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Building new AMD system, Using Harddrive from old Intel

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November 14, 2009 1:44:35 AM

Okay, I've got all the components to build my new computer here, just one question... My old computer used an Intel processor, and I just got the AMD Phenom II 720 X3 and new motherboard, video card and RAM. Can I use my old harddrives as they are in my new computer? They have Windows XP Professional and all my programs, etc. on them. One HD is my main 400GB with everything on it, the second is a 500GB with Windows XP installed, and I backed up lots of the files from the main drive in case I got a virus, etc. Not much in the way of programs, just mainly files.

Now I want to assemble my new system:
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8 GHz tripple-core CPU
Gigabyte GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 Mobo
Gigabyte GV-R467ZL-1GI Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3
G.SKILL 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR3 1600
Zalman CNPS9700 LED 110mm CPU Cooler

I'm wanting to keep my old harddrives, CD/DVD drives, OCZ 610 Watt power supply and the case, which are all good.

Can I use my harddrives as is? Or do I need to reformat my current slave (500GB) and start from scratch with installing everything to make it run right, then add the old main HD (400GB with all my programs) later? Maybe making that my main again and the other slave (that would be what I really want in the long run).
I've been told that with XP I might be able to reconfigure the whole computer, boot it up and it may work. I don't want to screw up my main harddrive (if that could happen), but I REALLY WANT TO PUT MY NEW COMPUTER TOGETHER TONIGHT!!
November 14, 2009 1:54:50 AM

You will need to repair or reinstall windows, its safest just to reinstall to avoid flakiness in the future, the data HDD should still work properly.
November 14, 2009 1:58:16 AM

I recommend doing a fresh install on your "slave" hard drive. Being a new platform, new MOBO... etc., you will have all kinds of BSOD or BOOT issues, if you don't do a fresh install.

You would've been better suited buying a new SATA hard drive like the Samsung Spinpoint F3 upfront for your build. It would've increased your system's overall speed.

edit: hunter315 beat me to the punch... :p 
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November 14, 2009 2:23:11 AM

I believe the 500GB is a SATA drive, its a Hitachi HDS7250SASUN500G. I just did a Google search and looks to be. I think I will start with that drive only in the computer after I build it in the new form. If I leave it with the stuff on it and start the computer with the Windows XP install disk should I be able to reformat the drive and install from that disk?
November 14, 2009 2:29:26 AM

Also, I am planning on basically putting my "old computer" back together in another case, using the main components with the other case, power supply and CD/DVD drives in that box. I can then use the main 400 GB harddrive and the same components in hopes of having a stable backup computer in case it takes a while to get the new one working right... I have a project that needs to be completed in the next few days and I'm hoping to do okay with at least one of the computers to do that.
November 14, 2009 9:41:30 AM

Mad Dog Doug said:
If I leave it with the stuff on it and start the computer with the Windows XP install disk should I be able to reformat the drive and install from that disk?

Yes, you will be able to install and reformat your drive from your XP disk.
November 14, 2009 1:58:26 PM

Here it is in steps:

1. Copy any data from your current Windows drive over to your secondary drive
2. Power down and disconnect your secondary drive
3. Insert the Windows CD
4. DELETE and FORMAT (FULL, NTFS) then Install Windows
5. Windows Updates
6. Drivers (Video, audio. Possibly ethernet, mainboard etc)
7. Power down and reconnect your secondary drive
8. Backup your Windows drive if possible using a program like Acronis True Image
9. Continue installing programs, tweaking settings
10. When happy, create another backup
11. Create a folder on you primary drive
12. Copy everything from your secondary drive (temporarily)
13. Do a FULL FORMAT of the secondary drive (checks for bad sectors)
14. Copy everything BACK again, then DELETE the folder on your main hard drive
15. DONE!
November 15, 2009 5:44:58 AM

photonboy said:
Here it is in steps:

1. Copy any data from your current Windows drive over to your secondary drive
2. Power down and disconnect your secondary drive
3. Insert the Windows CD
4. DELETE and FORMAT (FULL, NTFS) then Install Windows
5. Windows Updates
6. Drivers (Video, audio. Possibly ethernet, mainboard etc)
7. Power down and reconnect your secondary drive
8. Backup your Windows drive if possible using a program like Acronis True Image
9. Continue installing programs, tweaking settings
10. When happy, create another backup
11. Create a folder on you primary drive
12. Copy everything from your secondary drive (temporarily)
13. Do a FULL FORMAT of the secondary drive (checks for bad sectors)
14. Copy everything BACK again, then DELETE the folder on your main hard drive
15. DONE!


