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If I were to order a totally new PC without a hard disk from a local supplier, and then take the hard disk from the old machine and simply fit it in the new one, how likely is it that the new machine will boot successfully, recognize the new hardware, and avoid the need for doing a complete reinstall? Does this sound like a feasible plan?
I've had a lot of success with this, and a lot of failures.
I still can't get my new machine (old hard drive) to recognize my wireless card.
Yeah, I know this is an ambiguous answer...
You want to know the kicker? They were identical machines - spec-wise. One is branded Dell, the other is a no-brand homebuilt. The drives are both Maxtor, one 80gb, one 120gb, with XPPro SP-1 working installs....
50/50 *shrug*. Flip the coin, bro.
[Edit: be VERY sure you get the bios set up right though! If you're building the new machine yourself, fine; but if you're ordering a "one up from barebones" without the hdd, the bios will most likely need tweaking.]
Backup your data
Take out your hard drive and put it in your new machine
Wipe the drive
And Install windows
NO MESS fresh start
Remember windows likes to be awkward!
You may be able to hook up the drive and boot from the WinXP CD and re-install over it without losing any settings/software installs. I didn't even try it (formatted and re-installed everything).
Boot XP into safe mode on your old PC, go into hardware device manager and remove all drivers, exit and shut down.
Put drive into new PC and let it boot, have driver disks ready for new hardware.