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Discussion Starter #1
My kid's computer is in virus hell. I'm having to start over with a full Windows 7 (x32) re-installation. I'm trying to do the installation on a new drive, keeping the original as a second drive - hopefully recovering some data once the virus has been dealt with. Can I install a second drive without losing the data? Seems Windows 7 won't recognize the drive until I do a full format (which will wipe out the files).

Thoughts?
 

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Is the second drive new? If so, it won't have any files on it. You need to make sure the new drive is recognized as the boot drive (may need to adjust the jumpers on the drives to make sure it is the master). Then simply install Windows on the new drive. The old drive should come up as D: and you will be able to access all the files.

Actually, to be on the safe side, disconnect the old drive and install only with the new drive installed. Then after a clean boot, shutdown and install the old drive.

Be careful what you do - if you access files that have viruses, you'll simply infect your new install as well. Install virus protection right after your new install.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Larry:

I've done exactly what you said. However, the second drive (i.e. the hard drive with all the files) does not show up automatically. I have to go through Disk Management in order to see it. Disk Management wants me to assign it a volume letter and to format it completely.
 

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What might work is to put the drive in an external enclosure. Plug it into your USB port. If the HD is working, I see no reason why you will not be able to view it. you could at least copy the data you need.
 

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Disk Management wants me to assign it a volume letter and to format it completely.
What letter did you assign to the new installation? If you did a new install without the old drive present it likely defaulted to c: which would be the same as your old install. Windows does not know what to do with two c: drives so it ignores your old drive.

In disk management you should be able to assign a letter to the old drive without formatting.

Also, check your BIOS that both drives are present.
 

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I think you need to go into disk management and ensure you can "see" the drive. Don't quote me, but sometimes the disk has to be imported or converted. I know I've done something like this where the data wasn't lost.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I assigned F as the drive letter through Disk Management. The drive can be seen (both in BIOS and in Windows), but I get an inaccessibility error - indicating that the drive must be formatted first.

I thought of the enclosure idea. Perhaps as a last resort.
 

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Try a linux livecd.
I've often had times when windows had an error reading it, but linux had no problem.

e.g. ubuntu
http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download

If you've never used one, you just burn it to CD or usb drive and pop it in during boot.
You can run ubuntu without modifying your hard drive, letting you do all sorts of diagnostics or rescue files before a reinstall/reimage of windows.
You can also install a virus scanner for windows files to reduce the chance you're copying a virus to your 'safe' file folder.

I'm glad Larry mentioned the removal of drive0 before installing windows on drive1.
As I just mentioned in another post (though it's far more suited here :p)

Win7 has a funny habit of putting its boot info on drive0 (first drive connected) regardless of where it's installed.
So if you installed win7 on the new drive with the old one connected as first device, win7 would work fine on drive 2. But the second you removed or wiped drive1, win7 would fail to boot even though the files on that drive have not been touched.

It's best to install windows with only one drive connected, and then once things are set up, connect the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ubuntu could see the files, but I could not move them.

I bit the bullet... I reformatted the drive. Yes, I lost my data (nothing major, but still irksome). My teenagers have lessons learned about backing up and opening questionable internet links.
 

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Rideauman, you should create multiple users on the computer (admin and your teenagers)

Then prevent them from downloading and installing programs.
 
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