Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting? - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 12-10-2013, 11:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

It looks like I'm going to need to clean install Windows on my computer. I have two hard drives, a 1TB master drive and a 2TB slave drive. I would like to wipe the 2TB slave drive clean, install Windows on it and make it the master drive. After I do so, will I be able to hook up the original 1TB master drive as a slave without formatting and pull the files off of it? There are no problems with either drive, I would just like to have the better drive as my primary.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

Assuming these are SATA drives... SATA doesn't have Master/Slave. It's just ordered by boot order in the BIOS.

You should be able to do what you want. Disconnect the 1TB from your PC, format the 2TB, install Windows on it. Once you've done that, re-connect the 1TB drive and make sure you're booting off of the 2TB drive. You should then be able to pull the files off of the 1TB drive just fine.

After you've pulled the files off of it, I'd recommend formatting it to remove Windows from it, so you don't accidentally boot off of it.

Only hiccup you may have is Windows activation since you've already installed it on a drive (unless you're using a new Windows key). If internet activation doesn't work, you'll just have to call the number the activation window provides and follow the instructions.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

Sweet. Thanks. They are, in fact, both SATA drives.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

As long as it is the same motherboard, windows activation shouldn't care.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

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Originally Posted by veedubfreak View Post
As long as it is the same motherboard, windows activation shouldn't care.
I've seen it where it has issues reactivating because its an OEM license and when trying to reactivate after reinstalling the OEM license, it requires it to be activated over the phone.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

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Originally Posted by carnageX View Post
I've seen it where it has issues reactivating because its an OEM license and when trying to reactivate after reinstalling the OEM license, it requires it to be activated over the phone.
I'm intrigued. I have a copy of Windows 7 that I purchased through the school district that I work for. We'll have to see, I suppose.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

At worst you have to call a 1800 number. My win7 key got used on like 4 different motherboards.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can I use a master hard drive as a slave drive without formatting?

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Originally Posted by veedubfreak View Post
At worst you have to call a 1800 number. My win7 key got used on like 4 different motherboards.
Which is what I was saying before when I said you'd have to call it in and activate if the internet activation didn't work .
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