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After cloning a hdd to ssd, what to do to old drive to keep the original data?

Posted on 2016-11-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a couple of brand new Dell Inspirons. I want to clone the original HDDs to SSDs by putting both into a 2nd PC. After, I want to boot for the very first time off of SSD, but also keep the original HDD in as a second drive for additional storage (and as an "image" of sorts I could use in case of disaster) . If I wanted to keep the original OEM partitions and data on the original HDD:
-what would you suggest doing to it?
-Is there only 1 active partition allowed per DRIVE or per SYSTEM? In other words, can a PC have 2 drives, C and D, each with an active partition?
-Do I need to change it to "not Active"?
-Drop all of the original OS folders into one called "original OS"?
-Does that cause any potential problems?

Thanks
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Question by:RickNCN
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by:
Qlemo earned 175 total points
ID: 41888746
You do not need to change anything. Maybe you have to go into the BIOS to change the boot sequence to the SSD, but that's it. You can boot from HDD the same way, either by calling the boot menu (F12 for some BIOS) while starting the machine (this will be temporary only), or changing the boot sequence again in BIOS (so it is permanent).
I recommend to create new files inside of a new folder, so you clearly can differ between "mirrored" and new content.
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 159 total points
ID: 41888757
>>  -Is there only 1 active partition allowed per DRIVE or per SYSTEM? In other words, can a PC have 2 drives, C and D, each with an active partition?

Only 1 active partition per drive, so you could have both the SSD and drive there.  You'd go to the BIOS and select which drive to boot from and make it the SSD.

Note:  I wouldn't keep both in the machine.  Windows is going to see it and that MAY cause problems with all sorts of mappings going on.  I'd take it out and keep it safely tucked away in a nice cool dry space.

Note:  Wait for others to comment.  There will be varying opinions.
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by:gilnov
gilnov earned 83 total points
ID: 41888765
A PC can definitely have multiple bootable volumes/drives but you can only designate one default boot volume at a time. Press windows key + R, type msconfig then press enter on the keyboard. System Configuration will open. Click the Boot tab and use the settings there to select the default boot volume. You can set a timeout interval to allow yourself time to select the secondary boot volume at start up. 30 seconds is the default which is plenty. You can set it lower. Setting to zero skips the select screen and just immediately loads the default OS from the default volume.

Let me just add, though, that just because you CAN do something that doesn't mean you SHOULD. If this is your computer, fine. You can probably deal with it but if you are putting PCs with nearly identical (at least initially) boot volumes in front of ordinary users, you are just asking for trouble. Especially if, as you say, the OEM drives will be used for additional storage. You can virtually guarantee the users will screw up the OEM load and blow your emergency backup idea out of the water. You would honestly be better off making an image of the OEM load using WinPE and DISM then format the OEM drives and just give the users fresh powder to store data on. That's what I would do anyway.
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Expert Comment

by:gilnov
ID: 41888776
Missed that bit in the OP about dropping OEM files into "original OS" folder. This will break msconfig suggestion. BIOS settings will designate the default boot volume but you won't be able to boot from OEM drive with system files relocated to a subfolder. The rest of my first comment stands. I guarantee users will poke on the "original OS" folder and mess it up. If you want to keep OEM load for a rainy day, do as others suggest and set the drive aside as is or make a .wim with DISM as I suggested. Just don't let users get their grubby mitts on the original OS files.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 83 total points
ID: 41889216
of you want to keep it "as an image" why not make an image - delete everything on the drive, and store the image on it?
otherwise, as others said - you are asking for trouble
note : don't worry about the C and D labels, the system will change them, and probably label them as E and F
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Author Comment

by:RickNCN
ID: 41889773
Qlemo: Thanks for the input.
It sounds like some of you were reading that I want to have 2 drives that are possible boot drives - both active. I don't. I just want to boot only from the SSD and set the hdd as a non-bootable 2nd drive for additional storage/backup with the possibility of keeping it as a fallback for a little while (maybe a month) if the SSD soils itself in the near future.

dbrunton, thanks,
Note:  I wouldn't keep both in the machine.  Windows is going to see it and that MAY cause problems with all sorts of mappings going on.
Well, that was the thought behind my question: "-Do I need to change it to "not Active"?"  That would eliminate what you're saying might happen, no?

gilnov, thank you,
I'm not looking to have 2 bootable drives, only 1, the SSD. So I'm looking for the best way to prevent the PC from looking at the HDD as a boot drive, ever, unless I need to use it as one. But that would only be for the near future, not a long-term "backup image". Once the PC is configured for the user and starts getting used, that original OEM load will be of little value.

