Disconnecting internal drives before install


OldMainframeGuy

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Greetings. I know this has probably been discussed to death but I've read different opinions about this. If I want to do an upgrade or clean install of Windows 11, is it absolutely necessary to disconnect internal drives? My PC has two NVMe drives and two mechanical drives. I wouldn't feel too bad about disconnecting the mechanical drives but I'm loathe to try to disconnect the NVMe drives - removing screws, heatsinks, moving the GPU, etc. An opinion on this that I'd like to believe is that it's just a precaution to ensure you don't install Windows on the wrong drive. I think I can be careful enough to do that, but I've also read that Windows "might" put files on drives other than the boot drive which I wouldn't care for. Why Windows "might" do this (if it's true) is a mystery to me.

Rob
 
Windows Build/Version
Windows 10 21H2 19044.1466

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Professional
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Digital Storm VELOX
    CPU
    Intel Core i9 11900K
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME Z590-P
    Memory
    64GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer R221Q 21.5"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
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    2 x Samsung SSD 990 EVO Plus (1 TB)
    2 x Seagate ST4000NE001 (4 TB)
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    None
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    VELOX
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    Cooler Master
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    Firefox, Chrome
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    Windows Defender, Malwarebytes
I never disconnect other drives when doing a clean install and have never had a problem with files going elsewhere.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self-build
    CPU
    Intel I3-10100
    Motherboard
    MSI H410M-PRO
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GT 1030
    Sound Card
    Motherboard default
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Philips 27 inch
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung EVO 970 NVMe SSD 256 Gb
    Samsung QVO 870 SATA SSD 2 Tb
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    ATX 450W
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    Logitech
    Mouse
    Logitech Wireless
    Internet Speed
    930 Mb down / 120 Mb up
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    Edge
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    Windows Defender
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    Microsoft Office 2021 Plus
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self-build
    CPU
    Intel i3-8100
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte Z370 D3
    Memory
    16 Gb
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia GT 720
    Sound Card
    Motherboard default
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Philips 27-inch
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 960 NVMe SSD 256 Gb
    Seagate 2 Tb HDD
    PSU
    ATX 450W
    Mouse
    Logitech Wireless
    Keyboard
    Microsoft
    Internet Speed
    930 Mb down / 120 Mb up
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
It can't hurt to do it.. I don't but like I said it can't hurt.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home(Beta) - 23H2 - 22635.3212
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Banana Junior 5600- G Series
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
    Motherboard
    Asus ROG Strix B550-F
    Memory
    G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 64GB 4x16
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X
    Sound Card
    ASUS XONAR SE
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    Viotek 32", 28" ASUS VP28U
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    1080p
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    Primary SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus
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    EVGA BQ 700w 80+ Bronze
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    Zalman i3 NEO
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    ARCTIC Freezer 7 X
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    Corsair
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    Download: 295.11 mbps Upload: 65.35 mbps T-Mobile Internet
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RFS & BunnyJ - Thanks for your replies. I understand it could be done as a precaution and in fact I used to do that on my older machine "just because". This PC is too new and too expensive and I can just see myself dropping a screw into the motherboard, never to be found again. :)

Rob
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Professional
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Digital Storm VELOX
    CPU
    Intel Core i9 11900K
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME Z590-P
    Memory
    64GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer R221Q 21.5"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x Samsung SSD 990 EVO Plus (1 TB)
    2 x Seagate ST4000NE001 (4 TB)
    PSU
    None
    Case
    VELOX
    Cooling
    Cooler Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Mouse
    Kensington trackball
    Browser
    Firefox, Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, Malwarebytes
RFS & BunnyJ - Thanks for your replies. I understand it could be done as a precaution and in fact I used to do that on my older machine "just because". This PC is too new and too expensive and I can just see myself dropping a screw into the motherboard, never to be found again. :)

Rob
You should be ok to not disconnect the drives. I recently did a clean install of 11 when I got a new motherboard, etc, and the only thing I disconnected was the external drive I have.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home(Beta) - 23H2 - 22635.3212
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Banana Junior 5600- G Series
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 5 5600G
    Motherboard
    Asus ROG Strix B550-F
    Memory
    G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 64GB 4x16
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X
    Sound Card
    ASUS XONAR SE
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Viotek 32", 28" ASUS VP28U
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    Primary SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus
    PSU
    EVGA BQ 700w 80+ Bronze
    Case
    Zalman i3 NEO
    Cooling
    ARCTIC Freezer 7 X
    Keyboard
    Corsair
    Mouse
    Amazon Generic with Cord
    Internet Speed
    Download: 295.11 mbps Upload: 65.35 mbps T-Mobile Internet
    Browser
    Firefox and Edge
    Antivirus
    MS - Defender
    Other Info
    Speakers: Klipsch ProMedia 2.1
I've never disconnected drives for an install
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro Beta, 11 Dev, W11 Canary
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Alienware M15 Ryzen Edition R6
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen™ 9 5900HX
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070 8GB GDDR6
    Hard Drives
    1 x Samsung 980 Pro 1TB
    1 x Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB
A couple thoughts on the matter:

1) As noted, there is no requirement to disconnect other drives. It just helps to make sure are partitions are created on the drive you selected.

