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Moving Hard Drive from One Desktop System to Another

Posted on 2006-03-25
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I have a desktop that I mainly use for surfing the Internet.  It is a Compaq Desktop Pro system with PII 400 CPU running Win XP Pro OS.

I want to move the main (and the only) hard drive from this system to another desktop system, Dell Dimension L733r with PIII 700 CPU.  This Dell system does not have any hard drive at all.

What is the best way to move the hard drive?  Can I simply take the hard drive from Compaq system and install it in the Dell system?  Will the Dell system boot with Win XP Pro OS already installed in the hard drive?
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Question by:zz00z0
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garycase earned 672 total points
ID: 16292120
There are several issues involved here:

(1)  If you simply move the hard drive it MAY boot (with a lot of redetection), but it's not near as good as doing a clean install on the new system.   If it does boot, a Repair install would fix all of the system incompatibilities.

(2)  XP will for sure require re-activation, since the hardware's so much different; and the on-line activation will almost certainly not work; so you'll have to call Microsoft.  They are unlikely to consider this a valid license (a system licensed for a Compaq is tied to that system -- and is not a valid license for the Dell), so won't give you an activation key.   So the system won't work.

(3)  The hard drive itself will present no problems -- just move it to the Dell system.   But you'll need to install a valid copy of Windows on that system.
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by:maramom
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Just a note: If the XP OS is a retail version and not OEM version, there will be no problem re-activating when transferring to another system.
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by:garycase
ID: 16292289
maramom is correct -- if the version of XP on the Compaq is a retail boxed version then you won't have any problem re-activating.   It may still require a phone call, but you'll have no problem getting a new activation key.
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by:maramom
ID: 16292311
--- I'm guessing that a Compaq Desktop Pro system with PII 400 CPU wouldn't normally come with XP OEM installed, more likely Windows 98.
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by:garycase
ID: 16292369
... I'd agree.   But Compaq did send out upgrade notices to owners, and if a Compaq OEM upgrade was used then the system won't have a license that will transfer to another system.
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by:garycase
ID: 16292375
... the only way to really tell is move it & make the phone call.   The telephone activation center doesn't always enforce the licensing restrictions -- they tend to err on the side of the customer (which is good).
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by:nobus
nobus earned 664 total points
ID: 16293053
Look here for how to do it :

http://65.24.134.81/KipSolutions/MovingXPNewMotherboard/MovingXP.htm      move XP to other mobo
http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;nl;314070                       "     "     "    "      "   
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by:zz00z0
ID: 16293602
garycase, maramom, nobus,

Thanks.  A retail version of XP had been installed on the Compaq desktop.
It sounds like I would have to (or it is highly recommanded that I) do a clean install on the Dell (target) desktop system.

I guess I should do a backup of the hard drive before the move.  I was going to use XP's File and Settings Transfer Wizard.  Would this be sufficient?
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by:nobus
ID: 16293676
Yes, although i prefer the old style : copying by hand waht i need , so i am sure about the transferred data.
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by:garycase
ID: 16294394
Yes, before you move the drive you should absolutely backup all of your data.  Don't forget e-mail, favorites, data from programs that don't use My Documents (Quicken, for example), etc.   The safest thing to do is image the drive -- that way you can get to ANYTHING you might have forgotten if ever necessary (or even completely restore the drive).

Since you have a retail version of XP, you can do either of the following:

(1)  Easiest.    Just move the drive to the new system.   Boot to the XP CD and do a Repair installation.   This will keep all of your programs & data intact.  You can, of course, try this 1st if you want -- in most cases a repair install will work just fine.   You might want to read this: http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

(2)  Best.  Move the drive to the new system.  Boot to the XP CD, delete the current partitions, and do a clean install of XP.   Then update it (w/Windows Update), and then install your programs and restore your data.
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by:zz00z0
ID: 16296408
garycase:

What program do you recommand for imaging HD?  How is it better than just using XP's File and Settings Transfer Wizard?
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by:zz00z0
ID: 16296428
There are two accounts in the desktop.  Both have admin level permissions.  Do I have to run either XP's File and Settings Transfer Wizard or other backup software after logging into each accounts?
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by:garycase
ID: 16296509
An "image" is like a snapshot of the exact state of the drive.   Files and Settings transfer transfers exactly what it says -- but doesn't save the system state, the OS, etc.

You're unlikely to ever use an image -- since it's going to be on a different system.   BUT the image would absolutely have EVERYTHING -- so no matter what you might forget it would be recoverable.

I like Boot-It NG for imaging, partition management, and boot management.   It's got an interface that's a bit "geeky" -- but it's a very straightforward, to-the-task little utility, and very reasonably priced.   In fact, for what you might want to do (just image your partition before "messing" with it), the free demo download is all you need.   www.bootitng.com   See my comments on it here for an idea of how to create an image:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Microsoft_Network/Q_21549976.html

Do you have a 2nd hard drive you can store the image on?   Boot-It will also create the image on CDs, but if your drive is close to full that could take quite a few blanks.

Since you have a retail XP CD, I would (a) make an image; and then (b) do the "Easiest" (#1) method I listed above.
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by:zz00z0
ID: 16407489
I apologize for taking long time to respond.  I will be trying all recommandations, will get back.

Thanks for your patience.
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by:zz00z0
ID: 16636056
Sorry about the inactivity.  I do plan to follow up.
Just had really really bad month.

Can you keep this question up until this weekend?

Thanks
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