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New desktop pc

Posted by: Paul D.      4 Dec 2009 @ 11:12
New desktop pc

Hi
Is there any reason why I can't buy a new PC without an operating system, transfer my existing hard drive and fire her up?
I know BIOS settings may need fiddling with so my drive is the master, or is this too simple?
Any help or suggesting would be appreciated.
Thanks

Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      4 Dec 2009 @ 11:22
RE: New desktop pc

many some technical some legal
1) assuming your copy of windows was preinstalled by the maker, then its an OEM copy and not transferrable
2) windows activation would cause problems
3) driver / HAL issues may stop teh drive booting
4) If its an IDE drive the new machine may only have SATA connectors

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      4 Dec 2009 @ 11:23
RE: New desktop pc

just to clarify
1) assuming your copy of windows was preinstalled by the maker, then its an OEM copy and not transferrable

all you own is a licence to use the software on one specified machine. You do not legally own the software and so cannot use it on another

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Reply by: Paul D.      4 Dec 2009 @ 11:44
RE: New desktop pc

OS not OEM, not pre-installed, my own copy and I wpould only be using it on the new machine.

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Reply by: David R H. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Sutton, SM1      4 Dec 2009 @ 12:29
RE: New desktop pc

In that case it will *probably* work (assuming, as John said, that the disc interfaces match).

On the old machine, change the video card driver to a standard VGA driver. Boot it into safe mode, start device manager, set it to show *all* devices; delete the graphics card (I'm assuming the new MoBo will have a different one)& uninstall its drivers; Delete any other devices that won't be on the new MoBo (except the discs & controllers, kbd & mouse & leave all system devices alone).

Move the disc to the new MoBo, adjust BIOS as required & boot. It may take quite a while & you will get a raft of messages about installing new hardware as it finds the system chips on the board. You may have to reboot several times during this phase.

When it's all settled down, install the MoBo drivers, then the new graphics card drivers, then any other drivers (e.g. scanner).

I've done this many times and it *usually* works but there are no guarantees. I have seen this completely FUBAR the registry. The worst case (and it is a nuisance) is that you'd have to do a clean install of Windows & all your apps again :{

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Reply by: Paul D.      4 Dec 2009 @ 12:40
RE: New desktop pc

Ok, so no guarantees!!!! Is there a better way to get everything on the new pc without re-installing everything :( ?
Thanks

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      4 Dec 2009 @ 12:43
RE: New desktop pc

We are beating about the bush not saying which version of Windows you have. If it were XP you can follow the procedure given here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824125 for replacing a failed motherboard. This would not work for Vista. However note Jon's point 4, your old hard drive may not be compatible with the new PC and the motherboard on a new PC will not necessarily have drivers for your old operating system. If your old hard drive is not SATA II then it may become the bottleneck that limits your computer performance

It is also quite hard to buy a PC without an operating system at a good price. Have you considered placing a job request via PCIQ for someone to supply you with a new computer incorporating the contents of your old hard drive, possible cloned to a newer physical drive so they take on the responsibility to make it work? I would certainly offer a quote for such a job if you happened to be in my area.

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      4 Dec 2009 @ 12:46
RE: New desktop pc

I had not read Davis's reply but (dare I say this?) I think Microsoft's mehtod is better than the one David advocates. However, you may need to take special precautions when changing from an Intel CPU to an AMD CPU.

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Reply by:  .      4 Dec 2009 @ 12:51
RE: New desktop pc

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Reply by: Paul D.      4 Dec 2009 @ 13:48
RE: New desktop pc

OS would be XP and e-buyer have some very reasonable pc's without OS's installed. I have Acronis True Image but I can't imagine it's as easy as cloning the old drive to the new one.
Thanks for your suggestions

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      4 Dec 2009 @ 14:44
RE: New desktop pc

1) Clone the old drive to the new one
2) Follow the Microsoft procedure to replace a failed motherboard in the link I gave earlier.
3) Stop using the old hard drive (or the computer on which it was installed).
4) Be prepared to reactivate Windows by telephone.

That should do the trick. BUT you will need to make sure the motherboard is not so new that it does not have XP drivers.

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      4 Dec 2009 @ 14:59
RE: New desktop pc

Oh, and of course you will have to download (if they did not come on a disk with the computer) and install the XP drivers after completing steps 1 to 4.

