Transplant old HD into new computer?

I have an old computer that I upgraded until I could upgrade no more. The old computer has every program and setting tweaked to perfection. The old computer was very well cared for, and the registry is in good shape, etc. (I’m not worried about the OS and software slowing down the system).

My plan is to make an Acronis image of the old hard drive (IDE) onto a large portable USB 2.0 drive, install a second SATA drive in my new computer, hookup the USB portable drive with the image and restore the image to the new second SATA blank drive in the new PC, then swap newly-restored second SATA drive to be the master drive in the new PC. (Saving the new PC’s original master drive in nearly-new form factor, just in case.)

The main question is the ramifications on how the drivers and other different hardware issues will be resolved once I try to boot from what essentially is a master hard drive from a completely different PC. Will Windows XP resolve all these issues of a ompletely different processor type (old P4 vs. new quad core), different video card, tons of different peripherals, etc.?

I can have the drivers for the new PC's components on hand, but I'm afraid to go through all the hassle and fail in the end.
13 answers Last reply
More about transplant computer
  1. You'll have 99.9% of failure.
  2. Agreed. It won't work. The only way it would have a chance of sucess is if the new system had the exact same chipset as the old one which is doubtfull. You'd be better off installing clean on the new system and either copying the files manually or trying the files and settings transfer wizzard.

    -Mike_M
  3. With a repair install it may(and should) work. But its not worth it(too much left overs)....Reinstalling is best in this case...
  4. you can do it but ask nukemaster said you will have to plop in the win XP CD and do a repair because whenever you swap motherboards, windows croaks on boot.

    Unless you have a lot of software that you don't have the installation CD's for anymore its just faster to do a fresh install.
  5. Reinstall and save yourself a lot of headaches.
  6. If I understand this correctly, it can be done. The first thing you need to do is remove just about every driver from the control panel. Sound, networking, and most importantly, the IDE drivers. If you can, load the SATA drivers at this point. (when you are done removing a driver, windows will probably ask to reboot, DON'T do it until you have removed them all and loaded the SATA drivers.) Once you have the drivers removed, and loaded the windows default drivers for the IDE channels, it shouldn't choke when you boot it up in the new machine.

    The biggest problems I see are the issues with IDE to SATA, and windows complaining about being in a new machine. If you load the SATA drivers before the swap, and are willing to possibly call MS, this should work.
  7. It's not worth it, you WILL have headaches until you reformat and start from scratch. Just get it over with dude.
  8. I've only had one repair transfer work. Usually, what I've had to do is simply reformat and do a clean install, then call Microsoft and tell the customer service rep in India what I'm doing.

    When I buy OEM Windows, I buy it along with a hard drive on a second order from the motherboard and CPU. Then, if I transfer the OS, I tell them it's tied to the hard drive and the drive's also going in the new PC.

    I always hook up the old drive in the next PC, even if it's not the new boot drive, just so it's fine with the OS. That's why I have one IDE 40 gig Maxtor just serving as storage for anime while the rest of the drives are 160 gig in RAID 0. You could probably get away with putting the old drive in a USB 2.0 external case too.

    Windows XP allows install transfers of the retail copy, and I've had one copy of XP Home that I bought the week the OS was released. I've heard that the retail of Vista only allows 2 consecutive PC's, so I tied my copies of Vista to the hard drives and set up dual boots with XP.

    I hate Windows Genuine Disadvantage for Legal Customers! Does it really stop the pirates in China and Russia?
  9. Taking a brief survey of the replies (thank you!) all but 2 or 3 say not to do it. the 2 or 3 that say it's possible say it'll be a paid, and the only way to do is is to uninstall all the drivers pre-transfer.

    1 - I have no idea how I'd do this because I want my old computer in 'noraml' condition should anything go wrong. I

    2 - I heard something somewhere about MS sysprep, i think it's called, that sys admins use to deploy installs of XP on lots of computers with different hardware configurations. I heard it can be used in combination with a Norton Ghost image to get things right, hardware driver-wise, before deployment.

    3 - The other option is a software solution like Laplink's PCMover, that I saw from sever sourced got good reviews. Maybe I'll create a new thread about using it and people's successes or failures with it.
  10. You don't have to worry about the "normal" condition, thats the point. If you remove the drivers, and need to boot up again before moving it over, windows will load the drivers again, thats the point! When windows looks at the windows default drivers for the IDE channels, it will use them to boot. As soon as windows loads however, it will find all these devices with no drivers, and will ask you to load them. (or it will start loading some of them.) This is why I said to not let it reboot while you are deleting the drivers, as you will simply load them again if you do. If the drive is moved over in such a state, it should load the drivers again, but this time for the devices found in the new motherboard, not the old one.

    Obviously you would do with this the cloned image on the new drive. The old build would stay on the USB drive. Because it never booted, you should be able to put it back in the old computer, and boot it up. It should load the drivers again, but for the old motherboard.

    I'm not saying it will work without a hitch, but it should work. In theory. At least its supposed to. I can't comment on the other options, I've never used them.
  11. I didn't want to attempt such a project only to be super frustrated in the end. Instead I'm setting myself up for another frustration by using Laplink's PCmover software (see: http://www.laplink.com/pcmover/ ) ... Transferring about 67 GB as I type, over ethernet. I'll let everyone know how it goes. Worst case, I really do have to start from scratch.
  12. FastDraw said:
    I have an old computer that I upgraded until I could upgrade no more. The old computer has every program and setting tweaked to perfection. The old computer was very well cared for, and the registry is in good shape, etc. (I’m not worried about the OS and software slowing down the system).

    My plan is to make an Acronis image of the old hard drive (IDE) onto a large portable USB 2.0 drive....

    I can have the drivers for the new PC's components on hand, but I'm afraid to go through all the hassle and fail in the end.


    Problem is trying to get Microsoft to change the registry. It would be interesting to know what the outcome of your experiment is.
  13. I've done this a few time with success. Uninstalling all the drivers first will improve your chances it will work. But from my experience, copying an IDE drive to an SATA drive will give you problems booting. I don't know why, but it did for me. I never got that one to work.
Ask a new question

Read More

Hard Drives Computer Storage