Is it possible to swap hard drives?

Like i get a Hard drive from a Compaq laptp. I take it, and i install it on my HP DV2988SE laptop. Will it work? One of my friends said that it doesn't work unless the hard drive is wiped? Is it true? I remember i had a hard drive (desktop) with Windows XP installed on it, but no computer drives. I took that hard drive and I installed it on my dell desktop and it booted up to the start up screen of windows XP.
Basically, my question is, can you swap any hard drive and it will boot up to what ever OS it has installed on it (if it has one), and if it doesn't have an OS, it will just start up with a black screen?

Thanks
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More about swap hard drives
  1. No, in most cases it won't work. Windows has all the device drivers and chipset drivers installed for the current system. When moving it to a different system, the OS will usually fail to boot. In some cases it can be fixed with a repair install. In all cases, it is recommended to do a clean install.
  2. Hawkeye22 said:
    No, in most cases it won't work. Windows has all the device drivers and chipset drivers installed for the current system. When moving it to a different system, the OS will usually fail to boot. In some cases it can be fixed with a repair install. In all cases, it is recommended to do a clean install.



    So the Hard drive has to be wiped before you can move it to another computer or you have to reinstall the OS/ wipe the hard drive once you move it to the other computer?

    Basically, either way I can't save any of the files that were on that hard drive?
  3. If the motherboards are similar make/model you might get lucky and have it boot. Even then, you should check the device manager for devices with an exlamation point next to them. These need their drivers updated. A repair install may fix the problem, but you may be left with excess bloat or something that may cause problems down the road. A clean install is recommended when changing motherboards.

    You didn't say what your OS is. If you do a clean install, do a custom install. You will have the option to add/delete partitions and format. It's best to recreate the partition so you are sure all old data is gone. Also, make sure only the boot/OS drive is connected during the install process so that the boot loader and OS end up on the same drive.
  4. QQCCA3 said:
    So the Hard drive has to be wiped before you can move it to another computer or you have to reinstall the OS/ wipe the hard drive once you move it to the other computer?


    You might be able to get away with it and get it limping along but it would be a "kludge" and never perform or be as hassle free as a fresh install. A little planning goes a long way here. Had you set up that HD with the thought that you might want to install / reinstall an OS later, then it would be "easy as cake .... piece of pie" (bonus to you if ya remeber the movie / character who got that quote in the backwards way presented). To do this, you'd want to install your OS on C:\ and everything else in other places. For example:

    C:\Operating System
    D:\Games
    E:\Programs
    F:\Data

    Now if that was your old HD, installing a new OS on it becomes very easy. Simply insert the Windows DVD, tell it to Format and Install OS to C:\ and all your Games, Data and Programs remain in place. Many games and some programs will continue to function however some will have to be reinstalled over themselves to establish registry settings. Installing over a program generally retains all customizations, etc. from the old install.
  5. JackNaylorPE said:
    You might be able to get away with it and get it limping along but it would be a "kludge" and never perform or be as hassle free as a fresh install. A little planning goes a long way here. Had you set up that HD with the thought that you might want to install / reinstall an OS later, then it would be "easy as cake .... piece of pie" (bonus to you if ya remeber the movie / character who got that quote in the backwards way presented). To do this, you'd want to install your OS on C:\ and everything else in other places. For example:

    C:\Operating System
    D:\Games
    E:\Programs
    F:\Data

    Now if that was your old HD, installing a new OS on it becomes very easy. Simply insert the Windows DVD, tell it to Format and Install OS to C:\ and all your Games, Data and Programs remain in place. Many games and some programs will continue to function however some will have to be reinstalled over themselves to establish registry settings. Installing over a program generally retains all customizations, etc. from the old install.


    Since my Hard drive was already divided in half. All I have to do is to move that hard drive on my other computer and reinstall WIndows XP on the C drive. Everything on the C portion would be gone; but the stuff in the D portion would still be there.
  6. Hawkeye22 said:
    If the motherboards are similar make/model you might get lucky and have it boot. Even then, you should check the device manager for devices with an exlamation point next to them. These need their drivers updated. A repair install may fix the problem, but you may be left with excess bloat or something that may cause problems down the road. A clean install is recommended when changing motherboards.

    You didn't say what your OS is. If you do a clean install, do a custom install. You will have the option to add/delete partitions and format. It's best to recreate the partition so you are sure all old data is gone. Also, make sure only the boot/OS drive is connected during the install process so that the boot loader and OS end up on the same drive.



    What i meant was that i got a hard drive from a Windows 2000 Computer. That computer has different specs/ drivers than my other HP desktop. Like those 2 computer have NOTHING in common. That hard drive still has windows 2000 installed on the C drive while i have files/ documents on my D drive. If i take that hard drive and i stick it in my other computer that has different specs/ drivers than the one it came from, all i have to do is to reinstall Windows XP on the C drive and everything in the D drive will be saved. So either way, the C drive has to be wiped and have a clean installation of the OS in order for it to boot up to the installed OS. So i cant boot back up to windows 2000 and all the files on the C drive would be gone.
  7. Yes, you only need one partition for windows. If you clean install to the OS partition (C in yor case), the other partition (D in your case) will be fine.
  8. QQCCA3 said:
    Like i get a Hard drive from a Compaq laptp. I take it, and i install it on my HP DV2988SE laptop. Will it work? One of my friends said that it doesn't work unless the hard drive is wiped? Is it true? I remember i had a hard drive (desktop) with Windows XP installed on it, but no computer drives. I took that hard drive and I installed it on my dell desktop and it booted up to the start up screen of windows XP.
    Basically, my question is, can you swap any hard drive and it will boot up to what ever OS it has installed on it (if it has one), and if it doesn't have an OS, it will just start up with a black screen?

    Thanks

  9. Hi I just had to do the same thing for my wife's pc. I upgraded her pc and needed to simply swap the harddrives like we used to in previous windows O/s. I ran slmgr /dlv to find the license version and it was oem. Then I used aoemi backupper to clone the harddrive so that I would not lose any data if it failed. then I ran sysprep in an elevated cmd prompt and it ran then failed with fatal error while trying to sysprep this machine. I tried everything. I modified the registry key: hklm\system\setup\status\sysprepstatus. Changed cleanup value to 4,generalize to 7 and before running sysprep.exe again I made sure that the service for wmpnetservice was stopped. This service will prevent sysprep from running on all window versions. I tested this on retail and oem windows 7 versions and was successful.
    Hope this helps someone.
  10. Hard drives are slow and can easily be broken. I would upgrade to an SSD as he will get much quicker speeds and they tend to outlive the computers you put them in. I got mine from here: http://www.alsagercomputers.co.uk/component/storage-devices
  11. You could move all of your important files to an external drive and plug it in to you new computer as long as it has a blank hard drive and windows.
  12. 24TurtleSwag said:
    You could move all of your important files to an external drive and plug it in to you new computer as long as it has a blank hard drive and windows.
  13. It seems that for win XP you could simply swap drives from one PC to another. With win vista or 7 you need to find sysprep folder in windows directory delete it shut down the PC ,remove the drive plug it in to the new pc and windows will detect new hardware and recreate the sysprep file.
    That it.
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