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Swapping Hard Drive between Computers

Posted on 2003-10-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
I am running a PIII 800 Dell with 80 GIG HD (XP PRO).  Recently got my hands on a P4 2.6 GIG with 40 GIG (XP HOME).   Can I simply pull the 80 GIG out with operating system and applications still on it and put it into the P4 as master or do I have to reinstall operating system with clean intsall?  Will XP Pro be able to reconfigure for different system?  Thanks Mike.
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Question by:mikevio
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by:jhance
ID: 9633646
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by:Jonybrv
ID: 9634392
Mikevio,

The below article is a close match ;)

http://www.theeldergeek.com/move_harddrive.htm
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by:vtobusman
ID: 9635127
 Um Yes you can but you will need to do a repair install of win xp pro...
when xp pro is installed it installs the info about the motherboard during the setup and if you put the drive into another computer ou will get the blue screen hardware failure stp message thing..

simply boot to the win xp pro disk press F8 to accept the license agreement
it will ask you to repair windows or press esc to continue press esc then it will say " Detection previous operating system , from their it will say os found press r to repair...
  press r.. you will see it delete some files then start coping new files and it will even go thru windows setup again installing all of the new devices, dont worry it will not delete an programs just go thru the setup and be happy...
  1 bad thing is you will have to alll of the windows updates again :-(

  Good Luck
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ThePCSurgery earned 125 total points
ID: 9640130
I would not advise doing this: Although you may be lucky and find that Windows does manage to detect the correct drivers/components for your motherboard and other peripherals, the chances are that it will never run 'quite right'.

My advice to anyone who has a new computer and who wants to transfer their old drive, is to do the following:

1: Backup all important data on to some external media.
2: get together all the programs/disks that are needed for all apps and drivers that are on your old machine
3: backup favourites/emails/dialup details
4: install old hdd into new machine
5: Fdisk, format and reinstall windows on old Hdd in new machine
6: Et Voila! a clean install

As a side note, what I advise to all my customers is to create two partitions on their hard drive.  Store all data and important data on the second partition(it is easy to map 'my docs' to store where you specify).  This way you can swap the HDD out and change the O/s as many times as you want without haviong to worry about backing up and restoring your data all the time, you simply need to reinstall the os.

Hope This helps....


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by:asmodeusnz
ID: 9645425
Are you familiar with or have you heard of Norton Ghost?
This enables you to copy entirely from 1 HDD to another in a very short time, from 5-10 mins depending on your data size.
You will need version Ghost 7.5, but for ease of use and speed it will be quicker to use this program.
If you can get hold of it then it will make what your trying to do much easier, as you don't need to do a re-install or find any drivers at all!! See below.....

Is there any particular reason you want XP Pro?
Most users don't know the difference between XP Pro and XP home....

I would suggest that you back up any data you want to keep on your 80GB first.
Slave your 80GB with the 40GB PC, no formatting is necessary Ghost does all this for you.
Use a bootdisk to boot to DOS.
Run Ghost 7.5

Its easy to use as well, just Local, Disk to Disk and you will then simply "Ghost" your 40GB HDD to your 80GB HDD. This of course means that you will be running XP home instead of XP Pro.

Change the 80GB back to Master and you will then have an 80GB drive in your P4 2.6 and it will be running exactly the same as it was with the 40GB.

Cheers
Rodger
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by:asmodeusnz
ID: 9645488
Also, you can't really just swap the drive from one PC to another with existing operating systems.
Its not very stable (I have tried before to try to save time but in the long run a complete install of XP was needed.)
The problem is that you already have all the dell drivers and stuff on your 80GB and these simply won't be completely cleared if you just "swap' drives into your P4 2.6, different motherboards, resources, video cards, sound cards, modems, cd-roms etc....
It will be very messy and as I've mentioned before, not stable.
Also, XP Pro is very fussy, and if you do try this you might get "System Configuration has changed significantly, Please re-install Operating System", as I have when I tried to do this before....
If this happens it won't let you repair it or anything, you will need to do a complete re-install.

Cheers
Rodger
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