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Transferring a hard drive to a new computer?

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June 30, 2010 8:22:12 PM

Hello,

I have a hard drive on my current computer running windows vista. I have been trying to figure out the proper process for moving the hard drive to a slightly newer computer. Is there a certain procedure i need to do this through or can i just stick the hard drive in the other computer and boot up?

(i hope i posted this question in the right spot) =)

Thanks,
-John

Best solution

a c 103 G Storage
June 30, 2010 8:37:51 PM

You can do this, and use a tool called "sysprep" to remove any old machine identifiers. I added some instructions bellow.

Make sure you don't use the Administrator account as your main account as it looks like sysprep will remove it, causing you to lose all your files. After you run sysprep as bellow and the PC shuts down, remove the drive and move it over to the new PC. You will need to do a mini-setup of Windows as it will ask you for the key code, PC name, creating user accounts, etc... You will also need to make sure you have all the proper Vista drivers for your new computer to reload if needed.

You may want to backup your files to an external drive also to make sure nothing gets lost.

Sysprep.exe can be found in C:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe. You will need administrative access to view/use this folder.

Sysprep does do some of its own clean up too. These are the things Sysprep will delete/remove:

• Deletes event logs
• Deletes restore points
• Disables the local Administrator account and deletes its profile
• Removes any SID information from the PC
• Removes any Plug and Play device drivers that were installed during initial installation of Vista
(these will automatically be re-discovered when the PC next boots up)

Once you have cleaned up your reference PC, it is time to run Sysprep. Sysprep takes less than a minute to run. All you do is open a command prompt, change directory to: C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep and type: "sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown"

The /generalize switch cleans up the PC - mentioned above.
The /oobe switch says to start the computer in Windows Welcome mode the next time it is booted up. The settings in your sysprep.xml file will be used to answer the questions that are normally entered manually during Windows Welcome.
The /shutdown switch shuts down the PC once Sysprep has run.

Note: Sysprep in Vista can be run with a GUI interface. Although generally, you would not do this, if you type just sysprep.exe with no switches at the command line, it will open a GUI version of Sysprep where you can check options for Sysprep.

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June 30, 2010 9:28:03 PM

thanks hang-the-9!

I tried doing it through the process that you described but after i started running sysprep it gave me an error message saying

"A fatal error occurred while trying to Sysprep the machine"

what does this mean and what will i have to do to get around this problem?
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a c 103 G Storage
June 30, 2010 9:43:37 PM

Jomo94 said:
thanks hang-the-9!

I tried doing it through the process that you described but after i started running sysprep it gave me an error message saying

"A fatal error occurred while trying to Sysprep the machine"

what does this mean and what will i have to do to get around this problem?


Make sure that you download all updates for Vista before you run it. Don't know if you kept up with all updates for your system, so do the Microsoft Update scan.

Run disk cleanup and remove any temp files, etc.

Any other info other than just the "fatal error" error? Does it start to run and then give you the error, or even before it tries to do anything?
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June 30, 2010 9:48:55 PM

yes it starts to run and then it gives me the fatal error message. it probably is that i haven't kept up with updates as i only installed vista ultimate on my pc a couple of days ago.
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a c 103 G Storage
June 30, 2010 9:49:52 PM

This may have a solution to your error, but it looks to be a fairly advanced fix.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929828

Unfortunately you need to use the /generalize switch to clear out any hardware info from the old computer build or I'd say to just leave it out.

Remember that once you run this, you want to move the drive to the new PC right away, dont turn it back on and start playing with it in the old system.
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June 30, 2010 9:57:28 PM

alright...

thanks for the info! Im going to install updates and try running sysprep again in a bit.
i'll post my results here afterwards
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a c 415 G Storage
June 30, 2010 10:44:59 PM

Is there any reason you can't connect both computers via a router or switch and just transfer the files over the network? That would probably be a LOT simpler...
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June 30, 2010 10:51:40 PM

sminlal said:
Is there any reason you can't connect both computers via a router or switch and just transfer the files over the network? That would probably be a LOT simpler...

I dont have a hard drive in the other computer, otherwise i definetely do something like that
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July 1, 2010 1:52:01 AM

Thanks for the help everyone! i got sysprep working, turns out i wasn't running vista sp2 yet (DOH!). I am very happy with this newer computer =]
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July 1, 2010 4:53:58 AM

Best answer selected by Jomo94.
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a c 103 G Storage
July 1, 2010 4:36:55 PM

Jomo94 said:
Thanks for the help everyone! i got sysprep working, turns out i wasn't running vista sp2 yet (DOH!). I am very happy with this newer computer =]


Glad it worked for you!
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a c 103 G Storage
July 1, 2010 4:39:10 PM

sminlal said:
Is there any reason you can't connect both computers via a router or switch and just transfer the files over the network? That would probably be a LOT simpler...


The issue with that is that all the programs he installed would have to be re-installed and his settings, etc.. would have to be re-done. This way his PC identity is moved over in 1/50th the time.

For a power user, I'd suggest a new build and do manual backups and re-store, for someone who probably would not know where his user files and settings are kept, sysprep is not a bad way to move a drive from one PC to another.
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December 13, 2012 1:28:41 PM

hang-the-9 said:
Make sure that you download all updates for Vista before you run it. Don't know if you kept up with all updates for your system, so do the Microsoft Update scan.

Run disk cleanup and remove any temp files, etc.

Any other info other than just the "fatal error" error? Does it start to run and then give you the error, or even before it tries to do anything?




try stopping the wiindows media player services. that work for me
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November 14, 2013 9:13:33 AM





stopping the windows media player network sharing service worked for me too. Thanks!

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!