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How do I move a windows program between drives?


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#1
GeekEE

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So my Toshiba laptop decided to have some sort of OS problem that prevented boot. No sweat, I said, pulling out the system restore CD. Except that the problem was beyond the repair function that you can get so long as you can at least boot in safe mode. No such luck, the only option was to start with a fresh install, which wipes everything off the disk, or so the screen said.

‘No way!’ was my response. A trip to Fry’s for a new HD let me swap that for the old drive, and the old drive went into a USB enclosure. Now the laptop is back to a happy copy of WinXP and I still have all my old files. For data files, that’s no problem, but not all of the programs are restorable from my CD library (they’re all legal, but some are downloads from places that no longer exist). Is there a way to move program installs from one disk to the other? Or to run them from other than the boot drive?

Thx in advance
GeekEE
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#2
Vaillant

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Well first off, we at Geeks to Go do not support or condone illegal software. As a matter of principle we dont help people like you.

However, your question does apply to any kind of program, illegal or otherwise. The answer remains the same however. Some programs can be portable, and run no matter what configuration of windows. Others, more invasive, require changes to the windows operating system and it's registry to operate. These programs will not work.

I suggest trying to run your programs.. See what's still good, and maybe try to buy the rest?
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#3
GeekEE

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OK, setting aside the gratuitous "people like you" slam, all I'm trying to do is migrate my PC to a larger hard drive, not simply to get more space, but because XP on the old drive went sour and viral. I don't want to transfer that problem like a drive to drive copy would do. If there was some utility that literally moved rather than copied the applications, I would be happy with that (so long as it verified correct transfer before moving on to the next one). I don't need two copies of everything, each on a separate drive, just one working drive. As you point out, such capability could be abused (which guarantees that it would be), but that is not my intent. I'll experiment with your suggestions and see what works. Your technical expertise is greatly appreciated.

Edited by GeekEE, 17 September 2006 - 09:44 AM.

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#4
Vaillant

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Hey dont be hissy with me young man. My suggestion is the only way you can retain your precious programs. There is no utility that does what you are suggesting, and I doubt it's even possible. Good day.
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#5
GeekEE

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Actually, I saw one once. I don't remember the technical details other than it would transfer exactly one program before wiping itself out, and you had to not mind that it cost $75 a pop. I wouldn't mind if I had to ship the drives to Microsoft (for a reasonable price) to get the job done, because I have a right to maintain, repair, and upgrade my system, and I have legal software on my drive whether I still have the original CDs or not.

I suspect that program transfer really just amounts to reading the registry on the old drive, transferring all relevant files, and making the necessary registery changes on the new hard drive. It all happens on the same computer, so there is no hardware difference to contend with, just a change of drive location. A fresh reinstall should not be necessary unless the application itself is corrupted. "Can't be done" only means that Fry's doesn't carry such a product, not whether it is possible.

What's with the attitude? I'm not some 19 year old in a dorm room, but a business owner and doctoral student doing my best to ride the tiger. I've also served for well over a decade on the IEEE Intellecutal Property Committee, so I don't need lectures about copyright, kiddo.

Is there someone else out there with a better technical background?
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#6
Neil Jones

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Some programs can be transferred from disk to disk and work happily, but the vast majority of programs cannot be taken over like this and will need to be installed again from either a CD or a setup file.

It's not as simple as copying files and making a few registry entries yourself - if it was, life would be far easier for everybody. :whistling: Many larger programs make hundreds if not thousands of registry entries which Windows uses in many wierd and wonderful ways.

Programs that claim to be able to move programs from one place to another can only do this on system where the software is already installed - it won't read the registry from anywhere else but the one currently in use. In any case, programs like these are often hit-and-miss with low success rates.
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#7
GeekEE

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A reasoned answer. Thank you. I agree that the process is not something to be attempted manually. My understanding, though, is that the registry is actually a type of database, and as such is manipulable. Every uninstall program does it. Substitute disk writing for deletion (or do it before deletion) and at least in theory, the job is done (I know this is a gross oversimplification). At this point I'm resigned to not finding such a program, but understanding the inner workings is a worthy goal in and of itself, in my opinion. Part of me wishes that I was into windows programming deeply enough to navigate the intricacies involved, but the other part of me is just as happy that I'm a hardware guy and can design what the programmers get to play with. Of course, you have to know more than a little about software to crank out a decent hardware design, and being in this forum is part of that process. Any more insights out there?

Hardware Guy
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#8
CJIS

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There is a program that allows you to move installations from one plae to another and moves everything, updating all your settings and also the registry. Iolo System mechanic 6 Pro. You will need to choose relocate software from the program and then follow the stages and it should move your programs along.

Edited by CJIS, 19 September 2006 - 01:43 PM.

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