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Switching hard drives with Vista

By peterockd
Jul 25, 2010
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  1. Im not sure if this belongs in this forum or the hardware forum so I will try here first. I recently ran into issues with my PC which after numerous tests and attempts to correct appears to be a motherboard issue - everything else seems to be fine. This PC that just crapped out was actually a replacement for another PC which the HDD went bad on.

    Now my question is, on the older PC, it was purchased in 2006 and came with Windows XP installed on it which was later upgraded to Windows Vista 32bit before it failed - nothing was wrong, it upgraded just fine. This most recent PC came with Windows Vista 64-bit and the HDD is in perfect working order - it is now in an external case and all of the information is there just fine. So my question is, is it possible to simply put this HDD with Vista 64 into the PC that has the bad HDD? Would it boot? Would it recognize the drive? Both HDDs are SATA so there shouldnt be any connection issue, I just want to know if its possible to just simply switch bootable hard drives and if so how to do it.

    If this is not possible to just switch the HDDs, what needs to be done to make this HDD work in the older PC?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,357   +116

    If the connections are the same it will fit into your old case/computer. Your older PC would recognise the new drive no probiems, and essentially there would be no issues with setting it up to work...

    However, if the hardware is different, it is likely to have a fit if you try and run it on your older computer. This is because your newer drive has software installed which it depends on to run with your new setup. Unless your old setup is identical in every respect (all of the hardware) then its probably not going to like having to boot up.

    You can dual boot XP and Vista but to be honest I don't really see the point in doing it, unless you have very specific reasons for doing so.

    If you have the media to restore Vista you could doing the following:

    1. Fit the new drive to the old computer
    2. Insert Vista disc and boot into setup
    3. Do a full clean install of Vista

    Firstly, you'd lose any data on the new disk, and secondly doing it this way would mean it customises the install to the configuration of hardware of the older computer.

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