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Use old HDD in new build temporarily till I get new one?

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January 21, 2011 6:51:41 AM

Just like the thread title reads, can I use an old HDD until I get a new one? It has a SATA port and is a Western Digital 250gb 7200rpm. It has Windows XP Home Edition installed and some old files. Can I use that in my new build for a while until I upgrade to a new HDD?
a b G Storage
January 21, 2011 7:45:06 AM

You can try, but probably not without doing a clean install. The disk has old chipset drivers for the old motherboard that may conflict with the new motherboard.

Based on personal experience, I estimate that your chances of the drive working are less than 50-50.
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a b G Storage
January 21, 2011 9:34:07 AM

If you prep the drive you should be fine. You'd have to boot from the old machine and in the device manager remove all the drivers for things on the motherboard. (don't reboot when it asks you to, shut down when your done.) Once that's done move the drive over to your new machine and power it up. You should be good at that point. I've done this many time, only had it fail once. I forgot to remove the dual core driver and put it in a single core machine. I could boot into safe mode, but I couldn't change the driver. Couldn't move it back over as the dual core machine had died.

If you don't have a working old machine, you can try booting into safe mode. I'd say your chances of that working are 50/50.
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a c 172 G Storage
January 21, 2011 12:22:20 PM

Are you asking if you can run the XP on the old hard drive on your new system?
The answer is probably not, at least without a repair install of XP.

If you are asking if an old hard drive can be used temporarily on a new build, then of course it can.
When you go to install Windows-7(you don't want XP on a nice new build) you will be given the opportunity to format the XP drive, after which the install will proceed normally.
I did this on my current build, and plan on cloning the old drive to a SSD when the gen3 SSD's become available.
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a c 300 G Storage
January 21, 2011 1:19:05 PM

What Geofelt said. The distinction between running the OS on it in the new system and building a new OS on it in the new system is key. +1

Once you get the new one, you may want to transfer the entire old one, running OS and all, to the new one. This requires a disk clone rather than a straight copy of files, so that you get all of the low-level OS pieces like the MBR and boot loader.

EASEUS gives away free code to do this.
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January 22, 2011 7:31:09 AM

geofelt said:
Are you asking if you can run the XP on the old hard drive on your new system?
The answer is probably not, at least without a repair install of XP.

If you are asking if an old hard drive can be used temporarily on a new build, then of course it can.
When you go to install Windows-7(you don't want XP on a nice new build) you will be given the opportunity to format the XP drive, after which the install will proceed normally.
I did this on my current build, and plan on cloning the old drive to a SSD when the gen3 SSD's become available.


So if I do that, I just have to delete the old drivers, correct? How do I know if its the OS? Is it just the file that says "Windows"?
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a b G Storage
January 22, 2011 2:39:25 PM

I've swapped hard drives lots of times. I give you a 60-40 chance. It works a lot, but fails too. Windows 7 seems to handle it better in my opinion.

Also, I would start by buying the new hard drives for a new build. If you can't afford a new build all at once there are several parts you can use right away: HDD, case, PSU, optical, and graphics. You will need to buy the CPU, mobo, & DDR3 later obviously.
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January 22, 2011 2:51:33 PM

Not directly related to the topic, but I've had a similar interesting experience.

I didn't have portable storage media that time, so if I needed to get content from my friends' computers, I just took my primary HDD [Seagate 80GB IDE] with me, and plugged it into their PCs.

The queer part is that when I installed it in a particular friend's PC [with his hard disk already installed], it just booted from my hard disk. My OS, everything mine. The only thing common to both PCs was an AMD processor, although his was atleast a generation newer than mine. He also had a discrete graphics card installed, and my hard disk didn't have any such driver, but it worked. Somehow !
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Best solution

a b G Storage
January 22, 2011 3:07:27 PM

Each chipset company uses their own method to access the harddrive. Intel, AMD, SiS, Nvidia, Via, etc all use their own different method. If windows is installed on a board that uses an Nvidia chipset, it will use the Nvidia drivers to communicate with the harddrive. If you pull that drive and put in in a computer with any other chipset, it won't work because that Intel chipset doesn't "speak" Nvidia. (this is why safemode should work as its using a generic windows driver.) If you put an Nvidia talking windows in another Nvidia board, it should load, or at least attempt to load.

People will claim its more complicated then that and it used to be, but from XP forward it pretty much is that simple. As I said there can be other issue including the CPU driver but if you get the IDE driver correct everything else should be corrected once windows loads.
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February 1, 2011 4:32:53 AM

Best answer selected by destroysall.
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