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Putting old hard drive in new computer

By jeremy ·
I just bought a new case/mobo/chip/ram/vid card and wish to put the hard drive in my existing computer in the new one without having to reformat. Will this work or do I HAVE to reformat? Would be great if I could just plug it in, install the new drivers and keep on going. Let me know.

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by darren In reply to Putting old hard drive in ...

I recently did the same and upon boot up XP kindly informed me that the hardware had changed (it was right!), unfortunately it refused to boot up and I had to reformat and reinstall XP to get it to work.

However also recently we did have a PC that broke (the power switch broke!) we took the HD out and put it straight into another PC and it worked perfectly! Despite the two PCs having slightly different hardware.

I'd say give it a try, but expect to reformat/reinstall XP, heck you have to put the harddrive in the case anyway so at most you'll lose 5 minutes!

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by VinnyD In reply to Putting old hard drive in ...

This all depends on the hardware configuration of the new box your putting the hard drive in.

With Win 95 or 98 it is possible to do and get it work. With Win 2K or Win XP they are very picky!

The video card is a major item that must work or even if the computer boots you may not be able to see anything. The mother board as well can cause problems.

I have successfully done this with a Win 2K Pro system once, but the computers did have the same bios mfg and the same video card.

Another one I tried was very different and would not work upon boot up cause me to have to reinstall Win 2K over again to get the computer to function.

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by TheChas In reply to Putting old hard drive in ...

The Microsoft "supported" procedure to move an existing XP installation to new hardware is to:

Backup the system.

Format the hard drive and install XP fresh on the new hardware.

Restore from the backup.

Here are a couple of web sites that offer alternate suggestions.

Whatever you do, make sure that you back up ALL critical files and settings. This includes your address book and ISP account settings.


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