I'm moving. How to bring my old HDD to install into new computer?

Hi -

The question of how to move a HDD from an old system to a new one has been asked before, but I've seen so many different answers (from "completely impossible" to "no problem at all") that I'm very confused. My apologies if it's a dead topic for some of you!

I'm moving to a new country for a few months. Since it's a relatively short time, I don't want to ship my big desktop computer. It's easier to just buy a different computer in the new place, and sell it when I leave.

My question is how to best and most easily bring my current computer set-up (files, programs, total environment) and put it onto the new computer system? Can I just bring my current HDD and slap it into the new system?

I know that I can put all my files and data onto a portable hard drive, and then access that drive from a new computer.

And I know that I can bring along the programs as well, and just reinstall those onto the new computer.

However, transfering files and data takes a while, reinstalling my many programs takes a verrry long while, re-jiggering all the settings in every program and system takes forever. Setting up my system took days. Ideally, I'd like to avoid having to re-do all this work I've already done in creating my personal computer environment.

So how feasible would it be to simply take my WD 250gb HDD with me (it's small and light!), and replace the HDD in the new computer with my current HDD?

Will I then have "my" computer on the new computer? Programs, OS, etc?

What steps could I take now (before I move and while I'm using my current computer) to make sure that it'll work well when I get my new computer?

Regarding the OS, I have a purchased copy of WinXP SP2. The nice thing about this is that I'm legally allowed to transfer this OS. (In other words, it's NOT a bundled, non-transferable OEM version. )

Also, to what extent do I have to get a new computer which matches the hardware of my current set-up? I currently have a Gigabyte P35 mobo, Q6600, Powercolor VGA. I was hoping to get a slightly less powerful configuration in my new set-up: mobo with vga onboard, a less powerful CPU. Can I still slap the new HDD into this different set-up?

Thanks for your help .... I definitely need advice as I really don't know how to do this!


- Julia

(fyi - not sure which section of the forum to post this; I'm putting it into New Builds and Storage, but please feel free to move as appropriate!)
6 answers Last reply
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  1. Hello,

    Ideally, you could just slap it into the other system. I am not going to lie, I do not have much experience on this topic, but I will try to offer some heresay. From what I know, there can be complications when transfering the HDD if you have a different mobo.

    Hope I helped,
  2. i think you need to reinstall/reformat your OS, because your current driver might be different to your new mobo. I've tried it before and it always restarting at bootscreen because it's a different chipset. But if you reinstall only (like booting your WinXp CD and choose repair not fresh install) might work. The only problem i've encountered was the USB, flash drive still works, but there is some strange in file renaming,copying etc.
  3. I've frequently swapped drives between PCs, usually no problem if there's only one drive, I've sometimes had problems with more than one, often to do with Master/Slave pin settings. If you get a new PC, and build it/get it built, you can use only your existing HDD, shouldn't be a problem. With my recent build, I used a new SAT2 HDD and a fairly recent WD IDE HDD. The latter shows up on the system, but nothing will open or run from it - I copied all docs to the new drive. If I select the old drive as first HDD in BIOS, it runs normally, but the new drive gets the problem.
  4. Hi, Genghis, Phenium and aadamszc...

    Thanks for your responses. I also posted this in the "storage" forum on toms, and it seemed to get more interest there, so I combined all the responses in that subsection.

    Take a look over there, see if you think the combined plan for moving my HDD would work!


    Thanks a bunch!!!

    - Julia

  5. your current drive has specific drivers for your mother board, video, memory controllers etc.... moving it to a new motherboard will most likely garble it all up and could result in poor performance or it just wont boot because Windows will get confused.

    The best way to do it to get a second drive and copy files to it or burn everything to disc, as for programs, most of them dont have a "settings import" feature so its best to just reinstall them. Sometimes you can just move the directory of a program and then create a new shortcut to the .exe file and your good to go but then some create registry entries so it really is best just to reinstall them

    I would recommend getting a new drive do a fresh install of XP on it for you new computer, then you should be able to put your current drive in your new pc as a slave drive to copy files. then reformat the old drive to gain back space.

    all in all get ready to take the time to resetup your personal preferences again.
  6. You will probably need to reformat the drive. I had this same problem a few weeks ago. Luckily i had a external HDD so i was able to move all the main files easily.
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