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Hard drive replacement needed - when to install the OS again?

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by tricon7, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. tricon7

    tricon7 Thread Starter

    Jun 13, 2004
    This is probably a really dumb question, but do I have to install Windows 7 on a new hard drive that'll be replacing my almost-bad existing one in my laptop prior to moving my pertinent files onto it? I have a case into which I can place an internal hard drive in order to move the data via USB from one HD to another. So, once I transfer all the vital data onto the new drive, I was going to take the old one out and put the new one into the laptop. Where does installing Windows 7 again come into play? I can't just install the new hard drive if there's no OS on it, can I? At what point in installing a new HD would I need to get a copy of Windows 7 and install?

    I recently moved and lost my copy of Windows 7 that came with the computer, so I'm going to have to borrow one from a co-worker or friend, unfortunately, unless there's a way around it.

    Additionally, my laptop (which has 750 GB) has a C: and D: drive. I guess the HD is partitioned? I would hope that during a data transfer everything would be transferred, not just the data from one drive.

    One last note - I came across this how-to article on Windows 7 backups that may serve my purpose here. If anyone thinks it's a viable alternative, please let me know. Let me quote:

    Many readers are likely familiar with the fact that Windows 7 comes with a fairly comprehensive backup solution that includes, among other things, the ability to create a so-called system image of your entire PC. This system image is, more precisely, an exact duplicate of the hard drive(s) in your PC, in VHD (virtual hard disk) format, and it provides you with the ability to fully restore your PC to a previous, known-good state.

    The system image capability in Windows Backup is good at what it does. But it has other uses beyond the obvious. And one of those uses is an increasingly common scenario: You've got a PC with whatever hard drive in it, and it's running out of space. If you have a desktop PC, you might be able to simply add a new hard drive. But if you have a laptop, you almost certainly can't. In either case, however, there are advantages to not adding a hard drive but instead replacing the existing hard drive with one that offers more capacity and, perhaps, better performance.

  2. rodeognome


    Dec 13, 2003
    You will need Windows 7 installed as soon as the hard drive is installed.

    If you start up your computer with no OS (operating system, in this case Win 7) you will just get a no operating system found message.

    Borrowing a copy of Win 7 is fine - as long as you have the license. Usually a sticker on base or under the battery.

    Please note: Remember that a Windows 7 Pro license will NOT activate on a Windows Home Premium copy installed and vica versa. Make sure they match.
  3. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

    Aug 15, 2007
    If you bought a retail drive,it may come with some cloning software.
    In any case,you would want to put the new drive in the external case
    and clone the old one to the new one and then swap them out.
    That is saying that the old drive is still working well enough to do
    the clone.
    If you don't get cloning software with the drive,you can usually
    download it from the manufacturers website of the new drive.
    Cloning makes an exact copy of the old drive to the new one,so you should
    be able to install the new drive after the clone and boot to windows.
    A new hard drive is not usually a big enough hardware difference
    to require a reactivation of windows.
  4. Totalstranger


    Aug 8, 2010
    If it is a HP you should be able to buy recovery disks. Then you could use them to reinstall the factory software that it came out of the box with. Then update and reinstall prgrams. If you got back ups of your files and even your programs on an external hard drive. Otherwize you may loose your HP
    software. My external hdd Says media not for a hdd image. I am sure that some or most external hdds can clone the whole hdd.
  5. DaveBurnett

    DaveBurnett Account Closed

    Nov 11, 2002
    Go with leyroys1000's suggestions and ignore Totalstranger
  6. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

    Mar 23, 2005
    First Name:
    The instructions for imaging you quoted are fine, but I wouldn't trust Windows' application. Use leroys1000's suggestion, or another imaging/cloning program.

    If you haven't yet done so make your set of Recovery DVDs; you may never need them, but if you do that's more convenient than to scramble to see if you can buy them.
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