Installed old hard drive in different computer

By pandaz · 29 replies
Mar 1, 2009
  1. I took my hard drive out of my old computer and stuck it in my newer one. Took my brother's hard drive out of his computer and stuck it in my old one because it was faster than his. Now it will not boot up it goes to this screen:

    I've selected all the options and all it does is reboot and go to the same screen. I can't reinstall because it didn't come with software. I don't remember were I put the recovery discs I had to make either.

    I didn't change the jumper setting on the hard drive. My old computer is similar to his just a different model and newer than his, both are Compaq Presario SR1303WM (my brother's) and SR141NX (my old one). Please help, I didn't back up any of his files. Only thing he had on there were pictures but still they were pictures from his vacation and other outings.
  2. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    You have to re-install the operating system or do a repair install to keep the application and files.

    The operating system installed on both systems was setup based on their configuration, that is what happens when you install Windows, it sets itself up on the hard drive based on the hardware,

    In some cases, where chipsets or motherboards are same or similar Windows will boot but goes crazy with all the new hardware changes and tries to install the new ones in which case there would be lots of left over and stuff. But In your case, the chipsets and other hardware are so different that it doesn't even load Windows which is no surprise.

    I know the SR1303WM is AMD based but the other didn't come up, may be you missed a number or something.

    You might be able to select Safe Mode to get in in order to copy some files if you can but I don't recommend it since even at that point, some information will be changed and once you put the hard drive back in the other system, that one might not load now.

    EDIT: If the other one is Presario SR1410NX, it is Intel based, so again, no surprise it does not load. You need to get an OS CD based on the type found on the sticker attached to your case (COA with the product key) and then either install a fresh copy or do a repair install.

    To get the pics, you can slave the hard drive to a working system and pull them out. If the documents folder was made private, you have to take ownership of that folder or you get "Access Denied"
  3. pandaz

    pandaz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah I missed a number its SR1410NX. I couldn't get into Safe Mode, it just rebooted back to that same screen.

    Dang, I was hoping not to re-install. My brother doesn't do back ups so all his pictures are gone. Oh well. Thank you for your help anyway. I didn't know it would do that.
  4. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    You can still get the pictures and any other files by connecting the hard drive to a working computer, you can disconnect the CD-ROM in the other system and connect the hard drive in place of it temporarily then boot up, copy the pictures over, turn OFF, put the drives back and then install.
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164


    Hi, Pandaz,
    I recently needed to do the same thing, but I knew that windows "marries" the hardware that it is installed to. Rage_3K_Moiz turned me on to this microsoft program that strips the hardware identifiers so it can be moved to a different machine. it will boot up as a first time run of the OS and you will have to register XP again within 30 days. it worked wonderfully for me,no problems at all. here is the link.
  6. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    You cannot use windows loaded and configured for one system to another. 1. It's illegal 2. It's won't work - windows configures itself uniquely for each system it is loaded onto.
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Well sadly that's the worst idea to tell someone, so hopefully you mis-quoted Rage_3K_Moiz or something?

    Sharam has advised correctly, you need to run a Repair on Windows in this situation and that's all.
    Note: running a Repair on Windows will also ask you to put the valid product key back in. This product key cannot be OEM (ie the same key that came from another manufacture box) It must be fully valid legal product key. (ie Tedster's reply)

    Here's some links that I quote for Repair installs, use the appropriate one for you.

    Microsoft's Windows XP Professional Repair Install step by step

    Microsoft's Windows XP Home Repair Install step by step


    Microsoft's Windows XP Professional Repair Install step by step (* Including Delete Partition)

    Microsoft's Windows XP Home Repair Install step by step (* Including Delete Partition)

    * Warning deleting the Partition will remove all User data and Windows system files


    Vista Repair: (index page) (guide)
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Maybe I missed something here, but why don't you just put the drives back in the computers they are from? You only said you did the swap because one was faster.

    Normally I wouldn't say something that has been covered by everyone else, but I can't pass this one up. You simply can't take a drive from another computer and boot a different computer with it. Now you can sometimes get away with it if you do some preparing first or the hardware is extremely similar, but its rarely a pretty process, and I'm sure its not legal. I don't understand how people think this will work or why it is a good idea. It is a terrible idea, and should never be done.
  9. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655

    Rage_3K_Moiz's advice is correct and legit as this is not a second copy but the original and as he said requires a call to M$ to reactivate.

    The correct and best way is as Sharam pointed out a Repair install.

    One tip for others that may want to do this (move HD to another computer).
    To make the transition smother (even with a Repair install) and perhaps in some cases with very similar HW eliminate the necessity of a Repair install is the below.

