Basic Ghost question: Are images "portable"?

          I have one specific question.

            Please consider the following scenario:

            I have an older desktop computer.  Call it HP-1.
            I Ghost (DriveImage or ASR) HP-1’s C: drive to an image file stored on an External drive.

            HP-1 is STOLEN.

            I buy a brand new Dell-2 desktop PC.

            Can I
                    A.     Restore the image onto the new Dell-2?
                    B.     Or must I acquire another HP-1?

             If the answer is B, and HP-1 can’t be replaced, the image is worthless.
             Is that exactly correct?

Thank you for answering my specific question.
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BarthaxConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can restore the image onto Dell-2 but with certain clarifications:

The Dell-2 HD needs to be of the same size or greater than the necessary capacity to take the data.
When booting after the restoration, an OEM licence of the OS may be broken as the hardware is not the original.
When booting after the restoration, if the hardware changes are significant you may run into boot problems.
When booting after the restoration & the booting process gets past the initial hardware detection, you may have a world of pain in terms of windows drivers.

End result: the image is probably worthless unless it has data on it which you need to retain.
You could Send the Image out the the DELL but it might not work because all the Hardware in the 2 machines are diffrent. (It probally wont boot).  You could then Insert your Windows Disc and Reinstall the OS overtop, just copying system files (not replacing the OS).  This should allow your new hardware to change and boot the OS.
CaseybeaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You can restore the image on the new PC, but if the hardware is substantially different, Windows will more or less have a cardiac arrest when booting the first time.     Most of the time, the system will survive this, but you may expect some problems- won't know until you try.

Your windows environment will auto-detect everything from new chipsets, and all that.    

The biggest issue I've run into (with XP) is that the "system restore" functionality of Windows causes great issues when hard drive image(s) are brought to other systems as boot drives.    The typical behavior of this is that Windows will start, get you to the initial windows logo screen, then will basically lock up at some point soon thereafter.   I *think* you can get around this by first booting into safe mode, then turning OFF system restore.    Your mileage may vary.

There isn't problems with the boot image, the behavior you will see would be as if you ripped the drive out of one system and plopped it into another system, and booted.

Cross your fingers :-)
Ouch-  Barthax points out a valid problem-  the XP license.    You may not be able to get around this without a new license.    

At the very WORST, your scenareo is that you have a useless image for BOOTING or running WINDOWS--  but your DATA is fine.   That's more important anyway.

Here's what to do to get your valued data back (assumes everything you had was on "C:")

a) Go through the ghost restore process.    Do this on your existing hard drive.  Do NOT attempt to boot.
b) Buy new XP license (sorry, Microsoft's rules, not mine).   Remove the drive you restored.
c) Install Windows on a NEW hard drive.      Later, add your second drive, the one with the image on it, as "D:"
d) Start copying data from the restored "D:" to "C:" where you want it

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