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Old March 22nd, 2004, 07:50 PM   #1
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Swap a hard drive between XP systems?

I'm having a new editing PC built, and I'd like to transfer the secondary hard drive from my current PC to the new one. Both machines are running the same version of Windows XP. What steps are involved? The shop wants to charge an extra $35 to install my old drive in the new system, but for $100 I can get a brand new drive put in. I don't want to have to mess with the new computer's BIOS for fear of making it unstable and undermining the builder's burn-in process. If the shop did it, I'd be guaranteed a stable system from the start.

Any recommendations?
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Old March 22nd, 2004, 08:28 PM   #2
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Well it's hard to know, cause it comes down to your paranoia. If plugging a secondary HD into a new machine is going to cause problems with the machine, I wouldn't buy it. A new seconday drive in a machine shouldn't be a problem - Windows Xp will just detect it and you'll be away. There are potential intracacies here, about what channel it's on and all that, but basically you'll have little problems with modern gear.

If you were plugging in your old boot disk then sure that might be an issue and you'd want to Sysprep it with the right options for IDE chipset reenumeration etc but in this case I wouldn't bother.

I build all my, and my wifes, and our family's PC's and so I'm confident about something as simple as a drive but you might not be.


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Old March 22nd, 2004, 08:48 PM   #3
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It shouldn't give you any trouble, as long as the system is configured and windows is installed and stable before this old drive is plugged in. Then the first thing you want to do is delete the Windows folder from that old drive so that there is no opportunity for confusion in your new OS that this old OS drive is not actually an OS but just data.

I can't tell from your post, but is your PC builder suggesting that if you have them install this old drive they will not guarantee their work? If that is the case then it looks like you don't have an option. One thing I would recommend you do in this case is just take this drive and buy an external firewire/usb2 drive case and install it in there and plug it in and do whatever you want with it. Firewire is plenty fast - I capture video directly to an external firewire drive all the time. Actually as I write this I'm capturing an entire tape in just this fashion.
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Old March 22nd, 2004, 08:59 PM   #4
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Ok I was assuming you weren't going to put your old system drive into the new machine and use it as just a second drive. If you are then I take it the new drive wasn't a cloned version of the old drive and was installed from scratch? If it was a cloned version you will have trouble with the disk signature bytes and Windows XP will get confused in a hurry. I have done it accidentally before.

If it's installed from scratch but is still your old system drive, then if you're really worried, remove the Windows folder as Imran said, but also remove the active partition bit on the partition table of the old boot partition. You should be fine though and things will probably work without a hitch.

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Old March 23rd, 2004, 08:41 AM   #5
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Right the first time, Aaron

Aaron and Imran,

Thank you for the quick responses!

Aaron, you were correct in assuming the HDD I want to install is an auxilary drive, NOT a system drive. There has never been, nor will be, an operating system running from the tranplanted HDD. The new PC will have a brand new C: drive with a new OEM version of Windows XP SP1 installed. The drive I want to install will be E: or F: or something, as the DVD+/-RW drive will likely be D:.

Won't I need to have the motherboard BIOS detect the drive before first booting into Windows?

Will I need a driver disk (it's a Western Digital WD1200JB)?

Or will the Install New Hardware Wizard automatically detect the transplanted drive at startup?

Will I need to reformat?

Thanks again!

Tim
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Old March 23rd, 2004, 09:56 AM   #6
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Just get your new system stable and running.

Then turn off the computer and install the new drive as, say, primary slave to your main drive. Or secondary master or secondary slave will be fine too. Just remember to set jumpers appropriately on the drive.

On startup your BIOS should auto-detect with no issues.

When Windows starts up you will know if all went according to best-case scenario. Drivers are not needed. If it did go according to best-case scenario, you should be able to get to the drive right then (Windows will determine what drive letter it feels like giving it - it will probably bump the DVD drive down and give the HD its spot)

At this point you'll want to right-click on My Computer in your Start menu and select Manage.

Select Disk Management and you should see the drive somewhere there. Right-clicking on the drive's box in the area on the bottom right should give you various options including Format, etc. From here if you have further questions, hit F1 and the Help will show you the answers.

If the above best-case scenario doesn't work, you can always post back here.
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Old March 23rd, 2004, 03:59 PM   #7
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Thank you.

Thank you, Imran. I feel a lot better now. I installed this drive and a DVD burner in my current Pentium III system, and never had a problem with either drive (other than having to download and install Intel Application Accelerator to get my 2nd hard drive to run in DMA Mode 5). I guess I'm just nervous because this will be a brand new computer and I don't have much room in my schedule for down time. (Who does?)
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