Is it possible to install a used hard drive?

My PC's been acting up lately. First I get blue-screen physical memory dumps before Windows can load a user, then uninstalling and reinstalling video card drivers, then weird error messages on start up saying something about MOM.implementation and weirdness, and now to fix this I'm going to straight-up do a System Restore to the days of 2004 when I first got this PC.

The problem is that I have a bunch of stuff on my 80GB HDD and my 160GB HDD that I want to save. The 80GB HDD is the main one, where the OS resides and where I want the restoring to take place. How do I restore while saving the data I want to save?

Can I move all the stuff I want to save into the 160GB HDD, remove it, then restore my PC, and following that reinstall the 160GB HDD (doubtful)?

Also, if anyone can help me with the original problem, it's got to do with my video card. I fixed the blue-screen with reinstalling my drivers, but I'm still not in the state I was in before everything went kaput. I have an ATI Radeon X800GTO and I downloaded the latest drivers with the 7.2 Catalyst, and installed both the drivers and Catalyst Control Center. Anyone who uses ATI's CCC will know that there is supposed to be an ATI symbol in the system tray where you can access options like anisotropic filtering, anti-aliasing, v-sync, etc., on the fly. However, this symbol no longer appears in my system tray, CCC doesn't show up in the Task Manager, and whenever I try to manually start it up from the Start Menu, I get an error message that says this:

Could not load file or assembly 'CLI.Implementation, Version=2.0.2589,34531, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=90ba9c70f846762e' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified.

That last line really gets me. How it can it not find the file specified if I've reinstalled these drivers 15 times?

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  1. If you haven't reinstalled Windows since 2004, it would probably be a good idea to do a clean install, i.e., a full format of the drive/partition that you will install OS on. This means you'll have to reinstall all your programs as well but will probably fix your problems.

    You can copy all you data over to the 160GB and once the OS is reinstalled or reset you can copy back to that drive if you want, although I'd use the 160 for my storage. It's best to disconnect the 160GB until the OS is installed and then hook it up again
  2. Quote:
    Can I move all the stuff I want to save into the 160GB HDD, remove it, then restore my PC, and following that reinstall the 160GB HDD (doubtful)?

    Why doubtful? That should work with no problem as long as you have room enough on your 160GB to hold whatever you want to save. (If you want, you can use the Windows XP backup routine to save the stuff you want to keep from the 80GB onto the 160GB. Or whatever ...)

    Reinstalling to the 80GB should not involved the 160GB in any way. But it doesn't hurt to play it safe by disconnecting the power cable to the 160GB while you're installing. After the install is completed, plug the power cable back in, power up the PC and windows should "detect" the "new" hardware, configure it, and you're good to go.

    You might also want to run the XP Files & Settings Xfer Wiz to save your current settings into a folder on the 160GB so you can restore them after the install completes. (Up to you if you also want to let it save "Files". I've never been too sure just what the heck it is doing in that regard so I usually just save off my Windows settings).

    It sounds like you've got a pre-built PC so you probably don't have to mess with Windows activation. However, if Windows does ask you to activate your copy of XP, make sure the 160GB is present before you do so. Probably no big deal, but MS does base their decision about whether to activate or not based on what hardware Windows sees on your system. Best to have the final hardware setup in place before you go ask MS for permission to use the OS you bought from them. :roll:

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