Primary hard disk in a new, different CPU system

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by fl, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. fl

    fl Guest

    I have an old PC with an Windows XP OS, Pentium IV. I would like to
    assemble a new mother board, new Intel i5 CPU PC. I would like to know
    the old hard disk can be a primary disk without problem? I am not sure
    about this because there are many differences between the old system
    hardware the new PC. I would like to get it clear before I buy new
    parts. Thanks.
    fl, Apr 6, 2012
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  2. fl

    Paul Guest

    As a non-IT guy, I don't have experience with doing this
    sort of things 100's of times, so take the following with a
    grain of salt. So this will just give you some of the flavor
    of the thing.

    WinXP comes in different versions in terms of licensing.

    There is "retail" (relatively expensive), "unbranded OEM" (about
    half price, but tied to one computer as defined by the motherboard),
    and "branded OEM" (version with Dell/HP/Gateway/Acer etc). The
    rules will be different for each one. There are other versions,
    so by no means is my little list exhaustive (VLK used by businesses is another).
    You're unlikely to have a retail OS, because you hardly ever run into someone
    on the Internet who has one. It's the least restrictive one to own
    from a licensing perspective, but with a price to match.

    You can get some idea of the complexity, by browsing this article.

    How activation works, is described here.

    I managed to move WinXP from one computer to another. I have
    two LGA775 motherboards. I kept the same CPU, memory, hard drive,
    peripherals, and just changed the motherboard to start. I was
    able to activate over the Internet, without phoning Microsoft.
    My OS in that case, was an unbranded OEM, which should only
    be used with the one motherboard. Later, I changed the CPU,
    the RAM, but perhaps even the drives (I've kinda lost track),
    and my OS is still running. The OS is only used on the one
    computer, the one I'm typing on. The old components, including
    the old motherboard, are in a backup computer (it runs a variety
    of OSes, such as Gentoo).

    The reason for the motherboard swap, happened when the BIOS on the motherboard
    did some strange things to the chipset settings, when a TV tuner card
    was added to the computer. Performance went to hell after that,
    and I changed motherboards because there was no chance of the
    BIOS ever getting fixed. What would happen, is disk transfer performance
    would drop to 10-20MB/sec instead of more normal values, and it
    got worse the longer the computer was running.

    So I have managed to move WinXP, and strictly speaking, the
    rules for OEM systems, should have prevented the move, or at
    least caused me to need to phone Microsoft for manual activation.
    (There, I would have to explain how "my motherboard broke, and this
    new one is a repair".)

    Your case will be different, in that you're going to change more
    components. Maybe the only component which is the same, is the
    hard drive.

    As the above article states, it's best to keep a backup copy of
    the disk. I don't think when I did my transition, I did a
    repair install. I think I changed the hard drive driver to
    the default Microsoft IDE one, so I wouldn't get an "inaccessible
    boot volume" for my troubles. So you should take some care, to try
    to use a driver for the boot drive, which will work with either
    motherboard, and that's half the battle.

    When I did my transition, the system booted, and then discovered
    a large number of new pieces of hardware, all yammering for drivers.
    Initially, I even had trouble getting the mouse to work, until about
    two minutes after I booted, the system installed a USB HID driver and
    the mouse started to work. But you don't always get that lucky. I've
    heard of cases where the OS more or less just locks up, and I presume
    that's an activation issue of some sort. You can try a Repair Install
    (as the Michael Stevens site promotes as a solution), but that implies
    you have a retail or an unbranded OEM installation disk to use for
    the Repair Install. If you're moving a Dell disk onto new hardware, well,
    that won't go so well at all. The Dell OS will control activation by SLIC,
    a table possessed by the BIOS, and a non-Dell motherboard simply won't
    make the OS very happy. That's why they invented SLIC, so stolen copies
    of Dell OSes couldn't be reused.

    As a home user, one piece of advice I can share with you, is the
    need to keep both systems running at the same time. I've done
    transitions before, where I gutted the old computer case, then
    filled it with the new hardware, only to discover I forget some
    disk preparation step, and had to put all the old hardware back
    in the computer case. That sucks. If you're not on too tight a
    budget, try to have enough hardware present, so if you need to boot
    the original disk image again for some reason (like fixing the driver
    used for the storage interface), you can do it. Even if it means
    building up the new hardware just sitting it on the kitchen table. I've
    done that before, placing a telephone book under the motherboard, and
    just strewing cables on the table (be careful not to bump the video card).
    I've had a complete system booted, all sitting loose on the kitchen table.
    That way, if I needed to go back to the old system, its hardware was
    still in the computer case. Once the OS was moved over, and the new
    hardware was proved working, I could gut the old computer case,
    and move in the new hardware.