2) As an alternative to physically disconnecting drives, the BIOS on some systems will let you disable SATA / NVMe ports temporarily.

3) If you do not disconnect drives or disable ports, you could go through the installation and after you select the location to install to and proceed, press SHIFT + F10 to open a command prompt. Run "diskpart", then "select disk x" (where x is the disk number to which you started the installation), then "list partition". If all went well, you will see 4 partitions, something like this:

Image1.jpg
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1Gb Up / 1 Gb Down
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    Edge
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    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Win11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 2
    CPU
    Intel i7-1255U
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC3306-CG codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3-inch IPS Display
    Screen Resolution
    WQXGA (2560 x 1600)
    Hard Drives
    2 TB 4 x 4 NVMe SSD
    PSU
    USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 Power / Charging
    Mouse
    Buttonless Glass Precision Touchpad
    Keyboard
    Backlit, spill resistant keyboard
    Internet Speed
    1Gb Up / 1Gb Down
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    WiFi 6e / Bluetooth 5.1 / Facial Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / ToF (Time of Flight) Human Presence Sensor
I have never done that, always seemed a bit pointless to me
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware M18 R1
    CPU
    13th Gen Core i9 13900HX
    Memory
    32GB DDR5 @4800MHz 2x16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 4090HX 16GB
    Sound Card
    Nvidia HD / Realtek ALC3254
    Monitor(s) Displays
    18" QHD+
    Screen Resolution
    25660 X 1600
    Hard Drives
    C: KIOXIA (Toshiba) 2TB KXG80ZNV2T04 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
    D: KIOXIA (Toshiba) 2TB KXG80ZNV2T04 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
    Case
    Dark Metallic Moon
    Keyboard
    Alienware M Series per-key AlienFX RGB
    Mouse
    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer Killer AX1690 Wi-Fi Network Adaptor Wi-Fi 6E
    Bluetooth 5.2
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen i-9 10900 K
    Memory
    32Gb Dual Channel DDR4 @ 8843MHz
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia RTX 2080 Super
    Sound Card
    Nvidia
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Hard Drive C: Samsung 2TB SSD PM981a NVMe
    Hard Drive D:Samsung 2TB SSD 970 EVO Plus
    Mouse
    Alienware 610M
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton
I'm one of those people that, if possible, disconnect all other drives when doing a Windows install. I used to dual boot and the one time I forgot the boot partition got moved to drive D. I was thinking about dual boot this desktop, but it has an NVMe drive and I'm not going to chance damaging it. Now instead of dual booting, I use VMs.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Canary Channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
    Memory
    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SAM0A87 Samsung SAM0D32
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
    PSU
    750 Watts (62.5A)
    Case
    PowerSpec/Lian Li ATX 205
    Keyboard
    Logitech K270
    Mouse
    Logitech M185
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge and Firefox
    Antivirus
    ESET Internet Security
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Canary Channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec G156
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400 CPU @ 2.80GHz
    Motherboard
    AsusTeK Prime B360M-S
    Memory
    16 MB DDR 4-2666
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23" Speptre HDMI 75Hz
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe
    Mouse
    Logitek M185
    Keyboard
    Logitek K270
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge and Edge Canary
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
@OldMainframeGuy

1. Generally, if Windows has the room... it won't look for other locations to create certain partitions.
2. As mentioned above... BIOSes usually let you enable/disable select SATA ports or drives.
3. If unhooking the other drives is easy... go for it. It can't hurt.

