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MS Operating System Requirement

By steve ·
One requirement I have had for years and still no solution to my knowledge is the ability to upgrade to newer quicker PC hardware while simply taking out my HDD from old computer, plugging it into the new computer and away I go without all the blue screen rubbish.

A function like this may not be as sexy as an Aero display and requires a lot of low level hard work but I still think it is overdue.

When you make an installation from scratch, MS has to go searching through your hardware and installing basic drivers as required to get you going, why cant they have an option that can be invoked that is capable of doing this when you upgrade your hardware normally, thus avoiding a blue screen and then installing and prompting you as required through the procedure.

It strikes me this area of the Operating System has hardly changed and is desperate for a re-design.

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No Incentive

by TheChas In reply to MS Operating System Requi ...

First of all, what is the incentive for Microsoft or any other OS source to write an OS that is easy to port to different hardware?

In the eyes of Microsoft, if you move your hard drive with Windows installed on it to a new computer, that is a lost sale of a new copy of Windows!

Further, while the basic concept sounds simple, the implementation would be very complex. Perhaps the biggest problem of making Windows more portable is the fact that many devices do not enumerate what they are until the drivers are installed.

I work a lot with some very complex computer configurations. Even with all of the hardware the same, we can not rely on being able to move a hard drive from one system to another.

On a practical level, the situation has improved significantly since the days of Windows NT. With NT, you had to be very careful when just replacing a modem or NIC card in a computer. There was no chance of having a hard drive with NT installed boot with different hardware.

One trick that does work most of the time with Windows 2000 and XP is to boot into Safe Mode the very first time you boot up the drive in a different system. If the hardware is not radically different, you will usually get a good boot and then be able to move on to a normal boot and update the device drivers.

On a secondary level, there is the issue of the details of the license terms for your installed copy of Windows. If you have an OEM license of Windows, per the EULA, that license is restricted to the original computer. You are NOT allowed to transfer that copy of Windows to a different computer at all.

Even if you are using an upgrade version of Windows, you may be restricted to the hardware that the older copy of Windows that you upgraded was installed on.

My point with both new computers and licensing is that the number of Windows license holders who can validly move a Windows installation to a different computer and who might want to do that is very small compared to the new computer market. Therefore, there is no profit or marketing incentive for Microsoft to put the effort into making it easier to transfer a Windows installation to different hardware.

Finally, since Microsoft is looking to move computer software from a purchased item to a subscription model, the concept of moving the installed software onto different hardware is less and less in line with the direction of their business model.


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Thanks for that nifty safe mode tip.

by boxfiddler Moderator In reply to No Incentive

Definitely appreciate that.

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Interesting Points

by steve In reply to No Incentive

I agree with most of what you say and I accept that from the position we are now it is a daunting task to accomplish without a significant financial incentive.

On the OEM license point, I wonder what the definition of a new PC would be ? What if you have to replace the Mainboard only or perhaps the processor ?

A complete re-installation is likely to take me around a week to complete before I had everything back to "normal" and I am sure there would be lost application settings bugging me for sometime's an awful prospect and one operating system upgrade that I would happily race to pay for as opposed to my apathy for Vista having experienced it on my laptop for the last year.


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Have you tried...

by JackOfAllTech In reply to MS Operating System Requi ...

setting all the drivers back to the XP standard built-in versions, booting into safe mode, then shutting down before moving the drive?

BTW, it's much better to re-install - Then the registry isn't cluttered with old usless junk.

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Or have you tried

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Have you tried...

Installing the old HD in the new system, booting from the Windows CD before you allow the system to boot from the HD, and running the Repair option to let Windows detect the hardware and attempt to update the drivers?

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No I haven't

by steve In reply to Or have you tried

No I haven't tried that trick but it will be interesting to give it a go ! Thanks

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