Migrating a Win XP HDD to a new Laptop

By marcson98 ·
I would like to put the HDD from my old laptop (which has XP on it) into my new laptop. The new one has an XP sticker. Can it be done?

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It can be done but,

by IC-IT In reply to Migrating a Win XP HDD to ...

not legally and not without a repair (usually).
Legal issue - the license is an OEM license and is only authorized for use in the original laptop.

Repair issue - Unless the chipset is the same (or very similiar), you will need the XP disks to do a repair on the install.
You may not be able to find all the drivers you need for the new laptop to operate with XP.

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The legal issue

by marcson98 In reply to It can be done but,

Yeah, I was expecting to have to update the drivers and possibly other things uniquely related to the new laptop, but I didn't know about the legal issue. I thought the licence gave that particular machine the right to run that particular OS that the sticker represented. Then I was wondering about the phone call I was going to have to make to Microsoft in order to have them permanently activate the OS on the new laptop. But I mean, what happens when you buy a new laptop, without a HDD, and it has a licence sticker on it for some OS, and you want to stick your old HDD (with that OS) in it and just update the drivers. There probably are workarounds to this, by slightly modifying a configuration file somewhere, somehow, but I do try to be a law abiding citizen and not break the rules when my life is not hanging in the balance.
There are a lot of people out there selling computers without HDD's that would be very unhappy to know this.

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What license does the Dell have?

by IC-IT In reply to The legal issue

There may be/have been an option to downgrade the license?

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Read the EULA

by TheChas In reply to The legal issue

If you read through the Microsoft EULA for OEM software, the license is tied to the specific computer. Not the hard drive, not the Windows installation.

In short, you are given limited rights to use Windows. You do not own your copy of Windows in any manner.

Yes, you may be able to transfer a hard drive from one laptop to another if they are the same brand and at least similar models. However, the OEM branding has gotten pretty deep into things and you usually cannot boot up a hard drive from one manufactures system on a different brand system.

In theory, you should not be able to buy a "new" laptop with no hard drive and a Microsoft license sticker. That would violate the manufactures agreement with Microsoft and cost them a LOT. Sure, you might find a nearly new laptop where someone has pulled the hard drive. But, even then you cannot legally transfer an installed copy of Windows from one computer to another.

Now, if you purchase and install the full retail version of Windows, you do have some rights to transfer your installed system to new hardware. There are similar allowances for transfer with corporate editions too.


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Another Twist

by TheChas In reply to Migrating a Win XP HDD to ...

Another potential twist in your plan is that nearly all new laptops have eSATA hard drives. Depending on how old your existing laptop is it might have an IDE drive.

How about just using a link cable and performing a migration transfer of files and settings?

Sure, you may need to install some applications. But, that might be easier than making the old drive work in the new system.


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Both IDE systems

by marcson98 In reply to Another Twist

Yeah, they are both IDE systems. Both laptops are a few years old, but this new one I am building is quite servicable. It's a Dell C400 in pretty nice shape, with more than enough processing power and memory for the apps I will be running on it. The only problem is that it needs a HDD. I was thinking of just putting this other one that I allready have with Xp on it, with all of my files and programs, and then just fitting it in. Would I be able to transfer the files and settings to a new, blank, HDD I can put on it, or would it also have to have Xp allready installed in order to accept the transfer?

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Transfer Wizard

by TheChas In reply to Both IDE systems

The Windows Transfer wizard only transfers your files and settings. It will not transfer any installed applications.

I think Microsoft bought Aloha Bob a few years ago just to prevent application transfer between systems.


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In a related matter

by marcson98 In reply to Migrating a Win XP HDD to ...

I guess probably the best way will to be to just get an installation disk and do it properly. It will take a few nights to get all my stuff on it but that's not really such a big deal. I just wanted to avoid it if I could.

In a related matter though, I was wondering. It used to be back in the days of Windows 98, that if your system was starting to get clogged up and unstable from program installs that you could just go into the Cabs folder and trigger setup with a /pf switch. This would reinstall all your critical files to a 'factory state' but it would leave all of your programs, files, and settings alone just giving you a cleanly functioning system, without having to do a fresh install.

I was looking to do the same thing on Xp. I found an i386 file in the Windows Directory of over 500MB (approx) and I assume that these are the Xp installation files. But when I try to trigger the setup file it's no dice. It doesn't want to reinstall. Usually I use Drive Image or True Image for any recovery problems because they work so smoothly, but I would like to be able to refresh the system too. Iv'e never had occasion to use the System recovery disks in Xp, but would it be possible to use them (or some other means) somehow to access the i386 folder and setup with a switch of some kind to acheive these same ends. Namely, refreshing the bulk of the system files so that if there is anything wrong with or corrupt with any of them that they will be renewed.

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System File Checker

by TheChas In reply to In a related matter

XP has a built in utility called System File Checker. Just search your XP help menu for details. With SFC, you can restore damaged or corrupt system files from your XP CD.

The issue you will run into is that you are very apt to have service packs installed that are newer than your XP CD. If so, you need to create a new XP install CD with the service pack "slip-streamed" onto it. Just search either here at TR, or on the web for slip-stream to find articles on how to create a slip-stream disk.


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Good Idea

by marcson98 In reply to System File Checker

I learned about SFC in a class I took but I'd forgotten about all about it. I used its equivalent on 98SE, but when I didn't see something like it on the System Information/Tools tab with Xp I just forgot about it. That should work exactly like what I was looking for. Thanks for the help.

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