Mainly though, Make sure the drive you are installing Windows to, has the room to create w/e partitions it wants.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win 11 Home ♦♦♦22631.3235 ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® [May 2020]
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
    Motherboard
    Asus Pro WS X570-ACE (BIOS 4702)
    Memory
    G.Skill (F4-3200C14D-16GTZKW)
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA RTX 2070 (08G-P4-2171-KR)
    Sound Card
    Realtek ALC1220P / ALC S1220A
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U3011 30"
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1600
    Hard Drives
    2x Samsung 860 EVO 500GB,
    WD 4TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    WD 8TB Black FZBX - SATA III,
    DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling 750W Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Cooler Master ATCS 840 Tower
    Cooling
    CM Hyper 212 EVO (push/pull)
    Keyboard
    Ducky DK9008 Shine II Blue LED
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-100
    Internet Speed
    300/300
    Browser
    Firefox (latest)
    Antivirus
    Bitdefender Internet Security
    Other Info
    Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 2.1
  • Operating System
    Windows XP Pro 32bit w/SP3
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Built by Ghot® (not in use)
    CPU
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (OC'd @ 3.2Ghz)
    Motherboard
    ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition
    Memory
    TWIN2X2048-6400C4DHX (2 x 1GB, DDR2 800)
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA 256-P2-N758-TR GeForce 8600GT SSC
    Sound Card
    Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ViewSonic G90FB Black 19" Professional (CRT)
    Screen Resolution
    up to 2048 x 1536
    Hard Drives
    WD 36GB 10,000rpm Raptor SATA
    Seagate 80GB 7200rpm SATA
    Lite-On LTR-52246S CD/RW
    Lite-On LH-18A1P CD/DVD Burner
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad EPS12V
    Case
    Generic Beige case, 80mm fans
    Cooling
    ZALMAN 9500A 92mm CPU Cooler
    Mouse
    Logitech Optical M-BT96a
    Keyboard
    Logitech Classic Keybooard 200
    Internet Speed
    300/300
    Browser
    Firefox 3.x ??
    Antivirus
    Symantec (Norton)
    Other Info
    Still assembled, still runs. Haven't turned it on for 13 years?

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?183088-5000-B-E-on-M2N32-SLI-Dlx-Overclocked&p=2891724#post2891724
A couple thoughts on the matter:

1) As noted, there is no requirement to disconnect other drives. It just helps to make sure are partitions are created on the drive you selected.

2) As an alternative to physically disconnecting drives, the BIOS on some systems will let you disable SATA / NVMe ports temporarily.

3) If you do not disconnect drives or disable ports, you could go through the installation and after you select the location to install to and proceed, press SHIFT + F10 to open a command prompt. Run "diskpart", then "select disk x" (where x is the disk number to which you started the installation), then "list partition". If all went well, you will see 4 partitions, something like this:

View attachment 18763
Ive literally just experienced this today and can now see another drive over the nvme drive with a boot sector due to the diskpart X assignment - so whilst install may not seem an issue - post install troubleshooting I would recommend disconnect hard drives, usbs and anything superfluous to the process.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 and 11 Pro (Win 11 unable to reinstall due to latest MS issue)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Scan.co.uk Custom Build
    CPU
    i7820x 4.6ghz (Currently stock speed not overclocked)
    Motherboard
    Asus x299a
    Memory
    32GB Corsair DDR4 3000 Vengeance LPX
    Graphics Card(s)
    GTX1050Ti WINDFORCE OC 4GB
    Sound Card
    RME Fireface 800
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell U2412M and HP E24 G4
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1200 + 1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    TOSHIBA HDWE140 3 TB
    Western Digital Elements 4TB
    Western Digital Elements 10TB
    Samsung SSD 970 PRO 1TB
    Samsung SSD 850 PRO 512GB
    Seagate ST2000DX002-2DV164
    Western Digital WD30EZRX-00D8PB0
    Seagate ST2000DX002-2DV164
    PSU
    750W Seasonic Focus Gold PSU
    Case
    Fractal Design Define R4
    Cooling
    Airflow
    Keyboard
    HP
    Mouse
    Logitech G5020
    Internet Speed
    250mbp/s
A couple thoughts on the matter:

1) As noted, there is no requirement to disconnect other drives. It just helps to make sure are partitions are created on the drive you selected.

2) As an alternative to physically disconnecting drives, the BIOS on some systems will let you disable SATA / NVMe ports temporarily.

3) If you do not disconnect drives or disable ports, you could go through the installation and after you select the location to install to and proceed, press SHIFT + F10 to open a command prompt. Run "diskpart", then "select disk x" (where x is the disk number to which you started the installation), then "list partition". If all went well, you will see 4 partitions, something like this:

View attachment 18763
Hsehestedt: I did check my BIOS (Asus PRIME Z-590P); there are no settings for disabling the NVMe ports; the only reference in the BIOS to the NVMe drives was to run a self-test. That would be a very handy option.

