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Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,375
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Registered: ‎07-03-2008

Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Although there have been a couple of threads near to this problem recently, I guess that it is less likely to confuse matters if I open a new one rather than hi-jack either of them.
I now have an elderly PC to play with, thanks to my son (bless him), it is a Dell Optiflex GX110 with XP SP3 on it but the HDD is so small, at 9.52GB, that there is not much room to do anything once AVG & Zonealarm are installed. I have bought a new 160GB IDE disk (30quid from Amazon) and would like to dump all the contents of the old one on it. What is the best route to follow please?
If that is too difficult I could just fit the new disk as a second drive (but note that there is room but no hardware to fit it..not insurmountable) and just use it for other software. Or I could replace the old disk and install the necessary bits to the now primary disk  using the old disk in a USB enclosure.  or what?Huh
If I am forced to install XP on the new disk (perhaps from a CD-Rom), how do I get over the association of the XP Licence and the new serial number of the HDD which seem to matter to MS?
Your thoughts will be well received, I hope that "go and buy a new Win 7 PC" will not feature, funds do not stretch that far by a large margin!
Thanks in advance.
41 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,911
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

There are two types of hard disc data interface, Parallel ATA (PATA) and Serial ATA (SATA).  A computer that came with a 10G hard drive probably uses PATA and won't be able to cope with SATA,so I hope you bought the right type when you bought a new one.  If not then you'll just have to use the new disc as a secondary disc in an enclosure
Ideally you would swap the new drive for the old one by this meeans:
Connect the new drive as a secondary drive (assuming you can connect it at all) then clone the old drive to the new one then swap the drives over.  I use a paid-for program to do this cloning but maybe somebody else can suggest a free one.  If Windows is BIOS-locked to the old hard drive then you will need to reactivate Windows, probably over the telephone.  BIOS locking does not prevent you from installing a fresh copy of Windows, but you will end up with a version of Windows that needs activation, not the activation-free version you had originally.
If you want to save space on your old hard drive, get rid of ZoneAlarm and use Microsoft Security Essentials instead of AVG.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Quote from: colintivy
If I am forced to install XP on the new disk (perhaps from a CD-Rom), how do I get over the association of the XP Licence and the new serial number of the HDD which seem to matter to MS?

No problem with Dell if you have the original OEM installation disk from Dell with XP on it.
Just install on the new disk and it will pass validation etc. without any issues.
The OEM disks check the BIOS and will only install on Dell kit, but then bypass a lot of the "normal" checks.
If you've lost the CD any Dell OEM CD of the same version (e.g. XP Home) will work fine and be legal.
(If you use the wrong version, e.g. XP Professional when it's licensed for XP Home it still works but is of course a breach of the license terms)
You probably won't even have to enter the code on the MS sticker!
Edit.
What I would do in your situation is:
1. Take old disk out, insert new disk
2. Install XP - will probably need driver downloads from Dell too.
3. Bring it all up to date.
4. Jury-rig the old disk in as a slave (with the case open maybe?) and copy data across - won't take long.
Finally remove old disk and use system!
Simples!
magnetism2772
Grafter
Posts: 983
Registered: ‎06-06-2010

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

download Macrium reflect free edition for personal  use and copy your old drive to your new drive
with this free software
http://www.macrium.com/ReflectFree.asp
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,735
Thanks: 12
Registered: ‎02-02-2008

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

No, you really should take the opportunity to do a clean install.
There'll be all sorts of "crud" on the old disk, it's an ideal opportunity to start afresh.  Cool
wacky17
Grafter
Posts: 134
Registered: ‎25-06-2008

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

@colintivy If it had a 9.52GB HDin the first place will the motherboard be able to see a 160gb HD.
magnetism2772
Grafter
Posts: 983
Registered: ‎06-06-2010

