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Move Disks to Another Computer

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

This section describes the steps to take and considerations associated with moving disks to another computer. You might want to print this procedure or write down the steps before attempting to move disks from one computer to another.

Backup Operator or Administrator is the minimum membership required to perform these steps.

Verify volume health

Use Disk Management to make sure the status of the volumes on the disks is Healthy. If the status is not Healthy, you should repair the volumes before you move the disks.

To verify the volume status, check the Status column in the Volume List view or under the volume size and file system information in the Graphical view.

Uninstall the disks

Uninstall the disks you want to move using Device Manager.

To uninstall disks
  1. Open Device Manager in Computer Management.

  2. In the device list, double-click Disk drives.

  3. Right-click the disks you want to uninstall, and then click Uninstall.

  4. In the Confirm Device Removal dialog box, click OK.

Remove dynamic disks

If the disks you want to move are dynamic disks, in Disk Management, right-click the disks that you want to move, and then click Remove Disk.

After having removed dynamic disks or if you are moving basic disks, you can now physically disconnect them. If the disks are external, you can now unplug them from the computer. If they are internal, turn off the computer, and then physically remove the disks.

Install disks in the new computer

If the disks are external, plug them into the computer. If the disks are internal, make sure the computer is turned off and then physically install the disks in that computer.

Start the computer that contains the disks you moved and follow the instructions on the Found New Hardware dialog box.

Detect new disks

On the new computer, open Disk Management. Click Action and then click Rescan Disks. Right-click any disk marked Foreign, click Import Foreign Disks, and then follow the instructions on your screen.

Additional considerations

  • When moved to another computer, basic volumes receive the next available drive letter on that computer. Dynamic volumes retain the drive letter they had on the previous computer. If a dynamic volume did not have a drive letter on the previous computer, it does not receive a drive letter when moved to another computer. If the drive letter is already used on the computer where they are moved, the volume receives the next available drive letter. If an administrator has used the mountvol /n or the diskpart automount commands to prevent new volumes from being added to the system, volumes moved from another computer are prevented from being mounted and from receiving a drive letter. To use the volume, you must manually mount the volume and assign it a drive letter using Disk Management or the DiskPart and mountvol commands.

  • If you are moving spanned, striped, mirrored, or RAID-5 volumes, it is highly recommended that you move all disks containing the volume together. Otherwise, the volumes on the disks cannot be brought online and will not be accessible except to delete them.

  • You can move multiple disks from different computers to a computer by installing the disks, opening Disk Management, right-clicking any of the new disks, and then clicking Import Foreign Disks. When importing multiple disks from different computers, always import all of the disks from one computer at a time. For example, if you want to move disks from two computers, import disks from the first computer and then import disks from the second computer.

  • Disk Management describes the condition of the volumes on the disks before they are imported. Review this information carefully. If there are any problems, this will tell you what will happen to each volume on these disks once the disks have been imported.

  • If you move a GUID partition table disk containing the Windows operating system to an x86-based or x64-based computer, you can access the data, but you cannot boot from that operating system.

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