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Swapping hard drives

I've just been trying to think my way through this one and it seems too easy, so there's probably a catch.
I have an old small form factor pc under my TV running xp. I have a NAS drive (Seagate GoFlex) where I store TV progs, films, ski videos,etc which I can then watch on my TV through the pc. It's not brilliant but it works so I don't want to change it at the moment.
The xp is a concern. It's working fine at the moment but as it's networked I can't isolate it from the internet. So I've been planning ahead.
Recently I junked an old computer, but not before I took the hard drive out. And I stood there looking at the hard drive, with it's Vista OS, thinking couldn't I just swap hard drives? It's not like I store anything on this pc. Security is all stuff I downloaded from www.snapfiles.com, I have a copy of Open Office, a Chrome browser, Dropbox and various media players.
Is this as easy as it sounds or are there other things to think about?
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More about swapping hard drives
  1. Not even remotely easy as it seems, unfortunately. In some cases yes, but in others it can be painful.

    Swapping a system drive with another system drive often results in a machine not being able to boot or BSOD. The reason? This new Vista hard drive will have preinstalled drivers for a whole different hardware (from the machine this hard drive was installed before), as well as various other software configurations, registry settings...

    You can certainly try - sometimes it will work, but you have to reinstall all drivers later (this time for your old machine). Booting in safe mode sometimes helps, and uninstalling drivers from there. in other cases, you cant even boot to safe mode, so the only remaining thing is a complete OS reinstall.

    Whatever you do, make sure that your old machine is at least capable to run Vista (enough RAM, and in case of 64 bit Vista, is the CPU 64 bit at all). And prepare drivers for Vista for your old machine - if they exist at all.
  2. herrwizo said:
    Not even remotely easy as it seems, unfortunately. In some cases yes, but in others it can be painful.

    Swapping a system drive with another system drive often results in a machine not being able to boot or BSOD. The reason? This new Vista hard drive will have preinstalled drivers for a whole different hardware (from the machine this hard drive was installed before), as well as various other software configurations, registry settings...

    You can certainly try - sometimes it will work, but you have to reinstall all drivers later (this time for your old machine). Booting in safe mode sometimes helps, and uninstalling drivers from there. in other cases, you cant even boot to safe mode, so the only remaining thing is a complete OS reinstall.

    Whatever you do, make sure that your old machine is at least capable to run Vista (enough RAM, and in case of 64 bit Vista, is the CPU 64 bit at all). And prepare drivers for Vista for your old machine - if they exist at all.
  3. Thanks herrwizo. Thought there might be a catch. I thought the drivers came with the OS? Will they be there but need re installing or will I have to download them online?
    I get what you mean. I may be successful but I'll probably be a long time about it.
  4. Best answer
    No problem, mate. If you need anything more, just ask ;)
  5. henzerani said:
    Thanks herrwizo. Thought there might be a catch. I thought the drivers came with the OS? Will they be there but need re installing or will I have to download them online?
    I get what you mean. I may be successful but I'll probably be a long time about it.


    The main issue usually stems from the way the HDD is accessed by the OS. IDE or AHCI if it is set to connect via AHCI then the computer you are moving it to should be using a similar AHCI chipset (Intel, AMD, etc) and be set to AHCI in the bios. The other large issue is proprietary drivers for OEM manufacturers (Dell, HP, etc) a lot of devices for those machines are given specific drivers that they keep on their website and rarely ever do they provide updated drivers for newer OS's. The last issue is that Windows only provides a set of basic drivers with the OS it comes with a large amount of drivers but it is by no means comprehensive.
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