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Old Hard Drive in New Computer?

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Another foolish question--I've been told this isn't possible, but the same people told me it isn't possible to get rid of the menu at log in, so I was hoping that since you all knew how to fix that you'll know how to do this:

My mom's motherboard fried. Her hard drive is good, and I copied a lot of the info from it onto my computer in order to preserve a backup.

In the meantime, a friend gave her a computer. (It's a Dell, and the same one that has the logon error with the floppy drive, if you saw that thread). What she wants me to do with it is put her old computer's hard drive in it, and have it work as if the new computer *is* the old computer. As I understand it, the bios won't like that, and it won't work.

I get that I could slave the old hard drive and hook it up that way (maybe, anyway, the dell hard drive is mounted vertically in the front of the case...not sure I can get to it easily), but that isn't what she wants me to do.

Is there any way to give the computer a "brain transplant?"


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yes, no, maybe

First, depending on the models of the machine, this may be as simple as swapping in the drive. The key point is that the computers must be almost identical, so take an inventory.

Specifically If the motherboard and NIC and video need to be the same model--and remove any other devices--this will sometimes work, and work quite well.

To give an adequate response, I would need to know more about the machines.

ANother way that SOMETIMES works when the machines are LESS than identical, is to run a repair the very first boot. The repair MUST be done the VERY FIRST TIME.

If you boot with the existing OS in a new machine, it will fail and fail horribly and ruin any chance of that working.

You set your PC to boot to CD in BIOS, then turn it off, THEN install the old harddrive and insert a windows Xp cd.

Boot to the CD, and start the computer and windows setup begins. choose REPAIR, not new installation,and let it do it's thing. Sometimes--SOMETIMES--this will work.

In the latter case, Windows will need to be reactivated.
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