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Windows 7: Question about backing up files

18 Jun 2011   #1

vista home premium 32 bit
Question about backing up files

Hi, I'll be installing windows 7 soon and want to back up my files. I'm wondering if I can get a new,blank hard drive and install onto that, and then put my old hard drive in as well, rather than taking the time to transfer all my stuff to the new drive. Will this work ok?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Yes, it will work, but make sure you add the old HD after Windows 7 is installed & working OK.


If transfering from Win XP, download the update WET from here:
Download details: Windows Easy Transfer for transferring from Windows XP (32 bit) to Windows 7

Windows Easy Transfer - Transfer To & From Computers

Warning do not use the old Win XP Easy Transfer, will not work with Vista or Windowds 7.
Recovery WET IMG
How to extract files from MIG
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

For data that might have been on your current hard drive, it's certainly very common to add a second brand new hard drive to install Win7 onto, while leaving your current hard drive also installed.

That way you can easily just access the data on the old drive which will get probably a drive letter of D as seen by Win7 (which will install itself onto what it sees as C, on the new hard drive). Or, if you want, you can migrate that data off of the old drive and onto the new C partition (Win7) or even onto another partition(s) you create on the new drive. Or, just leave it on the old drive, but you might want to place it into more appropriately named folders if it's in a place now that seems inappropriate for the future.

If you want to end up with a dual-boot system (with both Vista and Win7 available from a boot manager menu), that's one installation method for Win7. If you want to end up with just a single Win7 system (with the data from the old drive just available as data), that's another installation method.

But assuming you just want to move to Win7 and forget about Vista, you should change your BIOS setting before you run the Win7 install, to set your new hard drive as "hard disk #1". This will cause the Win7 installer to create both the (a) 100MB "system reserved" partition, which will be marked as "active" on that drive, as well as (b) the Win7 system partition itself, on that new drive.

The existing Vista system on your old drive should be ignored by the Win7 installer, because you've made the new drive "hard disk #1" in the BIOS. You're not doing an "upgrade", you're doing a clean from-scratch new install to an empty new drive. It shouldn't be necessary to disconnect the old drive first, once you change "hard disk #1" in the BIOS to point to the new drive. Both drives can be present during the Win7 install. But if you are cautious, skeptical, or dubious, you can of course disconnect your old drive during the Win7 install and reconnect it after you're up and running on Win7. My own feeling is that it should not be necessary to do this.

You can set the partition size for the Win7 partition during the install, leaving the remainder of the new drive for yet another new data partition and drive letter. This will be in addition to the old hard drive, which if it's currently only one partition will simply be yet another drive letter in your new Win7 environment.

Once you get Win7 up and running from the new drive, you'll probably want to clean house on that old drive, deleting the Vista-specific folder and files, while leaving your data. Personally, I'd recommend moving the data from the \Users folders (e.g. Documents, pictures, etc.) to ordinary external folders on that drive, or into comparable \Users folders (on the new Win7 C) of Win7. Up to you.

But for sure, you'll have no more need for the Vista contents on the old drive. You should just be careful you're not deleting your real data (which might be buried inside of some \Windows folders/sub-folder on that old drive) when you clean house.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Jun 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sammy2345 View Post
Hi, I'll be installing windows 7 soon and want to back up my files. I'm wondering if I can get a new,blank hard drive and install onto that, and then put my old hard drive in as well, rather than taking the time to transfer all my stuff to the new drive. Will this work ok?
Yep. That's the way most would do it, in pretty much this order:

1: disconnect old drive
2: connect new drive
3: install windows on new drive
4: re-connect old drive and copy personal files back to the new drive
5: re-install applications on the new drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jun 2011   #5

vista home premium 32 bit

Thanks for the help, guys.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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