Thank you for a thorough reply! You took some time with that and I appreciate it.
I need to clarify a little:
I currently have the primary and secondary drives in my old machine. I have all the important stuff on the primary, and I copied the important stuff onto my secondary and installed Windows XP for whatever reason I thought at the time...

My desire was to install the old HD's into my new system and, presto chango, have those HD's work with a little updating of drivers, etc. Seems that is not likely to succeed very well from what I have read. In the end I figure maybe I should keep my current primary drive in my old system (soon to be back-up computer), and build the new computer using my secondary 500GB SATA drive as the new primary.

So, the next best thing is to maybe do the following?:

Take the secondary drive currently in my old machine, build my new machine, stick in the secondary drive, format it and freshly install windows, then do windows updates, install the drivers for all the new components and tweak it to get it to run right from scratch.
Then install the programs I need, like on my old machine, and then (possibly) hook up the old primary as a secondary drive, in order to transfer all the data from my old to the new.
Q.Will my new machine run with my old primary hooked up, even though it is all set up with Windows XP and has all the drivers for my old machine? I figure as long as I don't try to boot from that drive I should be okay??
Then I want to put my old primary back in the old computer and keep it as a back-up computer.

Another option is a I have an empty formatted 120GB drive that I could use to put all the stuff from my old computer on, and install that as my new secondary, and then just transfer what I want to the new primary. What thinkest thou?? Thanks again, Doug
November 15, 2009 11:21:56 AM

Q. --- Yes, your old primary will work in your new PC as a secondary drive, once you have your old secondary reformated as your primary on your new PC. Just make sure you boot sequence is set so it won't boot from your old primary when you install it.
November 15, 2009 8:00:46 PM

Hi again,
- keep a copy of the list I had you as a reference guide
- Moving a drive from one computer usually produces some glitches or won't start at all. I suppose you could try it, but fresh installs are always recommended.
- You should really do a fresh installation if posssible.
- You should use your best drive for Windows.

Two important points:
1) Windows Activation. There are TWO legal ways to get a copy of Windows. One is to go buy the FULL version of the shelf and the other is to obtain an "OEM" version. The OEM version is normally meant for companies building systems but it's now common and legal to build one yourself. The cost is quite different.

What is the difference between FULL and OEM?
An OEM copy must stay with that computer. When you Activate Windows with Microsoft, a "snapshot" of your computer is made. You may have to re-activate if it changes too much. The critical component is the motherboard but I've heard cases of people replacing the motherboard and Microsoft allowing re-activation. A FULL version costs a lot more but can be re-used (at least twice, I can't remember the number). Considering OEM is usually half the price or less it seems silly to buy a FULL version, especially when the older computer is left without a copy of Windows.

So, if you move a hard drive to a new computer and it's OEM Windows, even if it works with a few driver changes it's probable Microsoft will not allow it and it stop being usable.

Prebuilt systems use OEM Windows.

2) Backup Images. This has saved me a lot of pain and frustration. I use Acronis True Image and make an "Image" of my C-Drive which contains Windows and the programs I installed on it. Here's an example of what I do:
a) make a snapshot after a FRESH install AND Activation of Windows (Activate so restoring doesn't require reactivation. An OEM copy can't be moved but it also has only three or so reactivations so watch out. An Image allows unlimited "reinstalls".)
b) make a snapshot after MOST of my programs and settings are done
c) Make a third snapshot after 95% of my stuff is done

Now I can restore to any of these three. They all reside on my SECOND hard drive.
!