system reserved partition, correct? Does it make any difference to performance or security, such as help preventing malware from accessing it (I do use AV) if it's in a system reserved part? It's 512GB and I will just have the OS and a few select programs) unless I'm not aware of some other way(s) for better performance.

After just ordering it from Amazon, I was looking at my Armor A90 case user guide .pdf & low & behold it actually supports one 2.5" drive at the very bottom of the other 6 - 3.5" hdd bays. DOH! I never expected that on a 5 year old case. I added a Sabrent 2.5 to 3.5 adapter bracket to my order ($6.99). Oh well, I'll probably end up using it if I buy another 2.5 ssd at some point down the road.

Also, when I go to boot up for the very first time on the ssd, should I leave my Ethernet connection unplugged while I optimize the drive so Windows Updates doesn't pester me or sneak in any unwanted drivers before I disable auto-update? I am not looking forward to having them hanging up trying to install them over & over up again...took me 3 days of research to get WU working & getting them all installed! Strangely, after installing IE11, WU worked perfectly on the HDD..what the ....?

Since my BIOS is already set to ahci, will I need to hit whatever F-key (10?) during setup to install additional drivers "from floppy" which I don't have, or can I just point Win to the AMD & mobo drivers if I copy any needed drivers to a USB stick, or just install everything after booting into Windows, like I believe I did before? I c.r.a.f.t. I'm 60 years old lol. Sorry for all the questions, I'm no wizard and it's been quite awhile since I've installed or re-installed an OS. Samsung includes the Magician software that helps you optimize the ssd, but iirc (unlikely) I think you have to install it in Windows to use it, but I do not know for sure. Thanks once again!

Edit: Is it me? I wanted to highlight/copy/paste the cmd instructions above to Notepad but it will not highlight with the mouse...guess I'll just take a screenshot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2016   #10
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 7isntheaven View Post
Now if I'm understanding correctly, I would have to create a partition on the new ssd before installing Win7 from DVD if I do not want a system reserved partition on the new ssd, or I can just have Win7 do all that during install and have it just create a system reserved partition, correct? Does it make any difference to performance or security, such as help preventing malware from accessing it (I do use AV) if it's in a system reserved part? It's 512GB and I will just have the OS and a few select programs) unless I'm not aware of some other way(s) for better performance.
Yes, you understand correctly.
I've never heard or seen it makes any difference for performance or security, either way.

With all the issues i've read about recently with Win 7 updates, i can't comment on your other questions.
Many people have reported problems with Win 7 updates, especially on clean installs.
I don't know what is the best approach, hopefully someone else can give better help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Installing new SSD & keeping Win7 on HDD




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