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Moving everything to external hard drive

3 posts in this topic

Hey! I was wondering if it was possible to move everything from my internal hard drive on my laptop to my external hard drive. I want to do this because I am building a PC and want to be able to boot it from the external. Thanks in advance!

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Just simply moving the contents of the C: drive on your laptop to an external and plugging it in WON'T work.  You can back up your files onto an external and you can use an external as a boot device to install Windows but you cant do it with the same USB drive at the same time.  Once a USB device has been formatted as a boot drive no other data can be stored on it.  So if you want to back up your files and install Windows from a USB device I strongly recommend that you use two seperate USB storage devices.


As for backing up and setting up a USB boot device there are several methods for both.


Backing up:


Before doing any of this update and use your anti-virus software to make sure your laptop is clean.


Some applications like Steam have their own back up and restore utilities for DRM/copyright protected content so for anything relating that to use them.


As for your own files the first and most straight forward method is simply copy the files you want to keep onto the external.  Although it might take longer and requires more babysitting this is the method is the one I would recommend as alleviates the possibility of transferring any unnecessary junk like old system files to your new system.  I also recommend not transferring any applications as you'r better downloading the latest compatible versions on you new PC anyway, just stick to your personal files like documents, video, music and so on.


You can also use the Back Up and restore facility in the Control Panel but as I said before you might get some junk you don't want but It doesn't require as much attention on your part.  Guide


Setting up a USB Boot device:


Again there are several different ways to do this but the important thing is to not use the same device you used for you'r back up.  I recommend using a small USB pen drive (4Gb+).  I'm going to take you through what I think is the easiest, safest one.  


1. Format the Pen Drive:  Insert the USB Pen drive (or whatever your using) into the laptop, open up a window and right click on it and select Format.  then select NFTS for the Format, note that this will erase EVERYTHING from the drive.                    


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2. Download the ISO file:  You can download these from the internet through various means but I'm only going to discuss legitimate methods for Windows 7. Window 8/10 might be different but 7 is the one I would recommend anyway since it's better than 8 and you can still upgrade to windows 10 if you wish.


If you have a valid Product Key go to this LINK, enter your key, job done.


If you don't have a valid product key you can still download and install Windows legally using a torrent file but you will be asked to buy a key once you have installed it.  There are websites where you can download the ISO file with a key and that's how i got mine (LINK) but I'm in the UK and don't have access to any US stores and vice versa so you'll have to find one on your own.


3. Use the USB DVD Download Tool  You can download this here.  Install, run and follow the instructions.  There are other apps that can do this but they are for the most part overkill,  this one is designed specifically for this job.


Once you have you'r USB boot drive and your new PC is built it's simply a case of inserting it into the one of the port on startup and following the on screen instructions.  If you have any problems let me know.

JoelMattGarcia and Humorousone like this

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Really hope that's not a USB 2.0 drive....

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