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

as far as I understand the binary number system
as 4,294,967,296 sectors can be stored in 32 bits                          ie  2  to the power 32 (sectors)
and as a sector contains 512 bytes total bytes of a windows 32bit  system
can support  any hard drive
is  2.199,023,255,552 bytes Drives (2.2 Terabyte)
so 32bit windows will support 2.2 terabyte drives
as for the motherboards BIOS (basic input, output system)
if the bios  supports 48-bit Logical Block Addressing (LBA)
which is a technology which extends the capacity of IDE ATA/ATAPI devices beyond a previous limit of 137.4 GB.(ie a BIOS that is 28 bit LBA compliant.)
then the bios should not need any upgrade
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,911
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Quote from: HPsauce
No, you really should take the opportunity to do a clean install.
There'll be all sorts of "crud" on the old disk, it's an ideal opportunity to start afresh.  Cool

HP makes a very good point.  On the other hand, you might find you have all sorts of valuable software like Microsoft Office, Photoshop etc. that you won't be able to re-install because your son has kept the discs.  So whether to "clone" or re-install is very much a judgement call. 
magnetism2772
Grafter
Posts: 983
Registered: ‎06-06-2010

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Quote
I now have an elderly PC to play with, thanks to my son (bless him), it is a Dell Optiflex GX110 with XP SP3 on it but the HDD is so small, at 9.52GB, that there is not much room to do anything once AVG & Zonealarm are installed. I have bought a new 160GB IDE disk (30quid from Amazon) and would like to dump all the contents of the old one on it. What is the best route to follow please?

this pc has ATA/66  
you need  motherboard support for
ATA/133  to break through the 137 GB  hard drive barrier
magnetism2772
Grafter
Posts: 983
Registered: ‎06-06-2010

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

you have a choice fit the largest ATA/66 HARD DRIVE you can find
or fit a pci  ATA/133 drive controller board  to operate your 160GB drive
ie http://www.micomonline.co.uk/products.asp?partno=PCIIDE2&go
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎11-08-2007

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

[quote=HPsauce]No, you really should take the opportunity to do a clean install.
There'll be all sorts of "crud" on the old disk, it's an ideal opportunity to start afresh.
We already know the disk is full of "crud" - It had Windows on it !
For an old machine you will end up with a vastly more usable PC if you install Ubuntu instead of persisting with the relentless frustration of keeping a Windows XP machine alive.
http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop
it will cost nothing to install, you have nothing to lose, and soon you will be wondering why one earth you didn't abandon Windows earlier !
magnetism2772
Grafter
Posts: 983
Registered: ‎06-06-2010

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

now thinking  about speed issues as its ata/66    I'd  scrap this pc
it has no money value
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,911
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Registered: ‎14-07-2009

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Quote from: colintivy
What is the best route to follow please?

On reflection:

  • Return the new hard disc to Amazon; they're good about returns.

  • Uninstall ZoneAlarm and turn on the Windows firewall

  • Uninstall AVG and install Microsoft Security Essentials in its place


You'll have a very modest little Windows computer for the minimum of cost & effort.
VileReynard
All Star
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Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

Alternatively, proceed on the basis that you are "limited" to 137GB and that 23GB is wasted (that's 14% wasted)...
If you ever get a newer PC  Grin Grin you would regain the 23GB.

Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: ‎11-08-2007

Re: Transferring contents of old HDD to a new one.

You lot give up too easily !
Buy yourself  a PCI IDE controller card from eBay such as the "Promise Ultra100 TX2", or "Promise Ultra133 Tx2"  - currently selling for 99 pence.
These are fantastic cards, I have ALWAYS got better IDE performance than the onboard IDE controllers and they don't have the 137GB BIOS limit.
And that is just the beginning ....
If you do UPGRADE to Ubuntu, these cards make fantastic compatible controllers for Ubuntu's software RAID
So if you have more than one HDD, then you can build RAID-0 partitions and nearly double your disk performance with just two drives.
If you run Ubuntu with RAID-0 partitions, the old PC will be massively faster than the same PC running Windows-XP.