Move Harddrive to new pc AS-IS

By Menekali
Aug 16, 2007
  1. I'm working on a few computers here at the office (I work at a lawfirm) and we need to get some of our computers replaced. Without worrying about whether they're sata or whatnot, I need to just get the harddrives over into the new computers, AS IS. No lose of data, I want the programs to link properly, everything. We've got alot of legal programs, and files that need to be exactly as they are.

    What's the best way of doing this?
  2. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    There are two reasons this will be difficult, assuming your computers are running Windows 2000 or XP:
    1. The new computer must have identical or very, very similar hardware (same system board chipset)
    2. Windows activation will require reactivation on the new system, which you will need to call up MS and explain the situation to them.
    Is it possible, but will require some effort on your part. Once you transfer your old drive (or clone the data) to the new computer, try it. There's a 95% likelyhood it won't, but it is worth a shot. Once it fails, you can perform a system repair. The details are here. Please realize that you will need an original Windows 2000/XP CD that matches the version of Windows installed on your computer (eg. Windows XP Home OEM is different than Windows XP Home Upgrade as well as different than Home Retail and of course different than XP Pro etc...). Some manufacturer discs will not work because the use a customer installer (Sony, to name one) which do not allow the repair process to be done. Chances are, you will need a Windows XP Home OEM or Pro OEM disc, if you're using the original installation of Windows from the manufacturer.

    So, with all that mess out of the way, you'll basically be reinstalling Windows 2000/XP over itself, but it will retain your settings and the majority of your configuration. Once you manage to get the system to boot, you'll need to call the MS activation hotline and activate your Windows. Tell them you've upgraded your system and only one copy is in use (do so only if the old computers are getting thrown in the trash or will be using different OS software).

    All in all, it doesn't sound like what you want exactly, but it is the only way to get it done... done well, that is.

    Even this is not 100% though, as there's also going to be some issues. You'll probably need to reinstall Office and other suites that integrate into Windows because they'll no longer run properly... You'll need to run Windows Update your computers again because all Windows Updates will be lost etc.. But your data will be there. Some system settings can be 'reset', as such I've had network adapters with customized network setups reset and so on.
  3. Menekali

    Menekali TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok Thanks I'll be looking into all of that.

    Now say also, I just bought a fresh copy of Windows XP, and tried using that file transfer wizard. Isn't that the exact point of that application, to create baiscally everything on an old computer, and another installation of windows, and put it into a new box, and a new installation of windows? How does that work out exactly?
  4. Menekali

    Menekali TS Rookie Topic Starter

    TTT for this question here.
  5. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    just like it is stated, once u install the new windows on the new hard drive u can install the old hard drive in the computer and drag files to the new installation and everything u need will be there, now if it is a program it will have to be reinstalled to work.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,145   +597

    the bottom like will be the REINSTALL of all the programs, as the registry was
    rebuilt during the reinstall of XP.

    You might consider using GHOST to clone the original system(s), but will then
    need to purchase new licenses for each from Microsoft.
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