W8.1 Reset Windows on SSD, safe to remove HDD

hard driveresetssdwindows 8.1


Hello there!

I asked a question here on SuperUser a couple of hours ago. In short, my computer boots into a black screen, even in safe mode. I've come to the conclusion that it would be best to reset my PC.

I no longer got this problem. My computer fixed itself somehow. I still want to know the answer to this question, though!

I'm thinking of resetting my computer through the "Reset my PC" feaure in Windows 8.1. Though, since I've got two drives, I'm a little bit confused.

I've been scouring through a lot of threads on various forums and questions here on SuperUser. Though, none of them has addressed my question completely. The questions that somewhat resembles my problem are these:

Resetting a HDD with two partitions

Reset with Windows on both HDD and SSD

Windows on SSD, Files on HDD

My System

  • My computer: Asus G750JX
  • Swedish Windows 8.1 64-bit
  • Computer came with 256GB HD with two partitions, whereof one was 90GB with Windows on it
  • Installed 1TB HDD later on in the second slot

Description of my problem

When I purchased my computer, it came with Windows 8 64-bit installed on a 90GB partition of the 256GB SSD. I upgraded it to Windows 8.1 later on. Since I was going to use the computer for video editing and gaming, I needed a lot of space. Therefore I purchased a 1TB HDD and installed it in the second slot.

I haven't touched the folders on the SSD(Program Files, User folder, Windows folder etc.) since I read that it wasn't a very good idea. Therefore I created a new folder on my HDD called "Programs" where I installed all my software and most of my games. I also created a new library on my HDD with "Music", "Video", "Documents" and "Images" folders. I've stored all my files on the HDD since then.

The Question

If I would "Reset my PC"(the one that removes and resets everything), can I remove the HDD before reset?


I don't want to lose all my files and programs on my HDD. Since the laptop only came with a SSD I assume that I could.

If I would remove my HDD, reset my computer and put the HDD in again I assume the programs wouldn't work properly(since they're linked to Windows when installed, though correct me on this point if I'm wrong). This would be ok, though.

I would love some clearification on this. Thank you!

Best Answer

The safest course is to image all your drives, e.g. to an external HDD, before trying Reset. My own experience with a non-starting PC taught me the value of making a backup and an emergency repair USB (and CD). A number of free imaging tools are available, such as Macrium Reflect and Drive Image XML.

You probably should not remove the HDD, so that the system can recognize it after Reset, but with system images in hand, there should be less worry.

As far as programs running after Reset, any that required installation (e.g. Office) won't work correctly because their Registry settings are lost, but portable apps will still work.

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