Can I swap hard drives in 2 PC desktops?

By geno368
Oct 20, 2009
  1. I have a Dell Dimension 4600 with some problems. I have another newer Dell in the office that is not being used that has more resources. Both are running XP Professional. Instead of trying to re-load files and programs, can I just swap out the hard drives? Thanks.
  2. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    You can't swap HDD's unless they are both EXACTLY the same.
    What you could do however is install the HDD from your 4600 into an external enclosure and access it that way.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I think what strategic means is you can't do it unless the hardware in the computers is identical, not the hard drive itself.

    You could try it though, and then do a repair install of Windows.
  4. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    This works for me before. Swap the HDD and boot in Safe Mode.
  5. strategic

    strategic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,020

    You are correct, since the primary HDD is where the system drivers are, it's the system itself that has to be identical.

    Of course, safe mode will work fine since the drivers don't load up, but you basically have a system with limited use in safe mode, very limited.
  6. WinXPert

    WinXPert TS Guru Posts: 445

    Yes but if it boots in Safe Mode problems solved. Reboot and it will update all drivers. This also works for drives cloned with DriveImageXML*** and used on a different PC of different spec. If not I'll just do a fixboot, fixmbr and bootcfg on the Recovery Console.


    Been there done that on Intel, not successful with AMD though.

    *** I you restore let's say a 20 gig image to a 100 gig drive perform a CHKDSK on the 100 gig.
  7. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Install each drive then use your windows disk that originally installed the drive to run in R for Repair and you will be a happy camper.
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