Installing old hard drive on new computer

  Splodge 14:33 18 Sep 2008

Good Afternoon;

I have a Sony about 6 years old. It works well,had some upgrading, but I now feel that I would be better buying a new base with the latest components installed and without a screen and no operating system.

The trouble is, I have masses of programs on the old computer which work well together and although I have tried, on a new second hard drive, to duplicate the settings as an exercise I just do not seem to be able to adjust them correctly.

My question is, if I remove my old hard drive, with its own XP system and all the programs, will the new computer accept it and run it as if it had been individually installed?

I know I will have to contact Microsoft to get it authenticated but so I would if I replaced the motherboard etc.

Help would be appreciated.

  crosstrainer 14:37 18 Sep 2008

Simple answer NO! A new machine has totally different hardware configuration, and will need a fresh copy of Windows installed.

You can however install the old drive after windows is installed and copy across your data to the new machine. Your programmes will all have to re-installed though.

  Mr Mistoffelees 14:43 18 Sep 2008

In a word, no.

All hardware related registry keys will be wrong and all the drivers would have to be replaced. It would take a long time to get it running smoothly. It may not run at all. I think starting from scratch, with a fresh install, is the only practical solution.

  Splodge 14:49 18 Sep 2008

Yes thanks crosstrainer.

However, I installed a new copy of an OEM XP onto a different drive on my computer and was able to find the missing audio programs by searching the net.
Would be possible to copy the relevant programs on the supplied OEM onto a disk and transfer it to the old drive.

  crosstrainer 14:53 18 Sep 2008

No, for the same reasons posted above.

You must perform clean installs of the software to write the correct registry values, or the application(s) will not work. For this, you need the original installation disk's.

Maybe you would be better off buying a new machine with software of your choice? You don't need to buy a complete package, many companies will do this on a "Base unit only" sale. Ask for the disk's for all software prior to purchase.

Also remember that if you are going to be using Vista, that many old applications will not run without updates anyway.

  Splodge 15:00 18 Sep 2008

crosstrainer; Mr Mistoffelees:
thanks for that!

  DieSse 16:17 18 Sep 2008

What programs do you need - there may be free or low cost alternatives which will serve you well.

For instance OpenOffice (free) has word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentation) which is compatible (and looks pretty familiar on-screen) with MS Office.

click here

There may be many others too, if you let us know.

  woodchip 16:20 18 Sep 2008

I recommend what is above, BUT you could try fitting the drive then Set Bios to start from CD as first boot device, then start with XP CD and choose install,it should then search the disc and show you that a OS is already on the Drive click the one it finds then press R for Repair. You will need to load all Drivers for the New Hardware after repair if the above works

  Splodge 17:07 18 Sep 2008


Please read my first post. I have ALL the programs I want and they work together well!
I cannot, on a new install (using a new OEM XP) get the same compatability however much I try. I was able to find and install the lacking drivers by searching the net and on the original installation disk.

The problem is possibly the SEQUENCE in which I installed or reinstalled them over about 5 years.

I was trying to by-pass that agony by putting an original Hard Drive fully loaded in place of the new hard drive. I can in any case copy it, using Acronis, if the new Hard Drive is larger.

I believe I can find the missing Drivers by searching the Net since I will have the Specification of the new system. For instance I will make sure that I get a new computer with the same type of Motherboard...


Your suggestion has great merit, I may try that using a spare hard drive and installing the new OEM XP which I also have. Since I have plenty of time and 3 hard drives plus an external I am able to switch them around to suit.

Thanks all for your input, between you I think I have a result!

  Splodge 00:51 19 Sep 2008

Just to report back!

I copied my current hard drive to the spare, then I ran the OEM XP disk.

I did not have the hoped for success. For one thing I got sidetracked because it offered the "Repair" option on the first screen. It took me a while, and several tries to realise I had to ignore that and go forward to "Install". At that point you get the offer again to Repair and it then goes forward.

I have all the latest updates installed up to XP3 and the screen tells you that the new installation is older than the new one. But it does start and begins to delete files.

Here is where I made mistakes. It detects the Audio drivers and you can OK it but, it then asked me to insert the XP2 disk to install a number of files in i386. It took some time to realise that it is not necessary because the file is already in Windows and it gives the option to replace with an older version. So some errors on my part there.

Finally having mucked things a bit, and having imputted the new Key details the computer re-started but only showed my Screensaver. It does not allow access and says I must Authenticate it with Microsoft. But, saying either yes or no leads to shut-down. There is no way of authenticating the system.

Tomorrow I will re-install my current set-up again and with the knowledge gained this time, try again. I suspect though it is not going to let me use it.

Hope this helps others!

  DieSse 10:03 19 Sep 2008

I would suggest you "slipstream" SP3 into your new SP2 OEM copy of XP.

This is very simple to do using Autostreamer. You get a new XP CD which has SP3 already incorporated, and so will not try to revert your OS to the earlier version.

Trying to do a repair install to an SP3 installation with an SP2 CD is fraught with "gotchas"

Autostreamer click here

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