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Thread: Migrating HDD with Windows 7 to new PC

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    Default Migrating HDD with Windows 7 to new PC

    Hello all, this question kind of straddles the line between software/hardware, but this seems like the more appropriate forum. I had a PC running Win7 that died on me. No warning, just fried the board. That is only tangentially related, but still relevant. I bought a new (to me) Optiplex 9020, and put the drive from the old computer in, and it's refusing to boot. I was able to install Win7 onto a backup drive I had lying around, and have verified that the original HDD has all the data intact. Some preliminary research has indicated the Windows machines don't like when you just swap HDDs around, and that's why it won't boot the OS for me. Now, I know I can just wipe the drive, reinstall everything, and start over, but that would be an enormous pain. I'd like it to just work as it did. Now, I've read about Sysprep, but that seems like you need the original PC to be functional, so that won't work. I've read some scattered things that there are ways to be able to wipe the drivers and the HAL? which would enable the HDD to then play nice with the new computer. If anyone has any insight or tips, I'd be gracious. Thanks.



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    you could try removing the driver as you said


    also try booting to safe mode if you can, hit f8 on startup, its worth a try.
    bonus of using windows 10 now.
    why do we need the NBN ? because the copper network is constipated & needs fibre

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    You have not mentioned whether the computer will boot from its optical drive using appropriate media such as an original version of Hirens Boot CD. I recommend v9 or version 10.

    In order to troubleshoot the problem, I suggest that you download the appropriate Owners Manual in PDF format from the Dell website at , being sure to choose the correct one for your particular model, which will be one of the following - Dell OptiPlex 9020 Small Form Factor, Dell OptiPlex 9020 Mini Tower or Dell OptiPlex 9020 Ultra Small Form Factor.

    Once you have done this, fit your hard drive into the computer, and using the information from the manual you have downloaded, check to see if the computer's bios recognises the hard drive.

    Pay particular attention to the section regarding System Setup and Boot Sequence beginning on page 30.

    In any case, if you read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Section 3 of the manual mentioned above, you will be well-equipped to trouble shoot the problem to its satisfactory conclusion.

    Additionally, you will find the manual an invaluable aid in the future should you encounter other problems.

    Dell (and HP) computers use customised versions of Windows, but it is possible to load the ordinary vanilla flavour with a little fiddling.

    Once you have the computer up-and-running, connect it to the internet and go to the website cited above and run the Full Test of the Dell Diagnostics Program (first option on the page).

    This will quickly diagnose and rectify any incompatibility problems with drivers etc., as the Microsoft drivers are "generic" and as such are not optimised for Dell hardware

    Please let us all know how you get on.
    Last edited by tristen; 18-05-19 at 10:58 PM.

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    how about this

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    Unfortunately, the software suggested above by member, Coalminer, is not a good substitute for the genuine and comprehensive diagnostics test that you can run from the Dell website as described in my previous post.

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    The computer does recognize the old drive, I am able to access all the data on it, it just won't boot. I was able to install windows onto a different drive and check it that way. I installed the OS onto that drive using the optical drive and my Win7 CD. It seems like the Acronis program would be able to help me achieve my goals, can anyone confirm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tristen View Post
    Unfortunately, the software suggested above by member, Coalminer, is not a good substitute for the genuine and comprehensive diagnostics test that you can run from the Dell website as described in my previous post.
    i love it when you talk technical tristen
    why do we need the NBN ? because the copper network is constipated & needs fibre

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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerBEMS View Post
    The computer does recognize the old drive, I am able to access all the data on it, it just won't boot. I was able to install windows onto a different drive and check it that way. I installed the OS onto that drive using the optical drive and my Win7 CD. It seems like the Acronis program would be able to help me achieve my goals, can anyone confirm?
    you could try this



    get it here

    2 files & instructions
    why do we need the NBN ? because the copper network is constipated & needs fibre

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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerBEMS View Post
    The computer does recognize the old drive, I am able to access all the data on it, it just won't boot. I was able to install windows onto a different drive and check it that way. I installed the OS onto that drive using the optical drive and my Win7 CD. It seems like the Acronis program would be able to help me achieve my goals, can anyone confirm?
    Ah! Well, it sounds like there is a problem with the boot sector on the drive.

    In that case you need to repair the MBR (master boot record) following the instructions under the heading "Fix the MBR in Windows 7" on the page at .

    Let us know the outcome please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tristen View Post
    Ah! Well, it sounds like there is a problem with the boot sector on the drive.

    In that case you need to repair the MBR (master boot record) following the instructions under the heading "Fix the MBR in Windows 7" on the page at .

