Nooby first time software booting question (Yes I read the stickies)

So after two months of frustrating work I finally have everything on the hardware side down perfectly (first time I've built a computer). Computer starts fine, however I do have a couple of important questions. If you could help, it would be appreciated, as I have no idea about the following. These are very nooby questions.

NOTE: All components are completely new. I transferred all of my data to a larger hard-drive; the larger hard-drive at the time was operating under Windows XP 32-Bit.

1) Do I need to reinstall Windows? If yes, I suppose I would have to buy a completely new copy of Windows (previous computer had Gateway specific Windows CD's that won't work on a custom computer).

2) If yes to the above, can I use Windows XP 64-Bit even though all of my data from the hard-drive was from a computer under XP 32-Bit? Also, if I can, will my data be safe, or will it be erased?

3) Is all of my data safe? I spent a long time transferring all the files over, and as of now, I have no backups. Everything is on this hard-drive. When (if) I need to reinstall Windows, update the BIOS, all of that, will my date be safe? Will everything be as it once was (aside from system/Windows files of course)?

4) I am fairly certain I will need a new copy of Windows, but I asked above to be safe. So assuming question 1 is yes, here's one last question: I searched in google, looked through Amazon, Newegg, but every single one lists Windows XP (64 and 32) as selling from $170-$250. Is this accurate? Is the price THIS high? My previous computer was pre-built and came with a Gateway-only Windows XP disk, so I have no idea about the price, but this much seems like highway robbery. It's been years and years since XP was released and it's still selling at it's original cost?! Does anyone know of a cheaper source for Windows XP 32 or 64-Bit (or maybe, hopefully, I just have no search skills and there are cheaper prices)? I used all my money on the hardware, not knowing I would need to buy Windows again. I simply don't have $200 to spend. I'm afraid my build has come this far, after so long, only to be stopped here. Honestly, if I can't find a cheaper copy of Windows then my build is delayed for the foreseeable future (6+ months). I'll have a brand new, ready to use worthless piece of hunk that can't be used because of the cost of XP. :cry:

If you took the time to read this far, thank you. If you could also take a couple of moments to answer these question, thanks again.
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  1. if you place a windows disc in the coputer and make a fresh installation on the hard drive with your data on it all your data will be erased .

    Do you still have the gateway computer with all your data files on it?

    and how did you transfer files to the new hard drive?

    Did you just copy and paste information to it or did you use a program like ghost or true image to transfer everything including the operating systems?

    on newegg you can buy an oem copy of Vista 64 with an upgrade to the new windows 7 operating system for $110 . Is that an option?
  2. Thank you for the reply.

    -I have the gateway with some of the files on it, looks like I'll have to delete some stuff to make room (to re-transfer files).
    -I have an external harddrive, but not the accompanying software (which is missing. I sent a request support multiple times to the company about a replacement disk, but was always ignored), so I had to manually copy and paste the files (and by the way, is there a way to automatically skip over those files that say 'Being used by another person or program'? Every time the copying reached one of those, it would stop, so I was forced to arduously scroll down to the smallest directory to skip that file. It was a tedious process took me many many hours to complete. And yes, I entered some sort of automatic mood and copied EVERYTHING, including system files. When you do something that repetitive for hours on end, you stop paying attention to what you're copying.)
    -Thank you for the info about Vista. It's very strange that copies of Windows XP are selling for twice as much. There's only one question I have: Is there some inherent problem in switching to Vista? I mean, if I re-transfer all my data to an external hard-drive (sigh), then install Vista, update BIOS, all that jazz, then transfer data back to the hard-drive, will the data from before generally work? I understand that there are undoubtedly some compatibility issues with a few of my programs, I'm just worried about there being some inherent difference that would make ALL or most of my data invalid and unable to be used on Vista. Again, is there a difference in data compatibility if I get 64-Bit and my XP was 32-Bit? And finally, is there some list somewhere of programs that don't work on Vista? I would like to know (if I do make the jump) what programs I have that would I would have to re-download. Thanks.
  3. you cant just copy the contents of a hard drive with cut and paste .

    organise things so all your data files are in one large folder [ usually Documents or My documents ] and when you want to a back up I use Ctrl +a to select everything in that folder and cut and paste it all at once to an external drive .[ or where ever ]

    I would uninstall all the programs you dont use on gateway to create maximum room on it . Transfer all your data files to that hard drive. You can back up email files , and browser book marks as data files too so those wont be lost either

    Then make a fresh installation on the new computer /hard drive and once its all up and running with the motherboard drivers and gfx drivers etc then connect the data source drive and copy and paste the entire contents back into the documents folder .

    Windows pricing varies with whether or not you have an oem or retail version . Retail costs more but you can transfer it from one computer to another [ but only one at a time ], oem theoretically stays with one computer for life . That is the only difference .
    It wont matter to your data whether the OS is 64 bit or 32 bit .32 bit programs you own will also install fine so long as they are vista compatible . Most people should buy vista oem 64 home premium . Im not a fan of vista and it hasnt been that popular for MS so they are replacing it in a couple of months with windows 7
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee
    includes the upgrade to win 7 when its released .Price $110

    This is probably your best way to proceed IMO

    There are programs that can migrate the entire contents of a hard drive including the operating system, and acronis migrate easy even has a free 30 day trial but unless you have a windows disc [ as opposed to a gateway recovery disc ] you are still stuck
  4. Thank you for all your input. I'll seriously consider it. If anyone else has any ideas, feel free to contribute (there's time, as there's no point in ordering Vista tonight, as the earliest it could come would be Monday). Again, thanks Outlander.
  5. I'll add this to what outlander_04 has already said, which was some very good advice.
    You CANNOT upgrade a 32 bit system to a 64 bit system. The 64 bit OS will be a new fresh install.
    32 bit programs, applications, etc will work perfectly fine on a 64 bit OS, although you WILL have to reinstall them. Your saved data files, if you copy them to the drive with the new 64 Bit OS installed, will be fine.
    Let's say you have photoshop and microsoft excel files that you have saved on an old drive, under Windows XP 32 bit.
    You install 64 bit Vista or Windows 7 from scratch to a new drive.
    Install Photoshop and Microsoft Office to your new 64 bit OS.
    Notice there are not 64/32 bit versions of Photoshop or Office, it does not matter.
    Programs written for a 32 bit OS will work perfectly fine on a 64 bit OS.
    Then, you copy the files you saved on your old drive to your new drive, and your Photoshop and Excel files will open and work just fine.
    What will NOT work on a 64 bit OS, is any hardware you have installed in your computer that does not have a 64 bit driver. For instance, if you have a printer or scanner hooked up, make sure there is a 64 bit driver available for them, or they will NOT work.
    Same with everything else, all your HARDWARE. If your hardware is fairly new though, not more than 3 years old, there should be no worries at all, there should be 64 bit drivers for everything.
  6. cant u just download xp for free in piratebay
  7. And then you will get banned from this forum, not the brightest idea.

    I would suggest getting one of the linux cd's that you can run it off of and transfering your files to an external HDD while using that, then get vista off of newegg for 110

    At this point i would move on from XP, windows 7 is significantly better and you will have to do a clean install from Xp but you can upgrade from vista
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