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New computer - want to install HD from old computer - will it work?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Deanster, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Hi - as several of you know, I administer a small network of mixed Windows and Macs for my company, and I just wanted to check and see if there are any surprises awaiting my plan to swap hard drives between a new and slightly older machine.

    I've got a two-year old Dell Dimension 4600 (P4 1.6Ghz) that's configured with a ton of financial software that's a giant pain to install. It's running XPproSP2, and other than the finance software, it's a stock machine.

    New machine is a Dell 9150 Pentium 820 (dual core 2.8GHz)

    Rather than re-installing and moving apps, files, etc., I'd like to just grab the hard drive out of the old machine, slap it into the new, and go forward.

    Hard drives are same type and use the same connectors, but I'm a bit concerned about Windows/Office validation, and other machine-specific items - anything I should watch out for?

    I'd do this with a Mac in a heartbeat, as I've done it many times before, but never made the attempt with a Windows machine... where all kinds of basic things that should work... don't.
     
  2. Washington D.C.

    Washington D.C.

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    It's extremely unlikely it will work.With old Windows 98 you could sort of do that but not with Windows XP SP2.
     

  3. fastvfr

    fastvfr Ancient Tech

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    Oh, sure, it can be done. I do this sort of thing all the time.

    But you will have to move files. DC is correct--the new drive's apps will not run unless the framework is installed into the operating system.

    Just do it the smart way, not the hard way.

    First, install all the programs whose info you need to use on the new OS.

    Slave in the old HDD, or have both drives on Cable Select. Make sure the new disk is readable.

    Then navigate the hard drives until you find the settings and data you made for those proggies.

    And R. click and drag from the old folders to the new folders.

    See, once the apps are installed on the OS, the .vxd and .dll files are in their proper places(well...usually) and all you need are the saved data files to make them work just like they did on the old PC.

    Just ask if you have any problems with the process, and (if GT doesn't crash again) I will do my best to help you.

    Best regards,

    Eric

    PS. The reason such things work on Macs is the fact that they are sooo dumbed down in comparison to a PC. And yes, I fix them, too.
     
  4. Blue59

    Blue59

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    There is/was a thread on the Ars Technica /Windows forum about someone who did this, and it details all that they do to get it to work. The matters with re-registration I don't know.

    I have done it a couple different times (with two different machines) but not with critical installs. I would set the video settings back down to 640 x 480/16 colors and software mode (Win won't boot without a working video display) and delete the videocard driver. Then when it asks to reboot, don't. That's when you shut down and swap the drive.

    Another good idea is to collect all the new machine's hardware drivers and copy them into directories in the root of the drive before you do teh video/pull maneuver, so that you can easily find them after it's swapped if you have to get them installed in CLI without CD support.

    [edit]
    This is if you want to use the old hard drive as the master in the new machine. If you're talking about transplanting already-installed programs to a new OS install, good luck.
    ~
     
  5. mitchshrader

    mitchshrader Deceased

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    is quite justified, but perhaps a self taught semi-pro would have a better idea how easy it is to screw this up.

    i will toss in my two bits. don't use the old hard drive in the new machine, in any mission critical configuration.

    start up a new machine with new hardware, AND.. keep the OLD hardware functional and useable as a safety net, for some time.

    i realize what you are asking, about the activation, the financial software, etc. it's a huge pain.

    it's also much safer. you won't find a better answer for redundant safety than just bloody start OVER. transfer any files after all programs installed. get the legit windows activation code, install programs from the original discs, do updates,

    and MANUALLY transfer (Do Not Network) by burning DVDs, and entering em..

    to avoid having two machines with the same serial # networked..

    in other words. No. is the safe answer. swap stuff all you want, but you do it at the (unknown size) risk of some screw up. IF you try it 'the easy way'.. HAVE BACKUPS.

    considering Driver, Security, and Compatibility issues with XP SP2, I'd STRONGLY suggest you do the install and the service pack and the motherboard drivers and video drivers and any littul thing it needs, and SECURE IT.. (no, not one program. if you think it's secure, it isn't. if you KNOW it's secure, it probably is)

    and SECURE IT!.. and THEN install any proprietary software, with a functioning machine standing by as a full backup to everything..

    and update it. fully. and test it. and THEN transfer data.

    and when all is good a month, you run a full backup of the new machine, and you can wipe the old one.
     
  6. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Thanks - kind of what I was afraid of - everything is so tied up, validated, registered, etc. that it's realistically not interchangable.

    Coming from a Mac/Unix background, the idea of non-interchangability is just baffling to me... clone a machine onto a new drive, slap the drive into a vaguely similar box, and you're good to go - seems logical, no?

    The notion that you can't take an OS, apps and data from one modern machine to another and have it work seems so... primitive.

    Each Windows machine is a hand-crafted collection of items, each tweaked so it fits with the next, like a Revolutionary war musket... I seem to remember that the idea of interchangable parts was a big step forward.

    OK - I'll just blow the half-day installing everything from scratch, then use the FAST wizard to move the data and settings. Appreciate the help!
     
  7. woettinger

    woettinger King Nothing

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    If you have XP Professional it should work. If it doesn't then follow this procedure:

    Reboot with the Windows XP disk and start setup normally, press F8
    Then it will say it found a copy or Windows.
    Press R now to repair it.
    It will install a new copy of Windows, but leave all your other programs and settings intact.

    Do not use "Recovery Console"
     
  8. nickg

    nickg

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    why not just dual boot with both drives and select whatever drive you need for the apps you're working on? i don't see any problem copying files or folders from one drive to the other if you need them on another HDD or both.