Help Replacing Data Drive

The system:

ASUS Sabertooth Z87 mobo (Intel Z87 Serial ATA 6.0).

C: drive = 128GB SSD, D: drive = 300GB HDD, E: drive = 1TB HDD (all discrete physical drives).

Windows 8.1 Pro.

The C: drive contains all OS and program files.

The D: drive contains data including many folders that would normally be in the C:/Users/ directory.

The E: drive is used for archival storage and local app data backups.

I want to replace the D: Drive. It’s a 6+ year old SATA 3.0 Velociraptor and I want to replace it with a new WD5000HHTZ SATA 6.0 Velociraptor. I have a USB3 > SATA docking station and don’t expect to have any trouble copying the data from the old drive to the new, but I’m a little unsure about how to actually replace the old internal drive with the new one without suffering some “drive identity” grief.

The new drive will probably be drive H: while it’s plugged into the SATA docking station and I’m copying data to it, but it needs to be recognized as drive D: when I physically replace the old internal drive with it. In an ideal world Windows would automatically do that if I use the same SATA port as the old drive is plugged into, but I seem to recall having to deal with a nightmare the last time I assumed that would happen (Intel X48 - Windows Vista).

So can anyone tell me how to do this drive swap intellegently (read: with a minimum amount of grief)? I would prefer to do it without having to play musical chairs with the drive letters after I swap the drives. I also don’t want to break Windows 8.1 because it suddenly can’t find drive D: and the folders that would normally be in C:/Users/.



Hi well if it is plugged into the same sata port as the 300 gig raptor it should work I stress should. If not you are going to have to go into disk management and right click the drive and change the drive letter and path to D  and really that only takes a few minutes. Every time I reinstall I rename one to F drive as all my play lists point to that drive and the songs folders on the drive.

Ok, here’s what happened: I cloned the drive I want to replace using the next drive letter in sequence (H). Then I swapped SATA ports for the two drives so the new drive was plugged into what was the original D drive port and the old drive was plugged into the H drive port and the new drive was still H and the old drive was still D. So I had to use the Disk Management console to swap drive letters and to err on the side of caution I restarted the sytem, and the new drive is finally my D drive.

The bottom line is once you assign a drive letter to a drive it will retain that drive letter regardless of what SATA port you plug the drive into. That’s how it works with the Z87 chipset, anyway, and it’s probably standard because my X48 board did the same thing.

The reason I was so concerned is I’ve moved many of my User folders like My Documents, Start Menu, and my Library folders from C:/Users/ to D (to reduce writes to my SSD C: drive) and I was afraid that Windows either wouldn’t let me break that connection or it would go weird on me because the OS couldn’t find those folders. But the brief period I had no D: drive didn’t seem to have any effect, however I’ll bet things would have gotten real weird if I had tried to start the computer and log on without a D drive.


Hi yes but if you had only plugged in the new drive for first boot it would have been D as that would have been the next free drive letter.