    What I can't tell you, is if there are any consequences for the
    license key, if the transition fails. For example, if the new OS can't
    be activated, you boot the old computer and go to Windows Update, can
    you still get updates ? Or will the license key be blacklisted ? I
    don't know the answer to that. I haven't done enough of these,
    to run into trouble (yet).

    Paul, Apr 6, 2012
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  3. If the old drive came out of a 32-bit environment, and you are putting it
    into a 64-bit environment, you will not get the most out of the new
    environment. Since the old machine is Pent. 4, then it will most certainly
    be 32-bit, and the OS will also be 32-bit instead of 64-bit. The new
    motherboard will most likely be 64-bit, which will give you an opening to
    far more RAM than you ever used before -- 32-bit archetecture only allows 4G
    of RAM, whereas 64-bit has virtually no limit (there is a limit, but they
    don't make RAM modules large enough yet to get there).

    After all of that, there is no reason you cannot simply plug the old drive
    into the new board and boot the system.

    While it is possible, what's the point of plugging your VW motor into the
    back of your Porsche? You would be way happier if you stuffed a Porsche
    motor into the back of your VW. The VW motor will get the Porsche down the
    highway, but will it really be a Porsche?
    Jeff Strickland, Apr 7, 2012
  4. fl

    GTS-NJ Guest

    There are two distinct issues that determine how doable this is.

    1. Windows Licensing and Activation
    If the Windows installation is a BIOS locked vendor customized OEM (e.g.
    like Dell uses) it won't work. If it is a generic OEM version it a license
    violation but technically might be doable. If it is a retail release there
    won't be a licensing problem.

    2. Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) Compatibility
    When NT derived versions of Windows are transferred to significantly
    different hardware (i,.e. without an identical or almost identical CPU and
    chip set) they will generally not be usable. The HAL (hardware abstraction
    layer) is customized during the original installation.
    This can be addressed in Windows XP by doing an in-place repair
    reinstallation (if licensing is not at issue). This requires proper media,
    ideally at the same service pack level. (This option is not possible in
    Vista and Windows 7.)
    GTS-NJ, Apr 11, 2012
  5. fl

    fl Guest

    Thanks to all of you. The reason that I want to use the old Windows XP
    is I have two applications which only works on XP. Even though Windows
    XP can use 4GB memory, it is still an option for that two

    I once had a student version XP pro (I purchased cheaply at the
    university). I installed on an old computer. Shortly after I abandoned
    that computer and that computer was disposed as trash. Can I install
    that XP pro in an assembled computer? What procedure I should do for

    fl, Apr 17, 2012
  6. fl

    Paul Guest

    If you disposed of the old hard drive, such that no one else is using
    the license key, then you could *try* to use the Student version again.

    If someone else is using that "trashed" computer, then Microsoft might
    have recent references in Windows Update, to that license key being in usage.


    The issue would be, what are the license terms of the Student version ?
    Is it similar to an unbranded OEM version ? Microsoft might still refuse
    activation by phone, unless you can argue the motherboard change was related
    to you "repairing" the previous computer. If you say "I'm building a
    brand new computer", they may be less generous.

    Depending on how lax the Activation Server setting is, you might install
    your Student version, and be able to click the activation button and
    be up and running again. It could happen that way. Or, you may need to
    make a (free) phone call to Microsoft, to have the OS manually activated.
    Depending on the license terms, that's either going to be hard or easy to

    When I moved my OEM OS installation to a new motherboard, I was prepared
    to say the "magic words" into the phone, but in my case, no phone
    call was required, and the move of the OS occurred without a problem.

    You'll just have to try it and see. If you have the license key and the
    installation CD, you're all set to begin.

    Paul, Apr 17, 2012
  7. Thanks to all of you. The reason that I want to use the old Windows XP
    is I have two applications which only works on XP. Even though Windows
    XP can use 4GB memory, it is still an option for that two

    I once had a student version XP pro (I purchased cheaply at the
    university). I installed on an old computer. Shortly after I abandoned
    that computer and that computer was disposed as trash. Can I install
    that XP pro in an assembled computer? What procedure I should do for


    Your license agreement allows you to install the operating system or
    application into one machine at a time. There is no limit to the number of
    machines, the limitation is that only one of them be working while the rest
    are dead. This does not mean you can have one machine turned on and the
    others turned off. Your situation is that one machine died so you want to
    build a replacement -- this is the situation which allows you to use the
    operating system or application over again.

    Having said that, it is very odd that you have an application that works
    under XP, but not under Win7. It would be common, sort of, for an app to run
    under XP but not Win98, but I have to wonder if you are correct about
    running under XP but not Win7.

    There is a chance that your version of XP is the 64-bit variety, but I
    suspect this is not the case. (64-bit operating systems outside of a
    corporate business enterprise should be a somewhat rare occurance -- mostly
    due to the relative high cost of such a system at the time they came about.)
    Jeff Strickland, Apr 17, 2012
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