Help me migrate a Windows system to Apple's bootcamp
June 7, 2010 12:54 PM   Subscribe

I need help migrating an existing Windows XP file system from a Thinkpad to a new Macbook running bootcamp.

Here's what I'm trying to do: my daughter's Lenovo is on it's last legs and I'm going to buy her a new Macbook. The school she attends mandates that she must have a Windows machine so I'm going to install Windows in boot camp on the Mac. I've removed the drive from her old Lenovo and I'd like to just copy over the Windows file system onto the boot camp partition. Is this possible? My assumption is no. Is there a way to "ghost" the Macbook from the existing Windows file system?
posted by photoslob to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I hope I'm being clear. I'm not trying to install the drive into the Macbook. i just want to copy the c drive over to the macbook's bootcamp partition. TIA.
posted by photoslob at 1:21 PM on June 7, 2010

you could do it but then you wouldnt be able to reactivate your xp license.
posted by 3mendo at 3:10 PM on June 7, 2010

VMware Fusion
posted by getmetoSF at 3:50 PM on June 7, 2010

The Lenovo and Macbook have really different hardware, so this operation will probably end in failure when Windows tries to boot. I don't have any Apple hardware, so I don't know if there is any Apple Magic(TM) in bootcamp to make it work, but I think the answer is probably no. It's a much better idea to back up the data you want to keep and install a fresh copy on the Macbook.

Also, if your Windows license is a sticker on the bottom of the Lenovo, then that means it's an OEM license which lives and dies with that hardware. You can't transfer it to another machine legally. However, what you can do it activate it... uh, let's go ahead and call it "less than legally". Windows activation doesn't know the difference as long as you are activating the SKU of Windows that the key is for (for example if you installed Home OEM you have to use a Home OEM key. A Pro OEM key or even a Home Retail key won't work).

If Windows internet activation gives you shit after you put in the key, call the number it gives you and do it by phone. Tell the robot lady that there has been major hardware updates and that this software has only been installed on 1 machine. But that's only if you want to break the law. A legal alternative would be to purchase Windows 7 and then use your downgrade rights to install Windows XP.

VMware Fusion
Virtualbox! Only suckers pay for hypervisors.
posted by tracert at 3:54 PM on June 7, 2010

Unfortunately she can't use a emulation app to run windows. It must boot into windows from the get go. I'm not worried too much about the Windows license because I own but I don't want to lose Office and some other apps that came with the Lenovo.

With that said and in light of what Tracert wrote I guess Im going to install from scratch and buy a new copy of office.
posted by photoslob at 4:06 PM on June 7, 2010

This software can get the keys for any microsoft licenses installed on the lenovo, if they're available.
posted by TimeDoctor at 12:16 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

I am all for doing things the hard way when it comes to computing, but as tracert explains above, moving an existing installation of Windows XP from one hardware to another is somewhere between difficult and doomed to failure.

Sometimes I break down and do it the easy way, too. Windows laptops are under $300 nowadays, and the clunkiest of them is still going to run Windows more deftly than the best installation of the best virtual machine on the fanciest hardware. Couldn't you set her up with one of those, and still get her a Macbook, too, if you wish?

Vitual machines are great -- I love playing around with them, too -- but PC hardware prices have fallen so dramatically that buying an extra real machine is a pretty great alternative.
posted by gum at 4:04 AM on June 8, 2010

Here's my follow-up. I was able to use Keyfinder to grab serial numbers and then I "found" the installer for Office 2003. I was successfully able to install Office and then use my license key.
posted by photoslob at 2:23 PM on August 21, 2010

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