    Let us know the outcome please.
    its not really rocket science
    since xp, 7,8, always had swapping hardware dramas
    just bite the bullet, reinstall, it works heaps better
    but in the case of no backup etc, something like the above should get you back going
    the adds of win 10, seems to have a lot more how you say, native drivers, load win 10 to any computer, chuck it in another pc, it will reconfigure in 10 minutes
    i highly suggest a illegal iso form a torrent site, that some other dudes have bothered to update on a monthly basis, for the basic user anyway

    ps. im naming my 1st grandson tristen
    coz its a cool name
    sorry trash.
    Last edited by Philquad; 19-05-19 at 07:34 PM.
    why do we need the NBN ? because the copper network is constipated & needs fibre

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    Neither the MBR fix, nor the Neosmart were able to get it working. It is recognized that there is a valid OS installed, however, all I'm getting is an endless boot loop, where the black "Starting Windows" screen comes up, the little colored balls start to move, then it freezes and resets.

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    dont bother trying to fix it ! just install linux to boot with
    . Please treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerBEMS View Post
    Neither the MBR fix, nor the Neosmart were able to get it working. It is recognized that there is a valid OS installed, however, all I'm getting is an endless boot loop, where the black "Starting Windows" screen comes up, the little colored balls start to move, then it freezes and resets.
    So you're saying that the procedure suggest at doesn't work?


    Startup Repair Infinite Loop: Fix for Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1


    Fix #1: Boot into Safe Mode

    Insert the disc and reboot the system.
    Press any key to boot from the DVD.
    Choose your keyboard layout.
    Click Repair your computer at the Install now screen.
    Click Troubleshoot.
    Click Advanced options.
    Click Startup Settings.
    Click Restart.


    See also for further info.
    Last edited by tristen; 20-05-19 at 10:21 PM.

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    REPEAT AFTER ME! Windows will NOT allow you to move the drive to another system AND work!

    You will have to re-format and reload your operating system to make it work. END OF STORY!

    IF, on the other hand, you were running Linux, then, in many cases, you CAN do just that, but that is not the point of your Original question. RE-install Windows and all will be happy.

    In the past - if there was data on the original drive that I needed which hadn't been backed up I'd
    1 - REMOVE that drive from the system
    2 - INSTALL another drive and install windwoes to that
    3 - THEN plug the old drive in - backup all critical data and then format that to suit.
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    Quote Originally Posted by lsemmens View Post
    REPEAT AFTER ME! Windows will NOT allow you to move the drive to another system AND work!

    You will have to re-format and reload your operating system to make it work. END OF STORY!

    IF, on the other hand, you were running Linux, then, in many cases, you CAN do just that, but that is not the point of your Original question. RE-install Windows and all will be happy.

    In the past - if there was data on the original drive that I needed which hadn't been backed up I'd
    1 - REMOVE that drive from the system
    2 - INSTALL another drive and install windwoes to that
    3 - THEN plug the old drive in - backup all critical data and then format that to suit.
    actually you can, just depends on chipset, amd to intel, intel to amd
    or just clean boot to a windows dvd, do not wipe the partition, load to the same partition, pushes the old windows into a folder called "old.windows"
    you lose the programs but all the the users docs are in that.
    why do we need the NBN ? because the copper network is constipated & needs fibre

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    Well I wasn't considering chipset, but this was Intel I7, to I7. I tried the Neosmart "nuclear option" of rebuilding the bcd, that also failed. Unless anyone has any further suggestions, it would seem my only option is to reinstall windows and have to reinstall hundreds of software programs.

    For all of you suggesting I say "screw windows, go to linux", I absolutely LOVE linux. Except I've never been able to get Wine to work right and play happy with my games. As much as I prefer linux, Windows games work better natively.

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    Some of the live Linux distros that you run from USB or DVD etc. have a "boot from hard disk" option before the distro is loaded, have you tried that?
    Possibly it'll only get to the 'Starting Windows' point before stalling again though, which most likely means you still can't swap Windows hard drives from one PC to another as was the case about 15 years ago last time I tried.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerBEMS View Post
    For all of you suggesting I say "screw windows, go to linux", I absolutely LOVE linux. Except I've never been able to get Wine to work right and play happy with my games. As much as I prefer linux, Windows games work better natively.
    I agree that there are still many games not developed for Linux, though that is not the fault of the the Linux devs, we just need to convince more games devs to develop for Linux too.
    WINE works in many cases, that said, I don't play games and have never had success with Wine, I use vBox which runs windwoes in a virtual machine. The ONLY program that I need it for, at this stage is Google Sketchup which did not work in WINE for me,
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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