I agree, users will often poke around and mess with things. Maybe I make the "original OS" folder hidden?

nobus, thanks for the help,
if you want to keep it "as an image" why not make an image - delete everything on the drive, and store the image on it?
- because it's extra time and work I don't want to put in. I just wanted it for short term, maybe a couple weeks, until the SSD is fully set up and user has started using it.

otherwise, as others said - you are asking for trouble. note : don't worry about the C and D labels, the system will change them, and probably label them as E and F
the C and D I was referring to were SSD as "C" and HDD as "D" drive- wondering about having 2 physical drives, both being active. I think I should be changing the HDD (D) drive to inactive.

So, to sum up:
-Someone could install 2 hard drives, both active and select either to boot from if they wanted, however this isn't my intention
-Doing that isnt a good idea for giving the PC to the unwashed masses - they'll get confused and it will cause problems
-you could store the original OS files in a folder, but grubby users might mess with the files- not recommended

Maybe if I make the "original OS" on HDD (D)  folder hidden and set the volume as not active, that will mitigate most of the problems - at least for the short term?
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Assisted Solution

by:Qlemo
Qlemo earned 175 total points
ID: 41889875
Indeed it is best to keep the harddisk in place but with no power. If there are issues with the SSD, a change to the HDD is easy.
On the other hand it is very unlikely the SSD will fail within one month ;-).
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by:nobus
nobus earned 83 total points
ID: 41889878
>>  Someone could install 2 hard drives, both active and select either   <<  no you cannot have 2 active drives
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by:gilnov
gilnov earned 83 total points
ID: 41889881
It seems to me you are trying to accomplish two objectives that are at odds. On the one hand, you want to preserve the OEM HDD and on the other, you want to USE it. The only way to do both is to deny end users access to the OEM load and give access to part of the volume. One way to do this would be to partition the HDD and then hide the partition with the OEM OS load.
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Author Comment

by:RickNCN
ID: 41890052
Qlemo:
The main point is to use the original hard drive as a second data drive, or for Crashplan backups, whatever is needed, and as a secondary usage, to keep the original data on it in case it's needed in the near term. So, powering it down wouldnt be a possibility.
On the other hand it is very unlikely the SSD will fail within one month ;-).
Well, I don't know.. I was going to get a a PNY CS1311 480 GB and reviews on Amazon and Newegg stated a lot of dead drives after 1 or 2 months. I did opt for a Samsung EVO, so hoping reliability will be better than that.

nobus:
>>  Someone could install 2 hard drives, both active and select either   <<  no you cannot have 2 active drives
this is why I asked the question originally:
-Is there only 1 active partition allowed per DRIVE or per SYSTEM? In other words, can a PC have 2 (physical) drives, C and D, each with an active partition?

So your answer would be: there is only one active drive allowed per drive AND per system? Why can't the second drive continue to have a partition marked as "Active" but the system just doesn't boot from that drive?

gilnov:
On the one hand, you want to preserve the OEM HDD and on the other, you want to USE it.
well, no, not really preserve, as in "not modify the drive". I just want to be able to use that OEM data if I needed to and was looking for an easy, if imperfect way of preserving it for a little while. I'm not really concerned with this PARTICULAR user, She would never go poking around in unknown folders, much less mess with anything in them.

So I guess I'm saying "this *is* the way I want to do this, just to do it quick and dirty, realizing there are some possible issues... what suggestions are there." I think the active partition question is the biggest one I'd like answered.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 83 total points
ID: 41890065
you cannot have 2 active partitions  -activating one disactivates the other
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by:gilnov
gilnov earned 83 total points
ID: 41890084
"Active" is just a flag that means the partition is bootable and contains an OS. Not to be confused with the BIOS setting that tells the computer which drive is the default boot device. You can only have one active partition AT A TIME per disk but you can change the active partition at any time. A disk can have up to 4 "primary" partitions (or 3 primary and 1 extended which can have up to 24 logical volumes...but that's a whole other topic). But making the OEM drive (partition, actually...you don't make drives active...only partitions) isn't necessary unless you want to boot to it. If you can trust the user not poke on the original OS folder, just plug everything in, set the SSD as the boot device in the BIOS and have done with it.

By the way, I can vouch for the Samsung EVO SSD's. I've been using them exclusively in my laptops for the past year or two and they are rock solid.
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 159 total points
ID: 41890228
You CAN have one active partition per disk (or SSD).

And select which disk to boot from in the BIOS.

The problem (as I see it) is if you boot from the SSD is what Windows makes of the hard disk and how you protect the setup.  If you have a trusted user who won't poke around then there is no problem.  Setup a folder on the hard disk and do a mapping to it and you are OK.
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Author Closing Comment

by:RickNCN
ID: 41899724
I ended up doing as I stated in the question, put it on a 3rd sata port, moved original OEM files into a folder and went with it. No problems. Yes, user could mess with it , so someone needs to use their judgement with that.  I didn't change the drives in any other way or the BIOS.
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