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Old 01-19-2007, 11:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question How to put existing HDD in new computer without reformatting?

Hello everyone,

I'm planning on building a semi-new computer soon. I'm going to buy a new Mobo, RAM and CPU and transfer over my exisiting hard drives, CD/DVD Burners and video card.

In my past experience, a hard drive loaded with Windows XP has difficulty booting smoothly when put in a new computer with all new hardware. I really, *really*, don't feel like formatting my hard drive and installing all my software all over again, so this is my plan:

Just before I transfer the hard drive to the new computer, I will install the drivers for the new mobo/chipset on to the hard drive. Then, before I shut down, I'll go to the Device Manager and remove/uninstall all the chipset drivers under "System Devices".

In theory, when the hard dirve boots up in the new computer, it'll detect the new mobo and chipset and automatically install the drivers since I installed them just before transferring to the new computer. All the other hardware will remain the same since I will only have a new mobo, RAM and CPU. So...all XP will need to do is detect and install the new chipset drivers.

Do you think it'll work? Anything else I'll need to do/try?

Of course, I'll use Norton Ghost to image my drive before I do all this.


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Old 01-20-2007, 05:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It will be interesting to see if it works. Why don't you first try not installing your new drivers and not uninstalling your old ones. Just plug in the old HD to your new mobo setup and see what happens? I don't think it would hurt anything. (Make any needed bios changes, though)

Some people recommend using the Microsoft utility Sysprep to prepare a hard drive for moving into a new system, but I'm not sure this is necessary.

Keep us informed.



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Old 01-20-2007, 05:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I forgot to say. . . probably the worst thing that will happen with either method is that you will need to do a repair installation of Windows. That is no biggie, really, and it preserves all your programs and data. Just boot from the Windows CD, install XP, and chose a Repair installation.
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Old 01-23-2007, 11:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply.

In my experience, just booting an XP hard drive into a new computer causes lots of problems.

I'd like to make the transition as smooth as possible. ON the other hand, it's only the motherboard that will be new. All other hardware will be the same (not couting CPU and RAM, since they don't require drivers. The Mobo does).

Maybe it'll work the way you suggest, but I'd rather be on the safe side.
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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it might work and it might not. so you are taking a chance if you do so. but make sure you tell us if it works or not.

MacBook 2.2GHz Santa Rosa | 120GB HDD | 4GB ram
Intel C2D E6300 @ 3.2GHz | 4GB ram | 880GB total HDD space | Gigabyte P965-DS3 | eVGA 8800GTS 640mb | Corsair HX 520 | Audigy 2 ZS platnium | Antec 900
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Old 01-23-2007, 07:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd say, it works 80% of the time.
Of which 40%-50% requires either a repair install or some reboots in safe mode.

I moved from the computer in my sig to a P2 400Mhz, to an AMD 1600+ system. Same XP install. Only minor problems.
TheMajorMMX - Intel P200 MMX @ 225Mhz - V-Tech (PcPartner) Baby-AT mb w/ Intel Triton TX chipset - Nvidia Riva TNT2 M64 w/ 16MB - 256MB M-Tec SDRAM - Still running.....
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Old 02-03-2007, 03:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hello everyone, didn't work. I tried troubleshooting it for a while, but just gave up and installed the OS from scratch. Thank goodness I did a Norton Ghost backup first!

At first, I just tried to swap all my existing hardware and just boot it up. All I got was the BSOD, even in Safe Mode. During the Safe Mode boot, it seemed to hang up just after it loaded the AGP440.sys (I think). I figured I would put a PCI video card in there and get around the AGP video card. That didn't work.

Next, I booted it all up in my old computer and did what I originally planned. I installed the motherboard drivers and uninstalled all the chipset drivers from Device Manager. I shut down the computer, swapped the components, and booted it all up in my new computer. Still didn't work. Got repeated BSOD's.

I tried taking everything out except the video card. Still no luck. I shuffled the RAM sticks around but that didn't work, either (I didn't really suspect the RAM).

The thing is, when I booted with the Windows XP CD, I never got an option to do a Repair install. I don't exactly know if I did it right, but I rebooted multple times and never found an option to do a repair install.

In the end, I just reformatted the partition and installed Windows all over again. Having the Norton Ghost program helped out as far as restoring data files and remembering all the programs I had installed.

Old Computer:
Modified Compaq EVO D300
P4 1.7Ghz / 400 FSB
768MB PC133 RAM
Nvidia Ti4200 128MB card
WD 120GB Primary Drive
WD 320GB Secondary / Backup Drive (for data/music/pics)

"New" computer (not really new, just improved from my old one):

P4 2.8Ghz / 533 FSB
Intel D865PERL-L mobo (with onboard LAN/Audio)
1GB Corsair DDR-400 RAM (running at 333MHZ)
Rosewill Case / Rosewill 400W P.S.
Nvidia Ti4200 128MB card
WD 120GB Primary Drive
WD 320GB Secondary / Backup Drive (for data/music/pics)

A solid improvement over the old computer. I'm not as much of a gamer as I used to be. I mostly play Return to Castle Wolfenstein Multiplayer. I don't have any cutting-edge games that require tons of horsepower. I mostly do Photoshop and light gaming.

For a measly $250, I think I got a pretty decent upgrade.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Viken K.

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