probably something I easily could google, I just have no idea how to formulate the question on the search bar... And it's easier to track progress this way.
I was recently recommended to upgrade my computer from Win XP to Win 7 (I don't like changes, upgrading the same OS is already enough of a change so I doubt I'll be want to change to any other OS that isn't windows) and I would like to keep the stuff I've got on my secondary HDD, which is mostly... Files and heavily modded games which would be a pain to mod up again if I reformat both disks. I also want to move all personal files there for the time being and then back to the main disk when the upgrade is complete... Sort of a USB memory.
Is it even possible or does both HDD's have to be erased at the same time to install the new OS?
You can simply use the upgrade option instead of a fresh install. That would leave both hard drives intact and programs installed but would upgrade the OS.
That said however it is always better to do a fresh install of your OS. Your second hard drive will not be affected in any way as you are not installing to that hard drive. I myself and tbh most here have a small solid state hard drive just for windows and have everything else on a big normal one. That way we can wipe the small drive and reinstall windows.
I wouldn't recommend the upgrade either. A fresh install usually works better. It won't overwrite existing games on your secondary hdd, but the games won't be registered, so they won't work. Often you can manually add a game to the registry though. In other cases I would recommend to back up the modded game, install it again and overwrite the fresh game installation.
I like Steam for this as I have steam installed to my secondary drive so all I have to do is reinstall steam to the same location and all my steam games are there.
It is surprising how many of the older games worked just fine without and registry files so you might get lucky. A lot of the quake 3 engine games did this like soldier of fortune 2 and quake 3 that I know of.
Going from xp to windows 7 is a good move and the newer windows will find your drivers at install for you. I used to hate having to spend longer installing drivers than it did installing the operating system and god forbid you misplaced the network card drivers good old xp.
Those damned drivers xP I'm not even bothered anymore by the automatic updates... Hell, they're all discontinued.
So, if I do a fresh install on my main (OS) HDD, it won't touch at all my secondary, as I understand? I'd also rather have a clean install. I think I can fix the games issue easily and it's mostly personal stuff, which are stored in the main drive (that I will move to secondary as backup) that I'm more worried about.
You got it m8. Move the stuff you want to keep to the secondary drive and it will be fine.
Before you start any fresh install make sure you write down the size and free space of your drives and on the paper the one you want to install windows to. I say this because sometimes during the install process it will ask you which drive you want to install to and the drive letters are not always the same as they are in your xp install. Don't worry though it will make you new windows drive into the C drive no matter what.
Best of luck and I am 100% certain that you will like win 7 eventually. Some things can be a bit of a shock if you haven't used Win 7 before or Vista and you come straight from what is essentially a windows 95 structure.
As was already said, your secondary drive won't be touched, just make sure you know which one is which. On the other hand, I don't think it's worth trying to fix existing installations to work again. Just reinstall the program and maybe drop the old folder over top of it if there's anything you changed that you want to keep.
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