Rob
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Professional
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Digital Storm VELOX
    CPU
    Intel Core i9 11900K
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME Z590-P
    Memory
    64GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer R221Q 21.5"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x Samsung SSD 990 EVO Plus (1 TB)
    2 x Seagate ST4000NE001 (4 TB)
    PSU
    None
    Case
    VELOX
    Cooling
    Cooler Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Mouse
    Kensington trackball
    Browser
    Firefox, Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, Malwarebytes
I'm one of those people that, if possible, disconnect all other drives when doing a Windows install. I used to dual boot and the one time I forgot the boot partition got moved to drive D. I was thinking about dual boot this desktop, but it has an NVMe drive and I'm not going to chance damaging it. Now instead of dual booting, I use VMs.
I'm 100% with you on that. In retrospect, I wish I had ordered this machine with conventional SATA SSD drives. I know they don't perform as well but they're a lot easier to deal with if you have to replace one. Like you, if I want to boot another OS, I use a virtual machine (VirtualBox). Makes things so much simpler.

Rob
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Professional
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Digital Storm VELOX
    CPU
    Intel Core i9 11900K
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME Z590-P
    Memory
    64GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer R221Q 21.5"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x Samsung SSD 990 EVO Plus (1 TB)
    2 x Seagate ST4000NE001 (4 TB)
    PSU
    None
    Case
    VELOX
    Cooling
    Cooler Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Mouse
    Kensington trackball
    Browser
    Firefox, Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, Malwarebytes
I've never disconnected other drives nor disabled any in BIOS. I've installed hundreds, if not thousands of Windows OS, starting with 3.1.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Education
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
I've never disconnected other drives nor disabled any in BIOS. I've installed hundreds, if not thousands of Windows OS, starting with 3.1.
Same for me - except for one machine that doesn't cooperate. I never took the time to analyze why, and I don't even recall which partition it was, but one partition got created on a different disk than the disk I selected for Windows installation.

I think it may have to do with the fact that I previously had Windows installed on another disk that was still present in the system.

I may go back and try to recreate that scenario on that system on day, but not now.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1Gb Up / 1 Gb Down
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Win11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 2
    CPU
    Intel i7-1255U
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC3306-CG codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3-inch IPS Display
    Screen Resolution
    WQXGA (2560 x 1600)
    Hard Drives
    2 TB 4 x 4 NVMe SSD
    PSU
    USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 Power / Charging
    Mouse
    Buttonless Glass Precision Touchpad
    Keyboard
    Backlit, spill resistant keyboard
    Internet Speed
    1Gb Up / 1Gb Down
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    WiFi 6e / Bluetooth 5.1 / Facial Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / ToF (Time of Flight) Human Presence Sensor
I've never disconnected other drives nor disabled any in BIOS. I've installed hundreds, if not thousands of Windows OS, starting with 3.1.
I have the same experience, never had a problem like what is being discussed here. But with Windows Vxx, lots.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Made
    CPU
    AMD 2950X
    Motherboard
    ASRock X399 Fatality Pro
    Memory
    32gig DDR4 3600mhz
    Graphics Card(s)
    Water Cooled EVGA 3080TI Hybrid
    Sound Card
    Main Board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 27 G7 QHD - Acer Predator 27 QHD
    Screen Resolution
    QHD
    Hard Drives
    1TB Nvme Sabrent Rocket 4
    2TB Nvme Samsung 970 EVO
    2TB Nvme Samsung 980 Pro
    2TB SATA Crucial MX500
    PSU
    Seasonic 1300 Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Meshify 2xl
    Cooling
    Corsair Liquid capella Elite 150
    Keyboard
    Corsair K95
    Mouse
    Logitech G502X
    Internet Speed
    50 meg
    Antivirus
    Norton 360
I've never disconnected other drives nor disabled any in BIOS. I've installed hundreds, if not thousands of Windows OS, starting with 3.1.
I think I know why I had the problem of the boot partition moving to the other drive. I was dual booting Windows 10 and Windows 10 Insider. By disconnecting the drives when doing the install each drive had its own boot partition. I used EasyBCD in each OS to point to the boot partitions. If I remember correctly as long as I was booting to the same OS, I had been using the computer would just boot. If I switched the computer would do a restart, then boot into the build I had chosen. For whatever reason when I forgot to disconnect the drive the install recognized the boot loader on the wrong drive.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Canary Channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec B746
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-10700K
    Motherboard
    ASRock Z490 Phantom Gaming 4/ax
    Memory
    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 TI
    Sound Card
    Realtek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung SAM0A87 Samsung SAM0D32
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    NVMe WDC WDS100T2B0C-00PXH0 1TB
    Samsung SSD 860 EVO 1TB
    PSU
    750 Watts (62.5A)
    Case
    PowerSpec/Lian Li ATX 205
    Keyboard
    Logitech K270
    Mouse
    Logitech M185
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge and Firefox
    Antivirus
    ESET Internet Security
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Canary Channel
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    PowerSpec G156
    CPU
    Intel Core i5-8400 CPU @ 2.80GHz
    Motherboard
    AsusTeK Prime B360M-S
    Memory
    16 MB DDR 4-2666
    Monitor(s) Displays
    23" Speptre HDMI 75Hz
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 EVO 500GB NVMe
    Mouse
    Logitek M185
    Keyboard
    Logitek K270
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge and Edge Canary
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
One has to understand WHY it is considered necessary to disconnect a drive for a clean installation.

