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Old 05-30-2011, 06:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

I inherited a fancy custom-built gaming computer and want to know the specifics of how to transfer my data to the new system. For this task, I will lay out simple terminology for all the components involved. For clarity's sake, use this terminology in your answer.

My current computer, Computer A, has two hard drives: Hard Drive A-1 and Hard Drive A-2. Both are nearly full and have essential data that I want to carry over.

My new computer, Computer B, has one hard drive: Hard Drive B-1. Computer B has room for other hard drives. Hard Drive B-1 is empty.

Now, what do I do? Keep in mind that my current setup makes cloning hard drives quite difficult. My ideal solution would be to install Hard Drives A-1 and A-2 as slaves to Hard Drive B-1. Would this work? If not, why? What should I do instead?


EDIT:

Is there any way to change the thread's title? I realize now that "Upgrading computer" is pretty vague. Something like, "Upgrading to new computer. Need to know about transferring data," would have been better.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

I edited the title for you.

Yes, you can put the drives from your current computer into the new one as data drives. You may end up having to delete the OS folder on your current main drive if the new computer keeps wanting to boot from it but that would be only if that was the case.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

What I would do is buy another drive, external or internal, doesn't really matter, and transfer all of those files to that drive, then install the OS on the "B-1" drive and then format the drives from "Computer A." If you get an internal drive to transfer the data, you can just keep that as extra storage in your computer.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

Well, I'm getting some conflicting advice across the various forums I posted my question in. Some people are saying I should just delete the OS folder from Hard Drive A-1, and some people are saying I should clone it first. I am assuming the latter solution is to ensure that I have a fall-back in case I want to reverse the process, but this is unnecessary since I have a 320 GB storage unit that is meant for backing up hard drives. I can't be sure that there aren't other reasons for going the cloning route, though.

Then, one person gave me a rather scary answer about how putting Hard Drive A-1 and A-2 into Computer B would make all the hardware dysfunctional, crash the computer, and ruin it forever. But I think this person misunderstood me, thinking that I meant to put Hard Drive A-1 in as the master hard drive to Computer B. When I addressed this, he never responded, so I never got my answer. Do you think that's what he thought I meant?

Anyway, all advice totaled up, here is my plan:

I'll back-up Hard Drives A-1 and A-2 on my back-up storage device. I'll tidy things up a bit, scan things, spruce up the registry, whatever. I'll then put them in Computer B, boot it up, and delete the OS folder from Hard Drive A-1. Ready to go. How's this?

Alternatively, I could do all this, except for once I have Hard Drive A-1 in Computer B, I could just manually move all the important data over to Hard Drive B-1, then take out Hard Drive A-1. The disadvantage is that then I lose a lot of storage space. To solve this, after taking Hard Drive A-1 out of Computer B, I could put it back in Computer A, format it or do whatever else I need to do to wipe it completely clean, then put it back in Computer B. This is obviously a lot more work than the previous solution, so if the previous solution would work well enough without it, I'd much prefer to go with that.

So, what should I do?
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

I'm not sure if "deleting the OS folder" will work. I would just back up all the data and then format the drives, and put it all back.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

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Originally Posted by Night Fox View Post
I'm not sure if "deleting the OS folder" will work. I would just back up all the data and then format the drives, and put it all back.
Wouldn't the OS be in the back-up as well, and therefore be moved back into the hard drive with all the other data?
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

Expanding on Night Fox's original thought and yours as well... Look at how much data you actually have to move across. If the data would fit on the larger drive if everything else was out of the way then do this:
  • Pull all the data to your backup drive.
  • Format the larger drive.
  • Transfer the data back onto the now formatted drive.
  • Transplant this into the new computer as-is.
  • You can choose to format the smaller disk and use for additional storage if you want.
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Old 05-31-2011, 03:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

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Originally Posted by Trotter View Post
Expanding on Night Fox's original thought and yours as well... Look at how much data you actually have to move across. If the data would fit on the larger drive if everything else was out of the way then do this:
  • Pull all the data to your backup drive.
  • Format the larger drive.
  • Transfer the data back onto the now formatted drive.
  • Transplant this into the new computer as-is.
  • You can choose to format the smaller disk and use for additional storage if you want.
So I take it there is some problem with simply putting Hard Drive A-1 into Computer B without going through the trouble of formatting it and all that? I've been told that when transferring data between storage devices, the OS will transfer as well, so what is this process really doing for me? Is it something to do with the registry?

And I assume Hard Drive A-2 has no need for any of this, since it has never been a master hard drive, only being used for storage.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

I think you missed what I meant.

I meant to pull ONLY the data from the drives and leave all programs (which are not transferable) alone. this means only files would be moved, such as documents, music, videos, etc. Any programs installed on Comp A will not work on Comp B even if you transplanted them because that's not how Windows and its registry works. By pulling only data and not any extraneous stuff you may be able to fit it all on a single drive.

The only problem you may have transplanting the drives straight across would be Comp B recognizing your OS installation from Comp A and trying to use it instead of its own. Odds are it would ask you which to use, though.
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Upgrading to new computer... need to move data

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Originally Posted by Trotter View Post
I think you missed what I meant.

I meant to pull ONLY the data from the drives and leave all programs (which are not transferable) alone. this means only files would be moved, such as documents, music, videos, etc. Any programs installed on Comp A will not work on Comp B even if you transplanted them because that's not how Windows and its registry works.
Well, that sucks big time.

Okay, I'm going to try the simple way first since I gather that there is no harm to be had in doing this. If the result isn't ideal, I'll take the hard drives back out and I'll go through with the whole formatting ordeal. Any objections?
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