One Hard Drive Changable Across Two Computers

Posted on 2012-08-20
Last Modified: 2012-08-27
Dear Experts,

I have a strange request but there is a logical reason ot it. My cusomter has a number of workstations connected together on a closed LAN which run 24/7. He has a couple of spare workstations as well so that he can swap out any that go faulty. All the workstations are fitted with disk caddies and there is a spare disk for each workstation. Obviously system availability is the key factor in the overall design architecture.

Until recently we have not had any problems in supporting him. However I had to source a new mobo to repair a faulty workstation. The new mobo is different from all the others because of obsolesence reasons. It has a different built -in mass storage controller and because of this none of the other hard drives will work in it even though they are all runing identical operationg systems and runtime applications. They only differ by their IP address. when I insert a disk with the new mobo controller installed it will boot to the Windows XP boot screen and then restart back to the BIOS screen. It continues this cycle uninterrupted.

This now gives me a big headache because I can no longer pick up any spare workstation disks and run it in any workstation. Neither can I have a spare workstation that can replace any faulty one unless I keep a hard drive for every different condition. Remeber each hard drive is the same except for the IP address.

My question is this. Can I have a single disk that will run accross two different motherboards where each mobo has a different mass storage controller?
Question by:Elisys
    LVL 20

    Expert Comment

    if you use a program like storage craft shadow protect you can do a hardware independant restore, and similarly a fix from HIR, which will insert the correct ass storage drivers into the OS and allow you to boot.

    I am guessing that other software has this feature probably in acronis as well.
    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    Get a copy of Paragon Backup & Recover Home download its Boot Media Builder and create a WinPE boot CD.
    Connect the drive to new machine - boot this machine from this WinPE - and there start P2P Adjust OS wizard. It will find the OS and adjust it to new hardware. If it needs driver - it will ask for driver CD of new hardware. Apply changes and restart to Windows.
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    I think this is because you don't have the correct driver on the image.

    You could try this:

    In one of the old machines, install the necessary drivers for the new hardware (i.e. the hard disk controller) - hopefully you won't get the stupid "This machine does not have the necessary hardware to install this driver" error.

    Once you've installed the driver move the hard drive to the new PC.

    It should find the driver and boot correctly.  You should also be able to move it back to the older machines, and still be able to boot it.
    LVL 95

    Expert Comment

    by:Lee W, MVP
    You face a licensing problem first as you may not be licensed to do this (especially in replacing the faulty board with a board that doesn't match the original in make/model (revision is PROBABLY OK, but make model changes are not with OEM).  

    If you have volume licenses, then you're ok licensing wise, but if you want to do this seemlessly, you'd be better off getting Windows 7 based systems (or Win8 shortly) as these face far less problems when changing hardware (XP was not very good at it).  

    Otherwise, you can third party software that allows hardware independent restores, but that's not really a fix for what you're trying to do, I don't think.  The only other option is to re-evaluate the setup.  If workstation uptime is that critical, then perhaps you should considered clustered RDP servers in a virtual environment or even VDI.  And along with those options, you can re-evalute why the workstations are so vital - a properly designed network (in my opinion) doesn't care about the workstations (in most cases) because all files of importance are stored in a central location (server) and the systems have images that can be deployed in 15 minutes to a workstation.
    LVL 77

    Expert Comment

    by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
    in the new computers try setting the bios hard drive options to ide or compatible (not sata or raid) and see if that will get you past this hump..

    be glad you're not getting hall.dll errors..
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    Read this blog post about moving a hard drive or hard drive image to a different motherboard:

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