Suppose drive 0 has windows 10 installed in uefi mode. That drive will have an EFI partition containing the bcd boot files.

If you now decide to install Windows 11 on drive 1 (even if blank), it will install windows 11 on dtive 1 BUT will add its boot files to the EFI partition on drive 0 creating a dual boot pc

The problem is if you remove drive 0 or wipe it, you will not be able to boot drive q.

If you disconnect drive 0 first, then the installation creates an EFI partition on drive 1 and it will be independent of the drive 0 EFI.

You can then add boot entries to bcds to boot from other drive.

However, if one did not disconnect drive 0 and ended up with a dual boot option, it is a relatively simply exercise to copy EFI from drive 0 to drive 1 using appropriate partition tools.

If drive 0 as just data (no EFI) it is not necessary to disconnect drive 0 to clean install on drive 1 (or vice versa if installing on drive 0 and data is on drive 1}.

However, one needs to understand the risk of doing the above without disconnecting the data drive. You can make human error e.g. wipe data partitions during install, or install to wrong drive.

In extreme cases, crap has been known to happen and sonething goes wrong wiping data drive even though user selected correct drives etc.

So it is safer to disconnect data drives but as always, best plan is to have data (critical data at least) backed up REGARDLESS of disconnecting drive.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Cereberus: On my machine, drive 0 is my data drive and drive 1 is my OS drive so if I'm understanding your very comprehensive post properly, Windows will install properly on drive 1 and not try to modify drive 0. I'm not trying to set up a dual-boot system; I just want to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 on drive 1. And of course, everything will be backed up beforehand with Macrium Reflect.

Rob
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Professional
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Digital Storm VELOX
    CPU
    Intel Core i9 11900K
    Motherboard
    ASUS PRIME Z590-P
    Memory
    64GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer R221Q 21.5"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    2 x Samsung SSD 990 EVO Plus (1 TB)
    2 x Seagate ST4000NE001 (4 TB)
    PSU
    None
    Case
    VELOX
    Cooling
    Cooler Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech
    Mouse
    Kensington trackball
    Browser
    Firefox, Chrome
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, Malwarebytes
Never done that and never had a problem. I've never used a VM either.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom built
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
    Motherboard
    MSI B550-A Pro
    Memory
    16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200
    Graphics Card(s)
    PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 6600XT with 8GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Realtek integrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Acer Nitro 24" RG241Y 144hz refresh rate
    Screen Resolution
    1920 X 1080
    Hard Drives
    Western Digital Black SN770 1 TB NVMe SSD
    Samsung 860 QVO 1 TB SATA SSD
    Seagate Barracuda 1 TB HDD
    PSU
    LEPA B650 650 watt
    Case
    Enermax Coenus
    Cooling
    Cooler Master Hyper T4 air
    Keyboard
    CM Storm Devastator
    Mouse
    E-Blue Cobra Jr.
    Internet Speed
    100mbs
    Browser
    Microsoft Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender
    Other Info
    Optical Drives: LG DVD-RW and Pioneer BluRay/ DVD burner
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
    Motherboard
    Asus board (GA402RK)
    Memory
    16 GB Samsung DDR5-4800
    Graphics card(s)
    Integrated Radeon 680M and discrete Radeon RX 6800S with 8GB GDDR6
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek with Dolby Atmos
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Laptop screen 14" WQXGA, IPS, 120hz refresh rate
    Screen Resolution
    2560 X 1600
    Hard Drives
    1TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD (WD Black SN850)
    PSU
    Battery power and Asus power brick/adapter. Also has USB-C charging
    Case
    Laptop
    Cooling
    Laptop fans in vapor chamber
    Mouse
    Touchpad and Omoton bluetooth mouse
    Keyboard
    Built in RGB backlit
    Internet Speed
    100mbps
    Browser
    Edge Chromium
    Antivirus
    Microsoft Defender
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