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nuking the OS, feels so good!

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I have a new Dell with XP Pro on it, but the HD doesnt give me much elbow room. I have a bigger internal drive in the old machine that I can take out and set up as an external drive to the Dell, but it won't physically fit inside the Dell. As a standalone drive, the older one boots into XP Home. To get the most use out of it, I want to remove the OS so that it will just be a slave drive that I can store pics and music on. It already has tons of these kinds of files on it, so I really don't want to have to format and reload - don't have any way to back up all those files anyway.

So -

My first idea was to boot the Dell, then connect the old drive via USB and just nuke the Windows folder and anything else that looks OS-related. I kinda don't think that will really work, for all kinds of reasons, starting with a probable freeze when it tries to spin up, all the way to questions about how the XP Pro is going to get some kind of map of what's on the old drive. From one angle, it seems it should be really simple - and from another angle, it seems impossible.

If anyone has done anything like this, it would sure be nice to get some pointers on what to watch out for and how to make it as painless as possible. As far as available resources, besides the 2 computers, I also have an external HD that has about half the capacity of the drive I want to convert. I also have Acronis True Image software, which let me create an image of the XP Pro system that I can load onto the external drive to make it bootable - if the old machine will let me boot that way, which I haven't tried. The old machine can be booted from CD but I haven't yet gone down the road of thinking about how to make a bootable CD or how exactly I would use it if I had one.

Any ideas or comments?
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Just plug the drive in and delete:
  • Windows folder.
  • Program Files if you want to. Make sure that the programs don't store data inside their folders before deleting.
  • In the drive you can find two hidden files: pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys. Delete them.
  • Do not touch Documents and Settings if you don't want to nuke your data inside.
  • Even if you have deleted Windows in your bigger drive, the underlying file system still remains, and it should work when connected to your new PC.

You can find all your data in Documents and Settings\[user name]. You can move them into the drive root itself if you want to. There are several hidden folder inside with program data, so be careful. If you want to retrieve data from those folders, tell us.

You might have to take ownership of the new drive if you want to write into it. See here for how to:
You need Full Control over the drive to use it as a data drive.
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