Remove OS and format old HDD

By Ritwik7 · 6 replies
Jun 3, 2010
  1. Hi everyone! I've been asking a lot of questions regarding HDDs and installing OSs so I apologise if this is repetetive. I have a numbrer of queries:

    1.) I have an old 160GB Seagate SATA HDD. It has Windows XP installed on it. My newer HDD is a 1TB Seagate which has Windows 7 on it. Is it possible to remove all data from my older HDD (including the OS) and use it as additional storage on Windows 7?

    2.) If both the SATA devices are connected to my PC in their present state (one having XP and the Other Win 7), which HDD will my computer boot from?

    3.) My Windows 7 is set to AHCI and XP to IDE. So when I connect my older HDD I have to change my SATA Storage Type from AHCI to IDE for Windows XP to boot. When I install Linux, will there be an option for AHCI so that I can dual boot without having to change BIOS settings every time?

    4.) During Linux installation, if both my HDDs are connected, will they show up separately?

  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Sata drives will show as SDA# followed by the partition.
    SCSI and USB are the same except with SDC and SDB.

    HDA is the primary IDE drive (I think)

    So yeah they should show separably

    Should be, just format it to NTFS and windows 7 should be able to use it fine. Do you mean transfer the OS to the 1TB? I think you can do that too.

    I think this is determined by the bootloader, since you probably have the vista/win7 bootloader, I think that both xp and w7 should show up as available options.

    These are all guesses...use at your own risk, i'm really not that sure :(.
  3. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    I don't want to transfer the OS. Just want to get rid of all data from the 160GB drive. How should I format it to NTFS? If I just plug it in and boot into Win 7, will the 160GB disk show up so that I can format it?
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Yes, but I'm unsure of how the bootloader will react if you remove the OS by formatting it. That said, if the below comments are correct your manually changing from AHCI to IDE in BIOS when you use it anyway?

    If your not currently selecting from a menu during start up it will make no difference.

    It will boot from the hard drive with first priority in BIOS. Changing the interface setting between AHCI and IDE will obviously provoke difference responses though, as both your other OS' won't work with interface settings different from the settings when installed.

    Keep it set to AHCI. Linux will run fine with those settings. Mine all do. Linux will install a bootloader that will deal with this during startup. Basically its a drop down menu like pressing "F8" on Windows OS, but obviously it lists Windows 7 and whichever linux your running. You just highlight when one you want to run, and click return on the keyboard and it starts your chosen OS. :D

    Yes. One will likely be sda, and the other sdb. The last letter assends according to which drive it is. Partitions are then numbered after the drive identification.

    For example:

    sda = first disk
    sda1 first partition of first disk sda2 is the second partition of the first disk and so on.

    sdb = second disk
    sdb1 first partition of second disk

    And so on. My reply in your other thread, with the attached image will detail this if you wish to visually see it for yourself. The disk utility will also show the capacities of the hard disks. DO NOT TOUCH your 1TB drive during the install of your linux OS.

    If you get proper stuck, then send me a message, or reply in here and I'll do what I can to be of assistance. All I ask is you bear with me, I started moving house today! Gonna be busy til sun! lol.
  5. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,672   +9

    I'm not selecting from any menu as only one HDD is connected to the mobo at any given instant.

    How do I determine this priority and change it if needed?

    Read that just a while back. I'm actually planning on going with Arch Linux. Hope I can learn a little more than when using Ubuntu.

    Thanks a lot for your patience. I know I've been asking pretty stupid questions (and repeating them too). But I just really wanted to know how this exactly works.

    And happy moving Leeky! :)
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Then as far as Windows 7 is concerned its the sole operating system. :)

    Enter the BIOS menu, and then under something like boot order, or boot devices, they will be listed. You will likely also have a seperate part of the BIOS that lists your hard drives, and there order.

    On mine, I have my SSD first (has OS on), then my 500GB second, and 250GB third. All running on the same computer, all under AHCI.

    Ubuntu is very good for beginners. But its also very powerful, and its easy looks can fool you, as its as complicated as you wish to make it for yourself. Thats true of most distro's.

    The best way of learning is at the deep end. :D

    We all ask questions we think are silly. My last thread in Networking is a perfect example. Of course you can connect a 2.5" SSD in a PC, but having spent the best part of £600 earlier this year on it I wasnt prepared to just do it! lol.

    Moving is never happy! lol. Though I did the best bit today, I got all the computers/laptops set up, networked, and all talking to each other. Our internet provider, and phone company also came and installed our phone line and also our 50mb fibre optic broadband too. I'm just finishing up with my quad core pc now, and I'm heading back to my old house for a sleep before all the furniture moving tomorrow! :(
  7. JohnnyBoyClub

    JohnnyBoyClub TS Rookie

    1. Yes it is possible to remove all data from your older HDD (including the OS) and use it as additional storage on Windows 7?

    2. I think it will boot the one you choose to

    3. Ussually it will prompt when you start the computer o choose what OS you want to log on too

    4. Yes they will show up separetely as they are 2 seperate hards ( also to keep your both hdd safe you should use a backup software and as you have both hdd occupied you should use one that has a feature to save the backup online , one similar is Dmailer Backup Software )

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