Does a clean Windows 7 install erase files on secondary HDD?

#1 Posted by Andorski (5197 posts) -

Long story short: I was messing with system files trying to get a custom Windows 7 them up and running, but instead screwed up the operating system. I don't mind doing a clean install in order to make sure everything goes back the way it goes, but I would like - if possible - to keep files that I have on a secondary internal hard drive disk. I was wondering though if by doing a clean install of the OS, that I would be erasing files on both my primary SSD (i.e. the drive I'm going to run the OS off of) and my secondary HDD, or will only the SSD be wiped clean?

#2 Posted by BisonHero (6213 posts) -

Short answer, no. When you're doing a clean install of Windows, that means you generally only need to reformat the drive you'll be booting the OS from (unless I'm completely misreading your situation). As far as Windows is concerned, your secondary HDD isn't particularly different from a USB thumbdrive, in that they're separate storage entities from your boot drive.

So before you start the reformatting process, it should ask you which drive you'll be formatting. Unless you've done something creative with drive letter assignment, you'll tell it to format your C: drive. It doesn't touch any drive other than the one you tell it to. If you want to be extra cautious in case you make a disastrous series of misclicks, you could always physically disconnect your secondary HDD from your computer before starting this process.

#3 Posted by Questionable (619 posts) -

It should not even touch any other partition than you're C:\\

#4 Posted by Subjugation (4718 posts) -

I'm pretty sure it only touches the partition you install it on.

#5 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (612 posts) -

Nothing on the second HDD will be messed with unless you choose the wrong HDD in the set up. If you want to be extra safe just unplug the second hard drive and then you won't have anything to worry about.

#6 Posted by Teoball (575 posts) -

The last time I re-installed Win7 I was surprised to see that it didn't even delete the old installation of windows. It was just put in a folder called windows.old.

#7 Posted by 137 (481 posts) -

If you do a clean install of windows it's best to just unhook(remove power and sata/ide cables) to any other drive hooked up to the machine PERIOD, sometimes the computer is weird and since a hard drive that's not being touched exists it will make your C drive the E or F drive and it's a HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE bitch to change it to C after the fact.

#8 Posted by Raven10 (1733 posts) -

Yea I'd agree with others that it shouldn't wipe any additional drives but it would be safest to just unplug any other drives you have connected just to be safe.

#9 Edited by misterhaan (227 posts) -

i install windows 4 times a year, and it definitely only touches whatever partitions (these usually map to drive letters) you tell it to touch. well that and the mbr, but you don't care about the mbr unless you run more than one operating system like i do. just boot the windows install disc and tell it to format and install your ssd. it'll even show you the partition labels so if you are worried about not knowing which to pick you can rename the drives in windows explorer before rebooting to reinstall. while you could install with your secondary drive disconnected if that makes you feel better, that's going to mean windows won't know you have a secondary drive. in my experience windows is better at setting itself up if all the hardware is connected.

#10 Posted by ShadowSkill11 (1783 posts) -

@Andorski: Why would it affect anything other than the partition you tell the OS to install itself on?

#11 Posted by BionicRadd (617 posts) -

Not to be a dick, but if you have to ask this question, you shouldn't be messing with system files, at all.

#12 Posted by Marz (5643 posts) -

no, unless you delete all partitions while setting up windows.

#13 Posted by lettuceman44 (109 posts) -

@BionicRadd: Then how does anyone learn?

Besides, it is a valid question.

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