Old hard drive new computer

HaXToN

TS Rookie
Ok so I'm building a new gaming computer but I don't want to have to reinstall everything on it so would it be possible to use the old hard drive and keep everything on the new computer without wiping it clean maybe if it has a rescan like option to detect and use a different motherboard or possibly transfer my files from one device back to the new computer I need help please I really don't want to have to wipe my drive clean...
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
Yeah, we all want a simple, direct solution but sometimes that just doesn't work.
First backup c:\Users\*\Documents just in case

Understand, you may end up in a corner of the chess board where it's necessary to both
restore c:\Users\*\Documents AND to reinstall ALL your programs - - it may be a lot of work and still end up with doing a Clean Install (ie wiping the HD). Once you go so far down this path, it may not be possible to just abort and keep what you now have, so CAVEAT EMPTOR

Using the old HD with a new MB:
Perform a Recover/Repair install
Install MB drivers
Restore \Users\*\Downloads
 

Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
The benefits I have experienced with clean installs have outweighed the effort. Registry bloat & snippets of hangover drivers eliminated, chance to really test the old HDD, bits of lost updates scrubbed, etc all work for me.
 
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Cycloid Torus

Stone age computing - click on the rock below..
Lots of folks spring for the new HDD (500GB for $50) or the pricier, but much faster SSD. This allows you to keep your old files and to later connect the old HDD as a second drive on your new system once you have it all running right.

To take an older HDD into a new system is 'ok' too. Check its SMART rating (google that for more). Download the manufacturer's utility for checking HDDs and run it. If it all come up 'good' then you need to check that you have the appropriate media to install your OS and your other programs and data. Backup any files you may need to bring over (saved games, school papers, photos, music, etc). I use a 32 GB flash drive.

Check twice... good media for OS, clean 'good' status on HDD, good data backup so nothing 'LOST' when you reformat.

Build your new system, and confirm it works 'ok' just booting from flash drive or DVD - then add the HDD to the system and run a clean install. The installation program will make dozens of decisions about how to become customized to your new stuff (drivers, etc). When all done and working, you might want to make an 'image backup' so you can return to this clean condition sometime in the next few months. Also, really important to make a Recovery Disk!!

http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-build-a-computer/
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2485172,00.asp
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2987057/computers/how-to-build-a-pc-a-step-by-step-comprehensive-guide.html

AND

https://www.techspot.com/community/forums/build-a-pc.8/
 

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
Now the processes are much much much faster than in the old days, no drivers searching needed, all programs you can download and install in less than 3 minutes and so on.

I would say, go for the clean build and don't drag old stuff with you that will not serve any purpose and take the time to see what you really need, it will go a long way. It feels like a lot of work but it really isn't.
 

Trillionsin

TS Evangelist
I have on several occasions taken a hard drive out of one PC, and transplanted it into another one. This often will require common chipset drivers or preparing the drive and drivers in the OS. You'll have to re-activate your Windows license. You'll also likely have to install quite a few drivers to get the system working properly, if you can at all.

I've also done this for a Mac, from a PC. Yes, Windows boot, and everything seemed to work fine. My intentions were to put a new HDD in the Macbook, but apparently I put an old one with a Windows installation on it. lol I think I have a picture of it somewhere.... I know its not unheard of to put Windows on a Mac, but I transferred the hard drive from another system entirely, so it surprised me. lol

It looks like there are some who posted thorough explanation on how to do this process. So there's my tidbit!

Edit: A clean installation is ALWAYS recommended, and what you are likely to hear from 9/10 people on Techspot, including me.
 

p51d007

TS Evangelist
I just use Macrium Reflect. Free easy way to clone your drive. I use it mostly for backup.
I create a mirror of my hard drive about once every two weeks at work. I just tell it to start
when I head home from work (laptop). That way if something happens, it's just a matter of
popping the defect drive out, pop in the backup mirror and off I go.
When I switched from a mechanical to a SSD, I used it to mirror and had zero problems.
 

Neebsgaming

TS Member
Been doing this for years just create a backup image and restore the image to a clean install on new drive it's easy and nothing is lost. some drivers may needed to be updated but that's it.
 

Xabi Granja

TS Member
I've always been a bit confused by this. Personally, I always do a clean install whenever I change major hardware. However, I've seen this work without a hitch last year.

