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Moving HDD to new computer without reformating

By Jacobi ยท 10 replies
Feb 1, 2006
  1. Alright, I'm in the process of getting the parts to build a new PC. I currently use a Dell Dimension 8250, and as part of my new system, I want to take my current Hard Drive out of my Dell and put it into the new PC with its current copy of Windows XP, all of its data, etc. My question is, if I take the necessary steps to configure the HDD for the new motherboard that is in my new system, will everything simply work? Or will the Hard Drive recognize it is no longer in a Dell system and refuse to boot Windows?

    Basically, I'm wondering if Dell made it so that the copy of windows on my HDD will detect if the computer its in is still a Dell.
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Someone may have a workaround for this, but I think you are going to run into some problems trying to do what you want to do.

    When you go to boot up windows (if it let's you in the first place without a dell bios), it is going to start loading up all the drivers for your dell motherboard, and crash.

    The typical work around for this is to use the XP repair function and let it install the new drivers for your new motherboard.

    What we need to confirm (someone here will know the answer) is whether or not it first checks if you have a Dell bios. If it does, then you're going to have a hard time, and will have to either:
    a) make a new XP install CD (don't know if there is a way to use your XP licence though)
    b) buy a new version of windows.
  3. Jacobi

    Jacobi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have my XP install CD, which enables me to turn it into Upgrade mode and reboot the computer. Apparantly, if I shut down the computer during this reboot and replace the motherboard, it will boot up in "upgrade mode" at which time it will sync windows with the new mobo.

    However, I just remembered something: On one of my old HP computers, I used my XP disc which clearly states "For use with a new Dell PC Only" and yet I installed Windows XP perfectly fine on the Hewlett Packard.
  4. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

  5. Jacobi

    Jacobi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Cool. Now, if I'm going to be putting a new processor on that new mobo I'm installing, do I have to do anything extra to ensure Windows works with the processor?

    EDIT: Allow me to outline exactly what I'm planning on doing now:

    I'm replacing:

    -RAM to go with new Mobo
    -Power Supply
    -Maybe new Sound Card

    I'm keeping:
    -Optical Drives (CD/DVD/floppy/etc)
    -Video Card
  6. X DarthMonkey X

    X DarthMonkey X TS Rookie Posts: 76

    Damn... with that detailed guide, I REALLY doubt there's anything else you need to know. But I like to do the following just because I'm paranoid:

    ~I'm paranoid about switching mobo's, so I always clone my drive to back it up before doing anything. Then I continue with a Windows repair from the boot CD. If it screws up, I clone from the backup and try again a different way.

    But most people can't do this for the simple reason that they only have one hard drive.

    Anyway, that guide will almost positively get you through the process, good luck!
  7. Jacobi

    Jacobi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I found this in the FAQ on that guide:

    I have a Western Digital HDD. Will this still work?
  8. X DarthMonkey X

    X DarthMonkey X TS Rookie Posts: 76

    You'll need to do that "Press F6 ti install additional SCSI or RAID drivers" thing, yoiu can find the drivers for your WD HDD at


    Put the drivers on a floppy, put it in your system and boot from the WinXP CD. When it says "Press F6..." at the bottom of the screen, do so and load the drivers, then continue to do the repair.

    EDIT: This is if it's an SATA Hard Drive.
  9. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    If it's an IDE drive, yes.
  10. Jacobi

    Jacobi TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Gotcha...thanks guys; looks like I will be giving that method a shot once my new mobo arrives.
  11. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    check for bios updates on new processors
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