    Boot to Safe Mode only open device mgr and uninstall all possible HW except std M$ items like mouse and keyboards. Including Video controllers, Disk and CD controllers, Audio Disk controllers Ethernet adapters etc. Then Shutdown before any HW detection. Remove the HD switch and and try boot to Safe Mode in the new computer, if it will boot to safe Mode then a Repair install may not be nessesary so boot to normal and the HW wizard will begin installing new HW.

    It is very likely that even with this procedure the OS will have to be reactivated.

  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yes I'd say highly likely with all the new hardware going on
    Also removing the PCI Bridge is usually all that's needed

    But again the best approach (stated clearly across the net) is Repair

    As for the "correct and legit" part, no it isn't. The key belongs to the box it came from and that's that. Unless you are allowed to do a transfer with MS, which is usually ok, as long as it's not OEM. eg you can't use a Dell key on a HP computer
  11. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    I did not want to advise this initially but just for information purposes, removing ENUM entries from the Registry (including all sub keys) before drive change removes all installed hardware. allowing Windows to load. Probably best done after manually removing devices from the Device Manager.


    There is one or more instances of ENUM (HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG) is one.

    But this, leaves a big mess in the Registry as well as Windows directory and not recommended for all users!
  12. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    well your both wrong, i paid for my copy and you can move your copy, not duplicate it but move it. 2) it will work, and it did work. 3) it did ask for my key, i entered it, and it re-registered it. so unless the folks at Microsoft dont know what they are talking about it seems you all are wrong.

    ****** by (all) i meant Kim and Ted who were appearing when i posted. furthermore, thats what sysprep is for. i can only speak for me, however done properly, it worked flawlessly and seamlessly as I moved my HDD from my old build to my new rig. and lastly, thats why i linked Pandaz to the page I did. to read how it is done,what applications and circumstances it is to be used under, and the hardware criteria that needs to be meet.
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Go read: Requirements for running the Sysprep tool (note: I'm working off your provided link)

    Sysprep is designed for identical (or close to identical) hardware machines. I'd say "old" and "new" don't fall into that category ;)

    Removed some not required text
  14. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Yes Kim,
    i read it thoroughly before i used it successfully. I fail to see your point. yes! its the information and instruction page. why do you think I sent Pandaz a link to it!? .....all together now, so Pandaz could read up on it to see if it fit the bill for his/her needs, so again, whats your point? and you are wrong. it fit my need and worked flawlessly for me, and was not a "terrible" idea (which you seem to completely ignore) so once again, i pointed Pandaz to the requirement and information Pandaz could see if this was the correct solution for him, not to the download page.

    Oh,to quote "The sooner you admit it"...that's not only arrogant, its petty
  15. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Please contact Rage_3K_Moiz and ask him to comment here. Specifically concerning pandaz, not you. I've used Sysprep a thousand times, and you have used it successfully too - this is irrelevant. The point was you "pointed" pandaz to it, when in this case that would be wrong. But hey Rage_3K_Moiz might think the same as you, who knows stranger things have happened.

    The petty part I agree with, I'll remove that, it was written partly in jest :p
  16. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Stranger things have happened? thats cold, I disagree that giving someone the information is wrong, if its the correct application, its a great tool. as a matter of fact, i started looking for a different tool specifically because I have had one hell of a time using repair when changing hardware, and genuine advantage came along. I have used this twice in the last week, once on my new build and once on a friends new build,and both with seamless success. but the criteria was met to do this .if you you look at the history of my threads,(and I know you have:) they almost always admonish that they should "educate" and or "read up" on this stuff before they dive in. that seem like a no-brainer to me, but thats just me maybe. oh yeah. :p I will get Rage to weigh in
    oh BTW, Avira is great!
  17. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    I am trying to educate you !

    So this is where you say: oh in this case I (meaning you) may have been wrong
    But live and learn
  18. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    red1776, since pandaz hasn't replied we can only assume from his post that the other system is unavailable or not in a working state in which case, he can not run the utility.

    We only use Sysprep to do exactly what the article says, recently got 25 identical end of lease IBMs, I Installed XP based on the COA on one, did all drivers and updates then used Sysprep to seal it, this has more to do with Security Certificate since the first system was installed using it's product key. Then I clone the other hard drives and the customer who purchases the unit, gets greeted by "Thank you for purchasing ...." then proceeds to customize the installation with username, regional info, product key and the rest which is passed the device detection stage. I only use Seal and nothing else unless it is our own build with support information and logo. Repair install which I don't always recommend, goes beyond sysprep's mini setup which is different than just using seal.

    I have my own made install image I use for trouble shooting that works on any system, sysprep was not used.

    The EULA talks about transferring and a lot more.

    When you call to re-activate your installation and answer the main 4 questions they usually take your word as to the reason why major hardware or the whole system has changed and give you the numbers to re-activate (you are always transferred to a live person after the automatic attendant raises the red flag in such cases) but this does not change the EULA and term of use issued by MS which everyone else is trying to convey here.

