View Full Version : [SOLVED] Moving windows HDD between PCs?

The Cog
April 24th, 2011, 08:49 PM
My wife and I have identical netbooks, but hers has just died. I am thinking of giving her mine and just transferring her hard disk into mine so she keeps all her settings and so on.

But is this possible, or will windows refuse to start if it finds itself on a different PC to the one it was installed on? The last thing I want to do is to try it an as a result, upset the windows so it refuses to start even if she manages to get her netbook hardware repaired.

April 24th, 2011, 09:05 PM
There shouldn't be any problems if all the hardware is just same and the biggest concern are the drivers. If the drivers match, nothing should stop running your Windows HDD on the other netbook. I've been doing this on desktops and it is possible.

You can backup your wife's HDD and then try to run it on your netbook. I am sure it would work but in case it doesn't and there are backups, you will lose nothing.

You can use clonezilla (http://clonezilla.org) for taking an image of whole of your wife's drive.

April 24th, 2011, 09:05 PM
What version of windows?

Should be fine with XP but not sure about Vista/Win7 as it somehow ties the os to the hardware if I'm not mistaken.

Either way I would give it a try.

April 24th, 2011, 09:10 PM
I definitely agree with sikander's suggestion that you first clone the drive as a precaution. Might be good to make a backup of the backup too; just in case.

The Cog
April 24th, 2011, 09:19 PM
Thanks for the thoughts.

This is XP we're talking about. Actually, it occurs to me that I put an extra 1G of RAM in mine, so they're no longer identical. But they are MSI wind clones. Advent 2112, I thnk.

I am worried that the windows might spot that it's on a different motherboard and think it's a pirate copy if I just move the hard disk across, and have a fit.

Good idea, I'll make a disk image just in case. Then I'll give it a try.

April 24th, 2011, 09:34 PM
This is XP we're talking about.

I'm 99% certain that you will be fine.

The Cog
April 25th, 2011, 10:43 AM
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. My netbook is now running Windows for the first time since the day I bought it. I'll correct that when hers is either repaired or replaced.

In the end, I put her disk in my machine and used dd to backup the drive, then put my disk back and restored onto that. So her machine is back together and ready to be examined - she has some kind of "support" contract on it.

April 25th, 2011, 01:16 PM
Excellent! Glad you got things sorted out :-)