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I got a question regarding installing Windows on a SSD drive. Currently I am running Windows 7 (installed on the C drive) and I bought Windows 8.1 and a new SSD drive.

I was wondering if I install Windows 8.1 on my SSD drive would that conflict bad with my installed windows 7 on my C drive?

Installing windows 8.1 on my SSD drive would let me keep the data that was available on my other drives (C, D and G drives) right? But I could imagine that this would also conflict due to the fact that on my C drive Windows 7 is installed. So what would be the best approach in order to install a new Windows version and keep the data intact on my other drives (in the end it would be fine if the C drive need to be formatted)

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up vote 31 down vote accepted

Just keep it simple, physically disconnect your windows 7 disk, connect the SSD and install windows 8 on that. Once windows 8 is up and running turn off your computer, connect the old disk on another sata port, set bios to boot from Windows 8 disk, and just copy your files off the old disk. You can also boot from the old disk to back up other stuff like your bookmarks, or whatever from within the old system. Keep using the SSD for a couple weeks before you format the other drive to make sure you didn't forget to back something up from your old system, such as browser bookmarks or e-mails if you're using Thunderbird. After that you can format your old drive and use as data storage. There's no need to mess with dual boot in this situation as you don't plan to use both system in the future, from what I understand.

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Thanks for this clear explanation. I would go with your solution and indeed I do not want to have a dual boot. Thanks for pointing out to back up everything like bookmarks and stuff. I already did some back-up's just to be sure but I forget those things thanks for pointing out. – Rotan075 Mar 29 at 8:44

The reason that installing Windows on a new drive with an old Windows drive connected is a bad idea:

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The new installation will not have its own boot and recovery partition(s) but rely on the those on the old installation, which means when you unplug your old drive or it dies someday, you won't be able to boot the new drive as well without a hassle.

You'll need to reinstall Windows Boot Manager and rebuild the BCD store with bcdboot, if it's a UEFI installations, you'll even need to shrink your C: to get some space for a new EFI System Partition, and in any case, you'll lost the recovery environment (though some people might consider it useless).

Therefore, in my opinion, it's mostly a better idea to install Windows on a new drive without any old Windows drive connected to the system, so that the new installation will be standalone, unless your motherboard has a UEFI that sucks, for which its boot menu is not accessible or so. And you can always add an entry to the BCD store of the old installation for the new installation (without touching ANYTHING on the new drive).

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Put the New SSD and unplug the Old SSD then Restart the computer

Install Windows 8.1 on the New SSD.

When you boot 8.1 up plug the old SSD in.

Move your files from Windows 7 Into 8.1 and Format the Drive when you are done.

After this it will may still show windows 7 in the boot menu with Easy BCD

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"Sorry about my original post I didnt fully read the Question." This is usually a good start – Journeyman Geek Mar 29 at 7:47
You are very right Journeyman. Thanks – NetworkKingPin Mar 29 at 7:48
Thanks for you answer! But Installing Windows 8.1 and after installation formatting my C: drive will not cause any trouble? – Rotan075 Mar 29 at 7:55
If you format the C:/ on the Windows 7 Partition you just need to use Easy BCD to point to your Boot on the 8.1 and all will be well. – NetworkKingPin Mar 29 at 8:00
It makes no sense. The answer assume the user would like to wipe the Windows 7 on the old drive but suggests that it should just let the installer share the "boot partition" (i.e. System Reserved / EFI System partition) on the old drive? Even if EasyBCD is capable of rebuilding the BCD store it might end up have nowhere to go (especially if it's UEFI installations). Why not just disconnect the old drive temporary and let the new installation have its own boot partition? Then switch between the OS with the UEFI/BIOS boot menu. – Tom Yan Mar 29 at 8:07

You didn't provide disk sizes, so this might not be an option:

  • Mirror your Windows 7 partition (and possibly everything else on the HDD) to the new SSD.
  • Disconnect the old drive and boot up Windows.
  • Once everything works, flag the old drive's main partition as non-active and/it format it.

There are several guides on the net with more details and tool suggestions for this.

Not that this process will invalidate the activation on your old Windows 7 install, but you'll keep everything else interact (and you could still upgrade to Windows 8.1 or better Windows 10 later on).

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