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Hard drive question


geordie85
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I recently purchased an alienware m17x r2 laptop and have still not set it up for imaging.

Not being very technically minded this may be obvious to some, but can I just take the hard drive out of my current acer, that has everything I need already installed and set up, and put it into my new laptop and just carry on as normal? Is it as simple as that or is there more involved? Or can it even be done?

 

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I'm afraid not. The operating system on your current acer hard drive is tailored to your acer machine and its hardware. It has all the drivers installed for the hardware on your motherboard, video, audio, disk controllers, network adapters etc. These hardware drivers will not be compatible with your new laptop particularly as it's a different manufacture. Assuming you're using Windows the windows registry entries would be wrong too causing no end of problems. Also Windows is activated to the machine it's installed on by taking a 'fingerprint' of the hardware installed and sending it to Microsoft. Putting the disk in a new machine the fingerprint wouldn't match and so it would be de-activated.

The only safe way is to re-install all the programs you use on your new laptop.

Alan

Edited by symmetal
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I have never done it with a Laptop, but I always just swapped my harddrives into my pc after upgrading certain parts.

Only when I switched the motherboard windows complained about the "fingerprint" as symmetal mentioned but iirc it only prompted a message and was able to migrate to the new motherboard.

You'll probably run into driver problems ( video/audio/network ) but should be able to uninstall unneeded drivers and reinstall the proper drivers.

 

I'd suggest to make a backup of your acer harddrive and just try it. If some error messages pop up try to find a solution and if it gets to tedious just reinstall everything on the new laptop.

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It also depends on what CPU is in there and what OS you are using. If its the new generation of CPUs (ie: Ryzen), then it will not accept anything less than W10. You can get W7 on there, but its a major hassle to get it done (I gave up and went with W10, which turned out quite nicely).

W10 Pro is dirt cheap, but I would advise you install it from a DVD as the the MS installer version is a bit hit and miss. You can download the image from MS and burn it to a DVD.

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Thanks guys. I had a feeling it wouldn't be that simple but didn't want to just try it incase I lost everything since there's more than just Astro stuff on there.

3 minutes ago, Uranium235 said:

It also depends on what CPU is in there and what OS you are using. If its the new generation of CPUs (ie: Ryzen), then it will not accept anything less than W10. You can get W7 on there, but its a major hassle to get it done (I gave up and went with W10, which turned out quite nicely).

W10 Pro is dirt cheap, but I would advise you install it from a DVD as the the MS installer version is a bit hit and miss. You can download the image from MS and burn it to a DVD.

I'm actually running Windows 7 on both laptops.

I think I'm just going to go through and install everything again, just to be on the safe side 

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:blush:Yes, you're right Forunke and Uranium235, it is possible but geordie said that they weren't technically minded so I said not to try. My first sentence should have been 'Yes it's possible, but in your situation I would not attempt to try it'. A lot of 'clutter' would be left on the disk as uninstalling programs/drivers doesn't clean out the registry properly in many cases. A clean install is the better option. ?

At work we would clone main disks to install in other machines but they were all the same model.

Alan

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7 hours ago, geordie85 said:

I recently purchased an alienware m17x r2 laptop and have still not set it up for imaging.

Not being very technically minded this may be obvious to some, but can I just take the hard drive out of my current acer, that has everything I need already installed and set up, and put it into my new laptop and just carry on as normal? Is it as simple as that or is there more involved? Or can it even be done?

 

If your laptop hasn’t got a ssd drive then I would personally fit one rather than an HDD , 

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I would keep the original drive in the machine and copy over any files/docs but do a fresh install of any software. If you want to go a step further then add an SSD as your main boot device with a new copy of Win 10 but remember to install the Dell packages after that so you get all that cool Alienware functions working. I have limited the software that runs off the SSD to the OS and things like Photoshop which are graphics heavy, everything else including games are loaded onto the HDD.

With either method it is worth copying the contents of both your current drives to a portable hard drive for easy swapping.

Alan

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With a bit of playing around you can move a hard drive with a windows 10 installation between machines. Its possible to reset win10 so that it picks up hardware changes, you can also revalidate a win10 install in a new pc as long as windows has already been installed and validated on it. 

Having said that with a modern HD and rig, I still prefer to start with a fresh install, quiet often dumping any crud the manufacturer decides I should have. Your laptop supports 2 hard drives, hopefully it has a SSD containing the OS, if the 2nd bay isn't used you could drop your old HD in to it, and carefully remove stuff you don't want. If you do have a 2nd drive fitted then I would spend £30 on a hard drive enclosure and transfer using that, also gives you a portable HD.

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See ALL of the above. I build my own (rather modest) Desktop systems. ?

Just as an amusing anecdote: I did once replace the motherboard in an
existing system, retaining the original boot disk. After a LOT of messing
around, Windows was "clever enough"(!) to find and install new drivers
for very many things...  and it actually worked! Unfortunately Windows 
licensing felt that I had a NEW system and was violating MS licensing! ?

Just for the LULZ, I phoned the *suggested number* and M$'s "techie"
people judged my case favourably! I received a new Serial Number?!? 
"Programmer Solidarity" transcends the world of evil commercialism! ?

But then (as noted above) old Windows system disks accumulate a lot
of JUNK over the years? A new/clean installation is easier and better! ?

Edited by Macavity
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