    The Sysprep utility was not designed to move an installation from one system to another system with completely different hardware, it would be a good idea if you could at least provide steps for him to follow, that article does not clearly state how to use it in the situation here, give him step by step instructions and he can deal with MS when he calls to re-activate, that is the main point here, MS employees have the power and are authorized to make this decision and often do approve even though it is against the EULA and term of use created by the management few levels above them.

    Sites such as TechSpot have to adhere to these rules for their own protection, no one else can make that decision but the site's owner.
  19. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hey Sharam,
    Im going to have to take your word for this, and I will. I have had nothing but a hard time using repair for transfering a OS to new hardware,thusly I looked for an alternative. I contacted MS before using sysprep because i was concerned about the (re-registration) and 'geniune advantage' process. so if you are telling me that i happen to get the 'rogue' customer service person at MS ok that's one thing and I accept that, and knowing that would not recommend it any longer. My only point is that for the right application it does indeed work as it has for me. so i will take you at your word and say thank you for it. what i don't agree with is that pointing people to information is wrong. the computer owner has personal responsibility in being informed as to weather offered advice is right for their situation before taking action. lets face it,any info and or advice offered on here can result in an expensive paper wieght if misused or misapplied. as far as pandaz goes Sharam, I do not know if this is the correct solution for him. i wanted him to look at the information first,thus the link to the support page.
  20. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Originally Posted by Tedster View Post
    You cannot use windows loaded and configured for one system to another.

    Originally Posted by SNGX1275 View Post
    You simply can't take a drive from another computer and boot a different computer with it. Now you can sometimes get away with it if you do some preparing first or the hardware is extremely similar.

    Come on Kim.......these are irrelevant.(not the people, but the quotes in relation to your point) they are talking about simply unplugging a HDD, and just plugging it into another system...well Duh! the discussion is about what prep needs to be done because you cannot do that.
    lets keep this intellectually honest.
  21. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    I never asked you to stop recommending the use of Sysprep deployment tool, now, Deploy could be defined in many different ways one of which is "To come into a position ready for use", For the release purpose, quoting Wiki, "Deployment implies moving a product from a temporary or development state to a permanent or desired state"; I also never said anything about not believing you but did suggest providing steps or a little more explanation based on the original poster's text which shows his understanding of the whole picture and his ability to use the tool, you explained why you didn't and I respect that.

    You did state the need to contact MS and re-activate which is important and needs to be pointed out, again, you did. Now, I am interested to have more detail when you said someone from MS suggested use off Sysprep to change platforms. Not asking you to prove anything, just plain interest.

    We get many systems just for upgrade or repair, I am the one who calls MS to re-activate on behalf of the customer, I never lie and explain what happened, what was changed, every single time I get a code to enter and sometimes the person even says, we hope you didn't loose important data after apologizing! This is "against" the EULA in case of an upgrade! Most of us if not all, never read the EULA and just press F8, but I have read it more than once just to make time go by faster and for self amusement sitting there with no work to do or waiting on a process to finish.

    Did you know that:

    "You may not rent, lease, or lend your computer (including laptops) to anyone once it has Windows XP Home on it."
    "If you share files or printers with other computers in your house, you are not allowed to share with more than 5 other computers."
    "Microsoft is not liable even if they break the terms of this agreement."
    "Microsoft assures you that Windows XP Home will work correctly for the first 90 days. They do not assure you that Windows XP Home or any “service packs” or “hot fixes” will work correctly after this time."
    "You can install win xp home on second computer, as long as you delete the other installation"
    Then there is this:
    "If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created and the license of new operating system software is required."

    Most of this can be interpreted in different ways, but the wording "new license required" which the re-activation basically creates, satisfies the requirement, or does it? How many people do you think will read it that way if they read it at all?

    BTW, this was from my old text and mainly for XP Home, haven't read the EULA recently, I merged paragraphs and killed spaces to make this shorter :)
  22. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You mean a second Harddrive of course ;)
    Pretty sure second Partition is ok though
    But a second computer, I don't think so (without transfer of owner and key)
  23. Sharam

    Sharam TS Rookie Posts: 509

    That was the exact wording, why I used "" but as I mentioned couple years or more back, haven't read the EULA lately.

    Now you guys making me itch to read it on my next install, LOL
  24. pandaz

    pandaz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks everyone for your help. Sorry I never posted back, been busy doing other things. I put the hard drive back in the old computer and all is good. Saved all the files and will do the change later on. Don't have the time at the moment, so my brother can just deal with the slowness.
  25. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hey Sharam, i think you misunderstood me. i contacted MS prior to using sysprep because i was concerned about re-registration. all i did upon completion was follow the prompts and enter my key, it re-registered me and never asked me to call or give any further explanation. i have done it three times over the last month, all three worked that way.
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