I panicked yesterday thinking I was having a hard disk failure when I heard some clicking, so I stuck in a new hard drive and installed Windows 7 on it, then spent the rest of the day downloading and installing all the updates and drivers. As it turned out, I don't have a failing hard disk, the clicking I heard was from a failing DVD writer, and now I have this 2nd hard disk that's got Windows 7 on it. I haven't activated the license yet, and I'm wondering should I reformat it to "delete" Windows 7 on it, thereby sparing my activation key, and then I could just clone my drive to it if I fear drive failure in the future?
Also, this new drive I got is a 3TB SATA drive, and my old drive is 2TB, and I wasn't aware of the issue Windows has with reading anything larger than 2TB. I was able to find an article on how to set up a drive so that Windows will read and access all 3 TBs, but now I'm wondering if Windows will insist that I need 2TB of space to clone a drive that is only using 300GB of space? My thought is to allocate 1TB for one partition, and 2TB for another, and I was thinking to use the 1TB for the clone, and the 2TB for storage. Will this work?
(And why am I not just backing up the drive instead of cloning? That's because in my limited knowledge, I think it's the only way to preserve the software that I no longer have installation disks or activation keys for)