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Windows 7: What's the best method of restoring select files to a new drive?

09 Mar 2014   #1

What's the best method of restoring select files to a new drive?

I've essentially planned a new computer, consisting of a CPU, motherboard, and of course, a new hard drive, being a 128GB Force SSD. Currently, I have ~311GB worth of OS, programs and games installed on this 1TB Caviar, and I was originally thinking to, first, cut it down by uninstalling everything I wouldn't plan to keep on my SSD, perform an image backup with Macrium Reflect and restore the image to the SSD.

My friend informed me it's better to have a fresh OS install on SSDs (Why?), so, unless anyone wishes to tell me otherwise, I plan to update to Windows 8 along with this computer.

I don't currently have Reflect setup to backup images along with user media, nor would I know how to restore it. Otherwise, I would revert to cloud to backup just the important data, or simply copy it to one of my other HDDs. Regardless, first priority is to request help here, otherwise I'll fall flat on my face! What is the best way of going about this? Thanks

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2014   #2

Windows 10 64 bit

First I agree that you need a new (fresh/clean) install. You can try to use the old OS but it will get messy and if the old OS was an OEM version it can't be activated on the new system. Even a full version OS will need to be activated along with installing drivers, etc for the new system. Not a wise idea.

If you are going with a new PC and an SSD for the OS (and select programs), why not just connect the existing hard drive as a second drive in the new PC. You can then copy what data you want to the SSD. You can't copy programs as they must be installed. You can also use the hard drive for OS backups (backup to the hard drive).
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09 Mar 2014   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Fireberd has the best idea for getting your data from the old drive to the new drive. Don't forget your bookmarks and email.

Leave the old drive unconnected when you install to the new SSD. After the new installation is running well and fully updated, then go ahead and connect the old drive and just drag whatever you want to the SSD. You may want to then re-format the old drive and leave it in the new PC for additional storage or backup.

With luck, you might get away with not doing a clean install on a new motherboard. I've never done it, but have seen a variety of reports that it can work pretty well. Newer versions of Windows apparently are fairly tolerant of that procedure. But you'd likely face licensing/activation issues if your current Windows installation is OEM rather than retail.

I'm not aware of any peculiarity about SSDs that favors doing a clean install---a clean install is also preferable on an ordinary HDD if you have a bunch of new hardware.

Macrium Reflect is a fine tool with an excellent layout and a rather short learning curve. After you get the new machine going, I'd use it to make periodic full images of the C partition--weekly, monthly, whatever suits you. Each of those will take up roughly 40 percent of the space occupied and can be restored in short order--less than an hour usually. Personally, I'd use a "file by file" backup program to back up personal data, rather than an imaging program. But Macrium is excellent for the OS partition.

Given a choice, I'd go with Win 7 rather than Win 8 or Win 8.1; and Win 8.1 rather than Win 8.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 Mar 2014   #4


Thanks for the input lads, I always manage to think of having the process harder than it should be. I've been using Reflect for quite a while. I'll have to decide if I'm going to use my current 1TB Caviar Black to store backup images and then games when I need to, and buy a second 500GB Caviar Blue and put them in a mirror to store game recordings, or the other way around. It's only a 20 difference.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Given a choice, I'd go with Win 7 rather than Win 8 or Win 8.1; and Win 8.1 rather than Win 8.
I know that Windows 8 has impressive native protection, Battlefield 4 performs optimally on it, and you can reapply the start menu with some programs. Is there anything I should worry about with it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2014   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

When you install the OS onto the SSD, disconnect all drives except for the SSD. This prevents things that shouldn't be installed anywhere other than the SSD from being installed anywhere other than the SSD.

On a new computer, anything other than a fresh install of the OS will probably fail.

Installing the old HDD in the new computer will probably give you the best speeds for transferring the files you want to the new HDD. However, I would not us a drive installed inside a computer for keeping backup images unless you have another copy on an external drive. Backups kept on an internal drive can be lost due to viruses or other malware, mechanical failure, theft, etc. It is far safer to keep backups on external drives and connect them only when making or restoring a backup.

That said, I do keep copies of my OS/Program images on an internal drive for convenience but, since that internal drive gets multiple backups externally, even if I lose the internal drive, I still have the external backups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2014   #6
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Windows 8/8.1 is fine. You just happen to be on the Windows 7 forum and we are mostly Windows 7 fans, LOL.

Once you installed Windows 8.1, you won't need this program that brings the old start menu back. It is just a pain.
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 What's the best method of restoring select files to a new drive?

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