Moving 1 HDD to another computer to have dual HDDs, keeping the files?

By CJ-real ยท 5 replies
Feb 13, 2008
  1. Hi,

    I have a hard drive on a new computer with vista on it, and want to move it to another computer which has XP and all my files on it. Can I make the one with vista my main HDD, and then use the other HDD for all my files?

    Will the HDD still have vista on it if I put it in the other computer, and the same with the other hard drive?

    They are SATA, and the XP computer with all my files has 3 more spaces.

    Is this possible?

  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yes, But...

    The problem when installing a hard drive with Windows on it to another computer, is that all the drivers will need to be installed (ie another computer -different Sound; Video; CPU...)

    Now that last one above, CPU that's really the critical one.
    If both computers have exactly the same Processor slot on the motherboard then go right ahead.

    BUT if you are plugging in the Windows harddrive to another computer with a different CPU chipset, that means you may get one of two possibilities:
    1. Won't Boot
    2. Won't Boot, and destroys file system (and possible data)

    Hmm, that 2nd one doesn't sound good!

    What you will need to do is a Windows Repair, before the computer starts up. This will allow Windows to work properly on the other computer.

    Obviously the Windows CD and COA product key required. (Activation imminent too)

    Also make sure to BackUp First
  3. CJ-real

    CJ-real TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 56

    What if i keep the vista HDD as the main one and put the other one in as the secondry
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    The slave doesn't matter

    You can make any drive the Slave, even if it has Windows, or is fully formatted
    It won't matter

    You can safely plug any drive in as Slave, but make sure the computer doesn't try to start it, as the main drive (go to CMOS) to confirm boot order
  5. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    which files to del from slave?

    in this situation, once everything is working, he evantually would want to delete any files that might initaite a boot from the slave - because if the master failed one day, the computer would begin going dow nthe chain of boot devices looking for something to boot from - and would find those files on the slave.

    would he simply need to delete one file off the slave, such as config.sys? or more files? (i am asking out of general curiousity).
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    That's true, it is possible that the slave could boot, if (in this case) the Vista boot became corrupted.

    You could remove (or rename) one file on the Xp Slave.
    Search the Slave (in Vista Windows - searching the slave Xp drive) for boot.ini
    You will need to include hidden and system files in your extended search.
    (Actually it's just on D:\boot.ini - assuming D drive is the slave)
    The rename it to Boot.OLD

    That way, the Xp can boot, but it will never start Windows Xp
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