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Replacing a Windows XP Pro OS with Windows 8.1 on a 5 year old desktop?

Posted on 2015-01-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a good Dell Studio desktop working with Windows XP Professional. I want to upgrade it to Windows 8.1.
I know there is an easier way to do it, but my question is: Can I disconnect the HDD containing Windows XP, connect a new HDD and install Windows 8.1  it on this new hard disk. I have an installation media and a license.  

My plan is to  install the old HDD on another computer.
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Question by:Michael Murphy
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16 Comments
 
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Accepted Solution

by:
Sommerblink earned 125 total points
ID: 40552087
You can do a HDD swap to install Windows 8.1 on the old Dell Studio.

I would first double-check with Dell (http://support.dell.com) that they have all your drivers for your computer updated to Windows 8.1. If they haven't, then you're going to have to simply hope that Microsoft has packaged enough drivers to make things work without it.

Regarding moving the old XP HDD to another computer, if the Dell was licensed with an OEM copy of Windows, then moving the OS to another piece of hardware would invalidate that OS license. If you have a Retail license, then you're good to go.

HTH.
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LVL 19

Assisted Solution

by:helpfinder
helpfinder earned 125 total points
ID: 40552119
yes, you can put out HDD with XP and place it into another computer, but the OS probably (99,9%) wont start because OS was installed on different hardware. So this wont be possible technically and you will have to install fresh OS - with new licence key since I assume current one is OEM
for sure you can install fresh win 8.1 on the Dell machine - just check if there are drivers for 8.1, but if you do not have any specuial hardware in probably even windows update will find generic drivers to make all devices working.
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40552131
>>  I have an installation media and a license.

If it is anything like Windows 7 you should be able to install it on your new hard disk and run it without installing the serial numbers (for a limited time period).  You can use that time to ensure you have all of the relevant drivers for the machine and if happy then install the serial number.
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 125 total points
ID: 40552147
Changing the disk is always a very good option when changing the OS. That way you still have a backup of the original. Windows 8.1 should install without issues on a PC that is only 5 years old. I've only seen problems with older PC's, for example old Pentium 4 PC's where the socket was 478. With newer sockets (775) and also newer CPU's, I haven't had any issues.
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LVL 70

Assisted Solution

by:garycase
garycase earned 125 total points
ID: 40552166
Assuming this is a new enough system that it has a core architecture processor (Core 2 Duo or later) Windows 8 should install with no problem ... and it's very likely that it will already "know" about the chipset and most of the devices, so you likely don't even need any additional drivers.

Note, however, that the following is NOT correct:  "... If it is anything like Windows 7 you should be able to install it on your new hard disk and run it without installing the serial numbers (for a limited time period). "   ... Windows 8 does not allow installing without a key like Windows 7 did.
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40552206
>>  Windows 8 does not allow installing without a key like Windows 7 did.

I stand corrected.  Thank you.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Aaron
ID: 40552313
Have you thought about doing a duel boot install? Just make a partion and install it as a second bootable OS. Using two licenses on one computer might not be what you're looking at doing but didn't see anyone mention duel boot so I thought I would bring it up.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40552368
What for? If he gets a new disk he doesn't need to do dual boot.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Donald Stewart
ID: 40552396
How to Install Windows 8 without a Product Key

http://tweaks.com/windows/65179/how-to-install-windows-8-without-a-product-key/

Just saying :)
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40553198
what model is it?
you best have 4 GB ram, and more if you can
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:Aaron
ID: 40553544
@rindi in case he didn't want to get a new disk. Like I said just putting it out there.
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40553824
The link provided above for installing Win 8 without a product key requires some modification to work with 8.1

In addition, all it does is defer the requirement for a key ... so there's little real reason to go to the trouble of creating the modified ISO to do that.    It's useful if you're constantly installing/removing the OS ... for testing or other purposes (the author of the link was writing a Windows 8 book and needed to constantly re-install).

If you DO decide you want to create the modified ISO, be sure you use the v8.1 update version of the assessment and deployment kit; and Google the modifications for keyless installation of 8.1
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Author Comment

by:Michael Murphy
ID: 40554351
Windows 8.1 now installed ( successfully I hope).
Now I need to transfer Word 2007 to the new system. I have installation disk and product key. I asumes I should remove installation from the Xp disk and install it on the Windows 8 disk and then activate when prompted?
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40554860
what model desktop is it?
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LVL 70

Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 40555046
"...Now I need to transfer Word 2007 to the new system. I have installation disk and product key. I asumes I should remove installation from the Xp disk and install it on the Windows 8 disk and then activate when prompted? " ==>

It won't actually "transfer" => but the Office 2007 versions all allow multiple installs (2-3 depending on the version) ... and in fact the hardware hash will be identical to your earlier install on XP, so it won't even count as another install.     No need to uninstall it from the XP disk ... just install it on Windows 8 and it will activate fine.
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Author Comment

by:Michael Murphy
ID: 40564941
Give me the  weekend to close this
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