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Upgrading Hard drive

Posted on 2007-03-27
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I know Windows XP has stuff that checks your hardware configuration continuously.  I want to transfer all the data from one drive (including XP) onto another and boot from the new drive.  Will Windows XP have a problem with this?  Also, is there a way thats better to do this other than manually transferring the contents over (or is there a problem with doing it that way in the first place?)?
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Question by:raw_enha
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by:b0fh
ID: 18800360
Your boot information is stored in a hidden file (C:\boot.ini)  This file specifies which drive, what type of drive, and where on that drive, Windows lives.

If you try to migrate to a new disk, the easiest way is to upgrade to the same type of disk (IDE, SATA, SCSI) with more space.  I would image the old disk and force the image onto the newer, larger drive.

If you change the type of drive, the drive controller (primary to secondary, etc) or other parameters without properly editing the boot.ini file, you risk not being able to properly boot into Windows on the new disk.

Do you have access to a product such as Ghost, True Image, Drive Snapshot, etc?  If you do, we can try to give a more detailed answer or some links depending upon your product of choice.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18800443
I'm getting Ghost 10.  I actually just ordered it yesterday (should have it tomorrow).  I was just going to use it for back-up purposes, but if you know a way that would allow me touse it to do this, that'd be great.  I don't recall what type of hard drive it is right now.  I *believe* its IDE (i had this computer built awhile ago), but if its not extremely difficult, I would like to use a SATA drive instead.  My computer is at home (i'm at work), so I can't check on that stuff right now.
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by:b0fh
ID: 18800482
There is definitely an increase in difficulty when switching drive types, though SATA is preferable over IDE and, if you're willing to get dirty, may be worth the headache.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18801224
Well, i'm sure if you can point me to any decent set of instructions, I'd be able to follow them.  I'm pretty good with computers, but I've just never dealt with this situation before.
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by:nobus
ID: 18806251
if your motherboard supports the sata drive, you will need to include the sata drivers in the image, otherwise, windows will try to access the sata drive as an ide one...
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by:QCDTS
ID: 18806320
The unique key generated from your hardware by WIndows XP should remain valid if you swap out a limited number of components. I have put in new graphics cards and hard drives without any problems with the XP OS.
Microsoft originally designed the unique key system to invalidate on a single component swap out but I remember reading that they relaxed the restriction due to user pressure before release.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18807179
When I make the image and put it on the new hard drive, what would the actual steps be to make sure Windows boots to it correctly.  LIke, how does the boot.ini have to change and what not?  I just want to get as detailed instructions now just so I don't run into any unknowns while doing it.
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Davis McCarn earned 500 total points
ID: 18813219
1) since your system was built "a while ago", I'll bet there is no great speed boost in switching to an older SATA controller.  Further, you may have fits with some BIOS'es even getting it to boot SATA, so
2) get a new fast drive (I like Seagate's) and ERUNT to backup your registry ( http://www.computer-help.net/Best-Registry-Backup.html ). Run ERUNT to create a backup, then
3) hold down the left hand shift key while you put the Ghost CD into the CD drive to keep it from autoplaying and power down the system.
4) hook up the new drive.  The fastest place will be to use the second connector on the DVD/CD drive's cable and you can use a piece of junk mail to set it on temporarilly in the bay so things are tidy.
5) Turn it back on.  If it boots to Windows, you need to go into setup and change it so the CD drive is the first boot device.  Otherwise it will boot into Ghost and copying the drive is really quite easy.
6) Move the new drive to where the original drive was and turn it on.

Windows will detect the new drive and prompt you to reboot; but, I have done it hundreds of times with no ill effects and you will still have a complete backup on the old drive.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18815116
Would the back-up of the registry be just a precaution or will i actually have to use it?  i'd assume copying the drive would keep all the registry settings.  i'll still create the backup, but i just want to make sure i'm not actually supposed to do something with it.
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 18815569
No, the backup is precautionary; but ERUNT is a MUST HAVE anyway, and I put on every machine I touch.  Here, in Charlotte, it is now rescuing at least one client per week from a Trojan, Spyware, or something else gone awry.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18817414
Well, I'll give it a shot when I get home from work today.  Hopefully all goes according to plan ;)
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18821235
So, the HD was copied over fine (i put it in a partition, not on the entire drive).  It boots into Windows XP, but it just freezes at the blue screen with the small windows logo in the middle.  Should I re-do it and make the partition take up the entire new drive? or should i make the partition the size of the old drive? or is it something unrelated?
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18821238
could re-installing windows xp over it help at all?  i'd use recovery console but i must have been crazy and made the administrative password something i can't seem to remember.  i usually have common passwords but its none of them, so i can't use that.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18821278
just to be more detailed.

It's the blue screen thats normally the login screen, but I had it set to auto-login in, so it's normally just that blue screen with the windows logo in the middle for a second before i see my desktop.  for whatever reason now, it stops at that screen.  my mouse is there and can move around, but thats it.  i tried hitting ctrl-alt-del multipe times and had no effect.  the computer just sounds like its not even trying anymore.  i don't hear anything going on.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18821293
ok, i finally remembered the admin password so if anyone has any ideas that involve using recovery console, i'm all ears.
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by:raw_enha
ID: 18821751
after awhile i finally figured it out.  it ends up it wasn't frozen, leaving it for almost half an hour finally brought up the message about windows needing to be re-activated, so i did and it worked fine, though a new problem has arisen which i'm going to post a new question about.  thanks for your help with this though.
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by:Davis McCarn
ID: 18822581
Darn, I'm sorry about not being here to answer your issues last night.

You must have changed some other things in the past so this was the one that triggered reactivation and what is the question for your new problem?
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