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  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Access files on old Windows system drive?

    I just installed a new clean copy of Windows 8.1 on a new SSD. That's all working fine, zippy and clean. I did not migrate my old files to the SSD- its a new clean install.

    What I want to do is access my OLD hard drive that has Windows 8 on it and alot of stuff I want to access but don't want to move to my SSD. Can I just plug in this old drive and access the files? I'm concerned that it will cause problems or be unstable because of having two operating systems. I don't know how that stuff works.

    My intuition is to remove or disable the windows operating system on the old drive, and just access the files- that's what I want to be able to do.
    How should I go about this?

    Or, more directly, how can I access the files of my old hard drive in my new shiny Win 8.1/SSD system?

    Thanks hope my question is clear!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    St Louis, Missouri, USA
    Thanked 1,031 Times in 904 Posts
    You should be able to plug the drive in and use it. If you are worried about the old Windows install temporarily copy your files to the SSD, check to ensure all the files are on the SSD, format the old drive, copy the files to the old drive, verify all the files are back on the old drive, and then delete the files from the SSD.

    If you are really concerned make an image backup of your system before attaching the old drive. That way you'll have a known point to which you can return if needed.


  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger bassfisher6522's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Thanked 40 Times in 39 Posts
    Yes...with no issues at all. And you can also boot from that drive as well if you want to. Just restart PC and at post beep, just start tapping the F12 key, this will bring up the boot menu which bypasses the BIOS screen, select the HDD you want to boot from and hit's referred to multi-booting HDD's. I run this type of setup all the time...currently with 8.1 Pro and window 10.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 955 Times in 886 Posts
    We need a little more information about your system.
    What is the PC/Laptop?
    How many SATA cables do you have?
    Do you have a backup of the old hard disk?

    cheers, Paul

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts
    If the OP has an SSD with Win 8.1 on it and then plugs in his old HDD, it will be assigned a different drive letter (probably E: if the laptop has an optical drive, D: if it does not). During the boot process the new Win 8.1 system files are used - the old Win 8 system files are not used but they, as well as all the other files on the old drive will be accessible. As long as he doesn't overwrite the new system files with the old ones, he should have no problems.

    What he will not be able to do in most cases is run his applications directly from the old drive. He will have to reinstall them (can be done on the old drive if he so desires).

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