Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Installing another external hard drive

  1. #1


    Norway
    Posts : 2
    windows 8.1

    Installing another external hard drive


    Hi there,

    My desktop is running Windows 8.1. I want to put the hard drive from an old desktop (Windows Vista sp. 2) into a "USB 3.0 Sata enclosure ) to expand storage capacity. The (500Gb) sata hard drive has got one partition (c
    Windows Vista and data are both on that partion. My worries are: do I have to reformat the drive or will I get away with installing it as it is? Will I be able to read my data files so that I wont have to bother with backups? In case I have to reformate, how long will it take for roughly 250 Gb.

    Yours truely,

    Řivind Reinemo

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    You don't have to "install" an external drive; instead, once you have it in the enclosure, all you have to do is connect that to a USB 3.0 port on your PC and turn on the drive. You should get a popup about the drive and, when you then open Windows Explorer, you should see the drive listed.

    If it was the only drive in the old desktop, it will still have Vista installed on it, so you should consider removing all the OS-related folders to recover some space.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    N. Calif
    Posts : 2,595
    W10 Pro (desktop), W10 (laptop), W10 Pro (tablet), W10 (laptop)


    Just some additional info beyond what Mark Phelps already said. You don't have to plug the cable into a USB 3.0 port on your PC, it will work in a USB 2.0 port as well. However, if your PC has a 3.0 port then, by all means, use it since the transfer speeds will be faster.

    As Mark stated, the Vista system files will still be on the drive and taking up space. Simply deleting the OS related folders will recover the bulk of the disk space but not all of it. To completely remove all of the Vista system files from that drive will require you to format the drive. First, make sure you copy (temporarily) any data files you want to keep from the external drive to the laptop, then format the external drive, then copy the data files back to the external.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Will I be able to read my data files so that I wont have to bother with backups? Will I be able to read my data files so that I wont have to bother with backups?
    It has been a long, long time since I mixed operating systems data, but there may be inaccessibility problems with Vista user account data folders and files. You may have to take ownerships on the individual folders and files.

    IF your data exist outside of your user account, i.e. not in Libraries or My (aaaa), these should be accessible immediately upon adding the drive to the new OS. IF they're in user account folders, the trick might be to first 'move' the data out of these folders onto a created folder on the C:\ drive before adding this drive to the new OS. The 'transfer' is just a change in table pointers and should be near-instantaneous.

    In case I have to reformate, how long will it take for roughly 250 Gb.
    Should a reformat be required, backup transfer speed depends on the size of the files. My experience tells me that the larger the size of the files are, the faster the transfer speed. If there are many small-sized files, that would lower the transfer rate. One also has to consider the weakest performer to be the bottleneck. A pen drive would be a lot slower than a 5400 rpm hd, which would be slower than a 7200 rpm hd in receiving the backup.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Norway
    Posts : 2
    windows 8.1


    Thanx everybody for valuable input. I appreciate the time and effort you have taken to explain to me what to do and not to do.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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