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Firstly, a bit of background: My 7 year-old laptop recently died, and I have now bought myself a PC. I want to transfer my files from the old laptop hard drive to the new one inside the PC. To do this, I was aiming to boot into Windows using the new HDD, then read the files from the old HDD via SATA.

However, when I plug the old HDD into the motherboard, it gets used for booting; even when I've selected the new drive as the boot device. I have tried different combinations of motherboard locations for each of the HDDs (SATA 0, SATA 1) but to no avail.

After realising that AHCI was enabled on my motherboard - and that this therefore may allow hot-plugging - I tried booting to Windows on the new HDD then connecting the SATA cable to the old HDD. This hardware change wasn't recognised by Windows, so I assume that the old drive may not have been set up this way?

My motherboard is a Gigabyte Z77 series. Any pointers would be great - I'd like to avoid buying a USB hard drive enclosure if I can.

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It turns out there is an option in the BIOS which overrides the selected boot device. This is used to select between the SATA devices currently connected to the system.

I disabled the entry for the old laptop HDD, and only left the new HDD. The PC then booted into Windows, and I was able to view the old HDD as if it were a USB drive.

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