I live a continent away from my parents, and I had just visited them (which means several sessions of fixing whatever they messed up in the time since my previous visit). I left everything working fine and upgraded them to Windows 10. 5 days after I left the continent again, their PC's Nforce motherboard (remember those?) died. I couldn't help them from a continent away, so I advised what AMD A8 motherboard, DDR3 memory and APU CPU to buy. The store swapped the pieces for them and once home, my mom turned the PC on with me on videocall from her tablet to guide her through what I expected would have to be a painful clean install (because she has no idea what she's doing and I'd have to painstakingly describe every trivial step). To my surprise, the system just booted to Windows 10 just like it was before. No changes needed, it worked perfectly from the 1st time turning the new parts on.

I've always assumed this was impossible. Maybe Windows 10 is helping in some way? I'm sure their performance would be better (though it's quite good from what I've seen) with a clean install, and when I'm there in about 6 months I'll clean install for them, but hey, this case proved to me that it IS possible to swap pieces with no reinstall whatsoever.

WHY it worked though, I have no idea. When I buy a new ZEN/KBL CPU in a couple months, I'll try the exact same process just to see if it works. Then I'll clean install just in case :)
 

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
I just use Macrium Reflect. Free easy way to clone your drive. I use it mostly for backup.
I create a mirror of my hard drive about once every two weeks at work. I just tell it to start
when I head home from work (laptop). That way if something happens, it's just a matter of
popping the defect drive out, pop in the backup mirror and off I go.
When I switched from a mechanical to a SSD, I used it to mirror and had zero problems.
This is a great tip, but he doesn't need to change a failing drive in the same computer, he needs to put an old drive in a new computer (With all that it comes with it, drivers, programs, so on) =)

Now the processes are much much much faster than in the old days, no drivers searching needed, all programs you can download and install in less than 3 minutes and so on.
To complement a bit on this reply, I used to have all the tools in a flash drive in case I ever had to format (Which I haven't done in years). After a couple of new installs it made me realize how little amounts of apps I really need, and how much I love Steam's cloud sync.
 

hkhan1989

TS Enthusiast
I have done this a lot, I have done it about 3-4 times in the past 3 months alone, upgrading my own and a few family and friends PCs.
The most recent being my gaming computer, as I did not want to download my entire steam library again!

I moved my HDDs from a Windows 10 Machine - HP PC with DDR3 and a sandybridge CPU (i3-2120)
to a Gigabyte Mobo with i7-6700 with DDR4 RAM.

I had a Windows 10 Machine with 2 HDDs.
1 SSD - 256 GB with OS and a few games (games I play more frequently)
1 HDD - 2 TB redirect steam to install older games here and even windows 10 games (gears of war 4 , gears of war ultimate edition, killer instinct).

Step 1.
Clean old software that will not be relevant to the new mobo (in my case HP software).

Step 2.
Attempt to place your Windows OS in "sysprep" mode.
Please google up what sysprep does, it a handy tool, with a few niggling issues, it never works straight away!
Without this step, you OS will most likely not boot in the new environment.
I had numerous issues getting this to work but it always did.

Issue 1.
My windows 10 is an upgraded copy of windows 7, by default sysprep will not work on upgraded machines.
Googled up the error code in the log sysprep produced and was able to delete a registry key to get this working.
Issue 2. - Windows 7 will not have this issue.
Windows 10 apps installed by a user, due to Windows Store DRM crap, you cannot put a Windows 10 / 8 OS in sysprep with these installed.
You will have to uninstall all user installed apps from Windows Store before being able to get it in sysprep mode.
If you have multiple users, this will affect every user, it easier getting rid of all additional users too.
The log will tell you what app is causing the sysprep to fail but will only tell you one app at a time, so you can run the tool to identify which app is causing it, but then have to uninstall the said app and run the tool again. I had to do this 20+ times! System Windows store apps like mail etc do not need to be uninstalled.

Step 3
Once sysprep has completed, please make sure you do not try to boot the HDD now.
If you are migrating HDDs (like I did) please follow these steps, if you are not then skip to Step 4.

Using maricum reflect (free) on a different PC, clone the HDD.
Issues (only if you are changing the boot mode from legacy to UEFI)
I was cloning from a SATA SSD to my new NVme PCI Samsung.
NVme can only be booted in the newer UEFI boot mode, my old SATA SSD was configured to boot in legacy mode.
I had to follow this guide
http://kb.macrium.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50151.aspx
Then clone the main C:\ partition only (not any system reserved partitions).
Booting will obviously fail, so I then had to follow this guide to fix the booting issues, this bit requires maricum reflect pro.
http://kb.macrium.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50168.aspx

Step 4
Time to boot your new machine.
Boot your OS from your HDD/SDD, it will look like a new Windows Build, configure a temporary user, finish the prompts and setup and login once as the temporary user for windows to finish it's driver installs.

