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I am in the process of building a new computer, and while I'm still waiting on the important parts of the computer, like the CPU and the Motherboard, my 120 GB Solid State drive has arrived, and I figured I could get a jump start on things by pre-installing an OS on it.

I currently have the SSD in an external enclosure connected to a different computer via USB.

The SSD has been identified, and is showing up in Windows' computer management thing, as per this site.

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I have a Windows 7 disc image file (thanks to DreamSpark) mounted on a virtual drive (though I could also burn it to a physical DVD if need be) at the ready.

Is there anything else I need to do before installing Windows on the new SSD?

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Quick note. Please don pirate windows :) –  Cole Johnson May 20 '12 at 20:17
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I didn't. I'm a student, and my school is with DreamSpark (formerly MSDNAA). It gives you a .iso. –  Raven Dreamer May 20 '12 at 20:21
    
A little known secret is that you can just copy the setup files onto the harddrive itself and just install it from there. –  surfasb May 21 '12 at 9:07
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3 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would recommend waiting until you have the motherboard as the actual chipset and related stuff is quite important for the OS. Might even end up not booting when inserting it in the new computer, at the very least it will have to auto detect and PnP a lot of things.

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My new computer won't have an optical drive, so do you have any alternate suggestions on how to install windows, then? –  Raven Dreamer May 20 '12 at 20:23
    
Use (and boot from) a USB memory key/stick, an external hard drive or external optical drive. –  Mattias May 20 '12 at 20:29
    
There's a tool from Microsoft to create an install USB stick from the disk image; see superuser.com/questions/62193/… –  rakslice Jun 30 '12 at 5:44
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If you insist on doing this now, instead of waiting for the hardware you need, then install it and sysprep it.

After you install Windows on the SSD, follow these steps BEFORE you pull the drive out.

  1. Run Command Prompt as administrator
  2. Type to Command Prompt: %windir%\System32\Sysprep\Sysprep.exe, and hit Enter
  3. In sysprep dialog that opens, choose System Cleanup Action as Enter System Out-of-Box-Experience (OOBE), select Generalize, select Shutdown Options Shutdown. Click OK
  4. Sysprep generalizes now your Windows 7 setup and shuts down your computer.

At this point, disconnect the drive. It will be ready for you to put into your new build. Once you have the rest of the parts, connect the drive.

  1. Boot the PC from sysprep generalized hard disk. You will notice Windows booting as if it was the first boot after installation, installing default and updating registry. One or two reboots are needed, depending on your system specifications
  2. When Windows finally boots up, you will need to enter all information as if this really was a new, fresh installation

That should work just fine.

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As mentioned in the comments to Pulsar's answer, the reason I'm inclined to do this is because the new PC won't have an optical drive. Any suggestions or recommendations in that case? –  Raven Dreamer May 20 '12 at 22:37
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@RavenDreamer I read that comment, and this is my suggestion based on the fact that your new computer won't have an optical drive. GO ahead and install it with your existing system.. using your current hardware. Replace your existing hard drive with the SSD, and boot to an installation DVD. Install it, then boot to the install and sysprep it. Once it strips out everything that pertains to the computer it was installed on, it will turn off. Then, just put it in the new computer when it is ready, and it will load like it's the last stage of installation again. –  Bon Gart May 20 '12 at 22:46
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See sysprep "how to" here...second method in my answer, thanks to Bon Gart!...superuser.com/questions/412498/… –  Moab May 20 '12 at 23:10
    
guess I need to add pictures to make it look the same –  Bon Gart May 20 '12 at 23:38
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Since when could you install Windows 7 to a drive connected via USB? You'll need to attach it to the SATA connection on your system first, then install it there. After it's installed, run SYSPREP as Bon Gart suggested, then you can put it into your new system when the parts arrive

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It's in an external sata enclosure, and the enclosure is connected via USB. Dunno if that makes a difference. –  Raven Dreamer May 20 '12 at 23:00
    
@ravendreamer I have yet to see the windows install accept anything on usb as an installation location –  Canadian Luke May 21 '12 at 0:32
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