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Windows 7: 2nd hard drive

12 Jun 2014   #1

Win7 home prem 64bit
2nd hard drive

Is there a way to access my 2nd hard drive from start up?? I have formatted it from 32bit to 64bit and would like a way to use it without going to the BIOS to change over.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

More detail needed as I'm not sure I understand.

I assume you can boot and that this "second drive" is not your boot drive.

Is the drive visible in Windows Explorer? In Windows Disk Management?

What do you mean "use it". What do you want to do with it?

Is it just a formatted but otherwise empty drive?

You shouldn't have to go to the BIOS to "use it".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jun 2014   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

You should be able to use it once you`re in windows.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jun 2014   #4

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem

Are you asking how to boot from the second drive.

If I am reading your post correctly, it sounds as though you had Windows 32 bit installed on a drive and installed Windows 64 bit on another drive.

Are both drives connected to the machine?

Please post a Disk Mgmnt screen shot per this tutorial:
Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2014   #5

Win7 home prem 64bit
2nd HDD

Drive one is a new instalkled hd, formatted Win7 64 bit and in use. drive two is in the machine and is win7 32 bit. It does not have power at this time, it is not hooked up to power. There is a couple of things I want to retrieve before fromatting with 64 bit. I will un hook my number one drive, hook up #2 do the retrieval, then format 64 bit and put to work. Do not want to take a chance of messing up #1 drive. I did that once, not a fun thing. Remember one thing, I am not completely computer literate due to old age (82) however I can get around a computer inside and some outside. I have forgotten some things.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2014   #6

x64 (6.3.9600) Win8.1 Pro & soon dual boot x64 (6.1.7601) Win7_SP1 HomePrem

Some things are better forgotten :)

It might be easier to connect Drive# 2 as a secondary drive and change the Active flag to Inactive on the System or Boot partition for the Windows 32 bit install on that drive.

If you connect the drive and post a Disk Management screen shot, it will be easy to walk you through the process.
See: Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image

The trick is making sure you select the correct partition to mark Inactive. Not that difficult really.

Read though this tutorial to get an idea of what needs to be done.
Partition - Mark as Inactive

Marking the Active partition on Drive 2 (Win7 32 bit install) as Inactive is a precautionary task, so that your Drive 1 (Win7 64 bit install) doesn't get confused. It's rare, but it does happen.

Read both tutorials and ask any questions before taking action.

Or..... your original plan would work too.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jun 2014   #7
Microsoft MVP


If you keep the new Win7 drive set first hard drive to boot in BIOS setup, then it should have no effect on your system to plug back in the old Win7 drive.

Just boot into BIOS setup immediately after you plug it back in to confirm boot order is correct, then reboot into your new Win7 to you should be able access your data in Explorer to copy onto the new drive, or isolate it on a partition on the old drive so that when ready you can correctly delete the old Win7 32 bit partition in Disk mgmt. - the correct way to delete an OS. We can help you with any of this jiu jitsu as we do all the time here.

If the old HD does not show up in Win7 then make sure in Disk Mgmt it has its drive letter, or rightclick the drive to Add one.

As long as the new Win7 drive remains set first to boot, you can keep the old Win7 32 bit for up to 30 days when you must activate the new one with its Product Key - unless you have another Product Key to use in which case you can keep both, choosing which to boot via the BIOS. If you don't like BIOS boot though, we can help you configure a Windows Boot menu using EasyBCD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 2nd hard drive

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