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Posted: 2/18/2006 9:23:34 AM EDT
My wife has always got my hand me down specials when I tire of a computer and decide to build a new one. This time, while she is away, I want to build her a new one. Fry's Electronics has a great special right now for a Motherboard CPU combo: Pentium 506 (2.66/533/1mbL2) and an ECS motherboard for $109. My question is this: Can I migrate the existing XP install and all hardware to the new MB/CPU without losing any data? When I upgrade, I usually reformat the drives. My wife has a lot of digital camera pictures and favorites that I don't want to wipe out in a reformat. I know XP allows for a few upgrades per install but I just don't want to muck this up. My wife doesn't need a screaming machine with PCI express and 2GB or RAM. Occassional Photoshop and mostly web surfing, and Hallmark Card Studio.

Thanks in advance
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:25:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2006 9:27:00 AM EDT by sixgunsblazing]
motherboard/CPU swap is usually a big No-No as far as keeping windows running. You probably won't lose any data, but I'm sure you'll have to do a re-install.

ETA, why don't you just buy another cheap harddrive for the windows install and use the old one as storage?
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:26:05 AM EDT
I was able to make it work a couple of times, but ended up reformatting down the road.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:26:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2006 9:29:06 AM EDT by Paul]
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:28:14 AM EDT
Even a change in videocard and memory will force a reactivation. IIRC changing a hard drive controller (IE a motherboarD) will probably require you to do a "Repair" install with windows, which should cause NO loss of data.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:28:17 AM EDT
A major hardware change like that is going to necessitate a fresh install. It can be made to work, but it's more trouble than it's worth. Just save her pictures, etc on another drive and start over. It's faster. Really.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:30:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2006 9:31:31 AM EDT by MillerSHO]
Do an reinstall to a different directory or overwrite the existing windows directory and leave the file system intact(no changes).

You may have to dig through your old profile (like the my docs dir) in the "documents and settings" folder and move some files to the new my docs directory.

In the end it's just better to backup your stuff and format.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 9:56:43 AM EDT
Bingo! I just found an old 40GB lying around. I'm going to get a USB enclosure and migrate her files over there and wipe the existing drive and reinstall. That HD needs a fresh start . Thanks all. I have a feeling there will be something I missed to move and my wife will be pissed....oh well, she got a new CPU/MOBO, right
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:01:22 AM EDT
Windows 98 and before and the whole registry takes a dump if you try and put a HD into a different MB setup. Nothing but trouble. With win2k and winxp I have not had major issue. It is still much better to do a clean install but it is not nearly as bad as it used to be.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:25:00 AM EDT
I've moved HDs to new MB/CPU combos with minimal trouble in the past. Just make sure all your drivers are handy for the new hardware.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 10:52:55 AM EDT
There used to be a big thread in the Windows forum at arstechnica on how to move an XP install drive to a different computer, what all steps were necessary/advisable. It was a sticky but isn't now, but it's still in there somewhere.
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