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I have a 1TB external drive. It is actually an internal laptop drive I got out of my old HP Pavillion DV7 which I broke. I liked that computer so much I found the exact same model on eBay and bought it again. (By the way, the eBay laptop came with a 1TB Seagate drive, but the original one had a 1TB Toshiba drive) I have a copy of windows 8 I got for free as a student. I have Windows 7. I want to upgrade to Windows 8, but I want to be able to go back to Windows 7 at any time.

This was my evil plan:

  1. Create system image of Windows 7 on yet another 2TB external drive I have.
  2. Replace internal dv7 laptop drive with almost identical 1TB drive from old dv7 laptop (so pull it back out of the USB enclosure and stick it in my computer).
  3. use the Windows 7 restore CD to put the contents of my computer on the new drive just like they were on the old drive.
  4. do an in-place install of Windows 8.

That way I would have one hard drive with Windows 8 and one with Windows 7, and I could go back to 7 if I ever wanted.

Problem is, the laptop won't recognize the new hard drive. Both the Ubuntu live CD and the Windows restore CD don't see a hard drive. When I attempt to boot from the hard drive the computer says "Please install an operating system on your hard drive" leading me to believe the BIOS sees a hard drive, but I'm not sure.

I put the drives back how they were before and Windows 7 booted just fine and my data was still on the external-usb-enclosured drive, so the drives are still working.

Sorry if this has been asked before, I did a lot of honest Googling before I asked this. I don't usually post on sites like this.

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Connect the HDD over USB, format the drive, it should see it then. – Ramhound Jun 29 '14 at 3:02
You could check your BIOS settings. There may be issues with one drive being configured for UEFI and the other one the older config. You are right to think your BIOS sees the drive, and you can confirm this by going in the BIOS and watch which drives are connected. – Jakke Jun 29 '14 at 13:07

Based off of your questions, I'm not sure if this answer can comprehensively resolve your situation:

I would suggest externally connecting the drive so that you can check to see if it is formatted. If the drive is not formatted with a file system Windows recognizes, Windows will prompt you upon connection to format said drive.

I think your evil plan is good, but I have a suggestion that may be more effective for your situation:

Clean Install Windows 8 to Dual-Boot Another Operating System

You can initiate a custom install without overwriting your existing Operating System simply by installing the new Operating System on a separate partition. For instructions on how to multiboot click here. If you plan to do this you'll also need to read up on how to Create and format a hard drive partition. Since you want to keep your Windows 7 installation intact, make sure to click and follow the instructions here to perform a clean install on the partition you wish to install Windows 8 on.

My final suggestion would be to use your external drive as a backup.

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Windows 7 has a Disk Management utility hidden in the Control Panel. I say hidden, because the Control Panel default view is by CATEGORY. On the top line of the Control Panel, on the right, if it says "View by Category"... click on the little triangle and select "Large Icons". The Control Panel should then display about 54 different ways to Adjust your computer's settings. Select Administrative Tools then click on Computer Management. A new window should open. Click on the little triangle by Storage, and a Disk Management line should appear. Click on Disk Management, and the available disk drives should be displayed. If one of your disks has no status, right click on the blank area of that disk. You should then be able to partition the drive and get a drive letter, so that your new disk will appear in My Computer.

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