I just upgraded my main hard disk to an SSD. I installed and re-activated Windows 10 on the SSD. Now I have a old hard disk that I want to use as storage. It already has some files that I want to keep. So I was thinking that I can just delete all the Windows-related folders and start using it for purely storage. For example, I could delete the following files (outlined in red) and keep the "Users" folder which has the files that I want to keep.

Windows hard disk contents

However, there was at least one article I found that mentioned reformatting the disk without explaining why. So that left me curious. Is there any particular reason to reformat an old hard disk before using it as storage?

  • After you verify the EFI partition is actually on the SSD and not the HDD you can format the HDD if you want. – Ramhound Dec 11 '16 at 0:14
  • @Ramhound I installed Windows 10 while the hard disk was disconnected so it should be on the SSD. But my question was: can't I just delete the windows folders instead of formatting? – Kodos Johnson Dec 11 '16 at 0:15
  • You can remove the files however you want – Ramhound Dec 11 '16 at 0:47

There is no real harm in leaving the drive as is, however, there are some minor benefits of reformatting:

  • you have the opportunity to run a full read/write test to ensure the disk has no bad sectors
  • moving the files off the volume and back to a freshly formatted volume will reset the permissions.
  • you can repartition the drive to reclaim any space used by hidden system partitions
  • moving the files will also defrag them

Edit: Also, by formatting without first backing up the files you get a chance to test your backup plan ;-)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.