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Moving OS

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
First of all, let me start off with my system specs:

ASUS P8Z77-V Pro
Intel Core i5 3570k @ 3.40 GHz
Noctua NH-D14
Cooler Master HAF X
16GB G Skill Aries RAM @ 1600 MHz
Sapphire Radeon 6950 Special Edition Card (2GB GDDR5 VRAM)
Corsair AX 850 80+Gold
Seagate Barracuda 3TB HDD
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

I built this computer during the summer of last year and it was my first ever build. I kind of wanted to feel the waters before I started diving in and investing more money into better rigs. My original intention was also to include a Samsung 830 series SSD, however that fell through and I was forced to stick with the 3TB HDD. A year later, I now get this notification every now and again that I need to activate my OS. When I first put the computer together, a friend of mine offered to install Windows for me. However, it turned out that he only had keys to upgrade OS, not a fresh install. However, after spending quite some time on the phone with Microsoft, they gave him a fresh install. Neither of us never thought to write that key down, so now I can't reactivate my Windows. It hasn't caused me any problems thus far, and I don't know if that is any reason for concern but I just like to be safe.

A couple of months ago, I had to do a project for school and I decided to integrate a computer and a table to maximize workspace efficiency. I had an old computer laying around, so I scrapped the case and reused the processor, hard drives, PSU, GPU, and DVD reader/writer. It had two 320GB HDDs, so I decided to keep one on the project and throw the other one into my current build. I figured I could use it later. During the project, a few friends of mine also warned me about the size of my HDD. They told me it was dramatically slow down as time went on. They were right, as now it takes nearly two minutes to start up my computer.

With this extra, much smaller hard drive, I was thinking I could ask my dad for a fresh install of Windows 7 (he works in IT and has some spare keys) and put it on this 320GB HDD. However, I lack knowledge in how computers process information on a hard drive, so I was wondering if anyone could clarify for me the risks in doing so. I don't want to lose any of the files I have on my old hard drive, but I just wanted to make sure that installing a new OS on the 320 HDD wouldn't interfere with the information on the 3TB HDD. However, if it would be a requirement to remove the old OS, then I was also seeking some guidance on how to go about doing that without tampering anything. I understand I am a newbie so any help is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 7
http://www.magicaljellybean.com/keyfinder/
Key retrieval software, my good man.
EDIT: A lil tutorial using different software: http://www.howtogeek.com/64600/how-to-recover-windows-and-software-keys-from-a-broken-computer/
Ripsaw RoG 1.0
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Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
LG BluRay Burner h100 Coolermaster sickleflow red x4 Windows 7 Ultimate x64  
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Ripsaw RoG 1.0
(16 items)
 
Ripsaw0.9
(12 items)
 
RipsawHTPC
(11 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
3770k Asus Maximus V Extreme msi gtx 580 EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung Miracle Ram DDR3 2x4Gb 1866Mhz Samsung 830 Hitachi 2tb 7200rpm OCZ Vertex 3 120 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
LG BluRay Burner h100 Coolermaster sickleflow red x4 Windows 7 Ultimate x64  
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer BlackWidow Cougar powerx 700 Custom Test Bench (in progress) Gigabyte Gaming Mouse 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom ii x4 960t ASUS m5a97 evga gtx 260 Corsair Vengeance LP 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
OCZ Vertex 3 Hitachi Deskstar 7200 LG Blu-Ray Burner Corsair H100 
OSMonitorPowerCase
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Dynex 24" 1920x1080p TV XFX PRO 550w Fractal Design Arc Midi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon ii x3 440 msi 785gm-p45 EVGA GTX 260 G-skill ripjaws 2x4gb ddr1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
corsair f120 Western Digital 2tb green Seagate 2tb green lg drd rw 
CoolingOSMonitor
coolermaster 101 windows 7 home premium Panasonic tcp50u2 
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
So it would be best I recover the key onto my current 3TB HDD rather than trying to move my OS to the 320GB HDD and maintaining all my media on the 3TB HDD?
post #4 of 7
If your having key issues id go with a fresh install.

If i were you id backup the contents of your current hard drive that are not replaceable to an external drive (documents, pictures, video,etc). Forget programs, OS/system stuff...those can all be replaced/re-installed.

Clean install OS on a 320GB HDD and then format the 3TB drive and use it strictly as a data drive (currently it is a boot drive with system files, which may or may not complicate booting from the 320GB drive). Once its formatted move your data back to it. You can relocate the folders in your user folder to the 3TB drive (downloads/documents/etc). This way you keep your 320GB drive for OS and some programs and your 3TB drive for data and maybe some programs.

I have a 120GB SSD and 3TB drive and thats how i have it setup. Ive reinstalled windows more times then i care to admit and for me its as simple as backing up my 3TB drive (only the files i cant replace), wiping both drives, reinstall windows, put data back on 3TB.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Wow. Sounds easy enough. I simply didn't know what complications could arise because the only way I imagined I could do it would be without removing anything from my 3TB HDD. But that sounds good. Hopefully in the future I'll get an SSD and be able to throw that in there, but I know that isn't within the budget right now so I'll just wait. Thank you so much for your help.
post #6 of 7
Ripsaw, I think you deserver rep for your key retrieval information +rep
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WC Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-930@4.05GHz ASUS P6X58D-Preminum XFX GeForce 275 896mb 6GB Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 150gb Raptor LightScan Win 7 64-bit Acer 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
G15 Corsair HX620W Antec 1200 several various 
Mouse Pad
none 
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post #7 of 7
Recovering a full key that you have not had issues with is one thing, recovering a key that has periodically had activation issues and that required calling MS to finish activation is asking for complications. If he has access to a new full key, he should use it. Also a good poster child for writing keys down and storing them in safe places.

To the OP, yea you basically seperate your OS and data as much as possible. It makes it easier to backup data and to wipe/reinstall OS when needed. I can install Windows 7/8 and restore my backed up data in easily 30 minutes on my SSD. This doesnt including installing and updating software, but my backup practices and my keeping data and OS/apps seperate makes it smoother.
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