Swapping Out Hard Drive - System Reboots

Posted on 2016-10-17
Last Modified: 2016-11-22
We have a user that has gotten a receipt printer that connects to the PC via a serial cable. The PC she has doesn't have a serial connection so I was going to just give here a spare PC that does have it. Instead of having to reinstall all of her programs and configure her settings, I was wanting to just swap the hard drives. Both PCs are Dells, although not the same model, and both of the hard drives are Western Digital. The current one is a WD2500AAJS and the spare one is a WD5000AAKX. After putting the original hard drive in the new PC, it boots to the Windows 7 splash screen but freezes after a few seconds and reboots. Is there something I can do to make this hard drive work in the new PC or do I need to reinstall everything on the new PCs hard drive?
Question by:itgolfer
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41847130
was wanting to just swap the hard drives. Both PCs are Dells, although not the same model

You generally cannot do this. Try updating BIOS in the new machine to see if that facilitates the move. If not, you will likely have to reinstall.
LVL 31

Assisted Solution

by:Scott C
Scott C earned 250 total points
ID: 41847139
You are most likely going to have to re-install.

Even though both machines are Dells, they each have vastly different hardware and associated drivers.

From what you are describing, I'd guess that it is hanging on the video driver.

You could try going to the generic video driver, and try again, but there will be difference in chipset, possibly CPU, and a lot of other hardware differences.

Even if you did get it to boot, you will most likely have never ending issues with this machine.

Best solution is to backup the user's profile data and any other files she may have, install Windows 7, build the new profile and then copy the data over.

Author Comment

ID: 41847184
Thanks for the responses. That's what I was assuming but was hoping for a quicker solution.
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41847189
The only thing you can try is BIOS and possibly more drivers as we suggested. There is no other solution except for reinstalling.
LVL 15

Accepted Solution

William Fulks earned 250 total points
ID: 41847214
We have receipt printers at my work and as an alternative I might suggest getting an PCI card with a serial port on it. They are only like 15-20 bucks and would save you a lot of trouble that trying to reconfigure a machine. I would stay away from USB-to-Serial adapter cables, though - they are notoriously unreliable.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 41847347
Actually the problem you get is missing driver. Though both machines look like identical the BIOS settings of them could be different. For example one has AHCI mode enabled and its driver installed and the other one uses IDE compatible mode.
If this is so then your system will get BSOD when trying to boot from a drive which was taken from another system.
To avoid this go to BIOS and check if you can enable IDE Compatible mode. Most Windows installations have generic driver for this mode.

Author Comment

ID: 41848810
I wasn't even thinking about just getting a serial PCI card. I bought one this morning and that will fix the issue. Thanks everyone.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:William Fulks
ID: 41848941
Good deal. When it comes time to replace those receipt printers, get USB ones! :)

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