Best approach would be to copy the drive contents from one to another using Acronis, Paragon drive copy or something similar then swapping them. That way not only is the transposition likely to be unnoticed, but you`ll get anything that Dell may have put in hidden partitions for the reload. click here for a similar thread. Could also be worth checking out the website of the drive manufacturer, some of them host suitable copy software there
The XP cd will see the new hard drive and format to ntfs and re install xp. Yopu can opt for the fast format to NTFS. Download SP 3 1st and put onto a cd and as soon as the format has finished you can install sp3. click here
Some people put sp2 on 1st and that takes a long time, but sp3 is a round up of all the old updates, so it seems logical to just install SP 3
Windows XP Product Application key uses various components to identify your PC and permit it to function without your being questioned/required to activate it. The activation will allow a number of changes (I think it`s three) before you will be required to reactivate.
My WPA doesn`t use the hard drive details as one of the items so I am able to change drives with impunity, however if yours does you need to be aware of the fact. If you want to check which components are used and how many items have been changed, I suggest you use XPInfo click here. Simply unpack it and double click the icon. You can keep it on you drive for future use; I keep mine in Programs for convenience.
I've got only Dell machines in the office and over the past two years I have replace the hard drive in three of them. These were not drives supplied by Dell, but were bought retail in the high street. In every case the supplied Dell CD worked without any problem.