Step 5
Restart, and log in as your existing user.
Install your new Mobo / hardware drivers.
Install your Windows 10 store apps (if you had to uninstall any).
Change your secondary HDD's drive letter to what it was before (in my case my 2 TB HDD was drive E: )
Open steam and continue your game!
 
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Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
It sounds almost as much trouble or even more, than reinstalling everything (And keep downloaded stuff in the drive, of course). That being the case, just copy or move everything to the other drive and just reinstall windows, last time I did an install it wasn't more than 25 minutes and then just downloading klite, 7zip and office =P
 

hkhan1989

TS Enthusiast
It sounds almost as much trouble or even more, than reinstalling everything (And keep downloaded stuff in the drive, of course). That being the case, just copy or move everything to the other drive and just reinstall windows, last time I did an install it wasn't more than 25 minutes and then just downloading klite, 7zip and office =P
It was A LOT of trouble, but I wanted to see if it could be done.
I can confirm it can, and I moved from a Legacy Boot mode from my old BIOS to the newer UEFI one, that was the biggest hurdle.

But then again, I am the type of gamer who enjoys building the PC more than playing :).

Finally, reading the OP's post again, he will not be upgrading his HDD, his steps are a lot easier, he just needs to run sysprep.
 

H3llion

TechSpot Paladin
I just upload most of my data to a VPS Cloud Storage solution and or Dropbox and when I do a format, I simply redownload the core software and Dropbox/VPS Cloud Storage does the rest.
 

Szarik

TS Rookie
I've done it many times myself in the past. Just not long time ago I had asus z97 board and I've bought Asus x99 deluxe2 and used old SSD on new board without any problems even with the drivers from z97..I updated them later. Only the problem I had it's with windows activation it wouldn't validate or activate. I've activated it later via activation via phone.
 
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Alex Whitehouse

TS Rookie
I've done this a couple of times, once from an i7 860 to an i5 3570K using Win 7 and another time from the 3570 to 6600K on Windows 10. Both were surprisingly easy, with only uncommon drivers (like a killer network card) being an issue.

I can however see potential boot issues, so make sure (among other things) that your SATA rives are configured in the same mode on bother motherboards. Ideally have both systems alive so you can check BIOS settings if you fail to post on the new system.
 

Wizwill

TS Booster
Installing an old HD/SSD in a new computer is like putting the tires and wheels of your old car onto a new vehicle. Why?
 

ikesmasher

TS Evangelist
Just in the last 2 months I replaced my lga 775 motherboard/cpu/ddr2 with an lga 1151 board/g4400/ddr4. The board automatically kicked into legacy mode and everything booted up perfectly and still works to this day. I probably will do a fresh reinstall over christmas since school will be out and I have the time but I have had 0 lignering issues.
 
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treetops

TS Evangelist
Now the processes are much much much faster than in the old days, no drivers searching needed, all programs you can download and install in less than 3 minutes and so on.

I would say, go for the clean build and don't drag old stuff with you that will not serve any purpose and take the time to see what you really need, it will go a long way. It feels like a lot of work but it really isn't.
Network drivers if your wireless. Which is needed before you can get anything.

The only reason you need a clean install while rebuilding is if you are replacing your HD with a SSD. In that case, make a windows install disk from your HD. Unplug your old HD. Install windows on your new SSD. Plug both, drag what you want of from your old hd. Format your old hard drive. Done.
 

fktech

TS Maniac
I have on several occasions taken a hard drive out of one PC, and transplanted it into another one. This often will require common chipset drivers or preparing the drive and drivers in the OS. You'll have to re-activate your Windows license. You'll also likely have to install quite a few drivers to get the system working properly, if you can at all.

I've also done this for a Mac, from a PC. Yes, Windows boot, and everything seemed to work fine. My intentions were to put a new HDD in the Macbook, but apparently I put an old one with a Windows installation on it. lol I think I have a picture of it somewhere.... I know its not unheard of to put Windows on a Mac, but I transferred the hard drive from another system entirely, so it surprised me. lol

It looks like there are some who posted thorough explanation on how to do this process. So there's my tidbit!

Edit: A clean installation is ALWAYS recommended, and what you are likely to hear from 9/10 people on Techspot, including me.
Bet you never did this on a Surface Pro or Surface Book....