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      4 Dec 2009 @ 20:03
RE: New desktop pc

one other point - before doing the clome go into add/remove programs and uninstall ALL software that relates to driver hardware
graphics / sound / chipst / audio / TV card etc
Take them all out. The more yo can get rid off, the less the chance of the wrong drivers installing on the new PC

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Reply by: David R H. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Sutton, SM1      4 Dec 2009 @ 21:14
RE: New desktop pc

Alan - you may be right :) However, I have hasd that method screw up a system because it does not always roll back *all* the bits of Windows and so you get old bits from the CD & new bits from the updates. My method allows the existing installation to ask for new drivers for devices it can't find itself & you can supply these from the installation CD or any other suitable source. Once that's all finished, look in device Manager & see if there are any drivers still missing then install as required. Bear in mind that with modern system chipsets, many devices won't show up until the motherboard drivers are installed.

The point about changing CPU manufacturer is a good one. It used to be possible but I suspect it may no longer work.

Jon also makes a good point - uninstall every driver not essential to the running of the system & change even those, where possible, to generic drivers.

If you have a modern IDE drive with a good seek time (< 9ms)then not changing to SATA will not make a huge difference in performance. The mean transfer rate is still limited by the transfer rate from/to the disc platters and, for large files, the seek time. SATA was not designed particularly for performance but to lower manufacturing costs and ease thermal management in PC cases.

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      4 Dec 2009 @ 21:26
RE: New desktop pc

I once did an upgrade replacing the motherboard, CPU and memory but retaining the hard drive and other peripherals. But the result seemed a more sluggish than similar upgrades I had performed. About six months later the hard drive failed completely and the customer bought a new computer because he felt my upgrade had never performed as promised! So, whilst I agree that a new IDE drive can approach a new SATA drive in performance, an old and possibly somewhat degraded IDE drive might not do so. And it can be quite difficult to quantify when a hard disk drive is under-performing.

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Reply by: Alan D. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Oakham, LE15      5 Dec 2009 @ 20:26
RE: New desktop pc

Don't forget, apart from incompatible device drivers, you may also need to change the HAL for the new PC. If your old machine is a single CPU, and the new one has dual, triple or even quad cores, you will not get the best out of it. There are similar issues with ACPI and non APCI machines.

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      5 Dec 2009 @ 22:18
RE: New desktop pc

I'm not sure what Alan D is trying to convey here. If you load the drivers for your new mothervoard, that should do the trick, surely?

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      5 Dec 2009 @ 23:10
RE: New desktop pc

no, you have to get the right HAL (hardware abstraction layer) installed as well. If you have the wrong one, at best the machine runs slowly. At worst it wont boot
Microsoft insist that you have to do a repair installation to get the right HAL in place, but this tweak seems to work
Sometimes

http://windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/15299/how-do-i-enable-acpi-on-my-machinechange-the-hal.html

this tool is supposed to make changing HALs easier
However I've never used it
http://www.hardware.info/en-US/news/ym2cmZqYwp2a/Problems_updating_to_a_dualcore_CPU_Not_anymore/

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      5 Dec 2009 @ 23:12
RE: New desktop pc

Alan B
wonder if thats why the upgrade went wrong?
If you have the wrong HAL you wont get all cores working on a multi-core/multi-CPU system

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Reply by: Alan B. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Cambridge, CB22      6 Dec 2009 @ 09:19
RE: New desktop pc

No, I always follow the Repair Re-Installation procedure that I was advocating earlier in this thread.

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Reply by: Alan D. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Oakham, LE15      6 Dec 2009 @ 15:32
RE: New desktop pc

To explain a bit more about HAL. As Jon says, this is the Hardware abstraction layer which sits between the OS kernel and the CPU. It handles things like multi-threading if the app and hardware is capable, and allocates work between the CPU's if you have more than one.

It appears on disk as "hall.dll", but on the install disk there are multiple versions, e.g. halacpi.dl_, halmcpi.dl_, etc. The install process decides which one to expand as hal.dll based on the physical hardware present - multi core, ACPI capable etc. For some reason, you cannot just expand the correct version and overwrite the one that is in system32 ( or so MS say). perhaps it is because the file is locked when the PC is up. I am sure that I have swapped one in the past by booting from a live CD.

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Reply by: Jon S. PCIQ IT ProfessionalIT Professional in Morecambe, LA3      6 Dec 2009 @ 16:08
RE: New desktop pc

I have swapped them a couple of times when upgrading from single-core to dual core Athlon64s
D
First swap the CPUs
Then install the multicore driver
Then use the device manager trick I gave above to change the HAL
if you get it right the entry in device manager should correctly describe the HAL, and "performance" tab of task manager should have separate displays for each core

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