Moving old data to a new drive
July 1, 2008 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I am upgrading my PC and I have questions regarding transferring my data. This is probably a total newbie question but I can't seem to find a straight answer anywhere.

I will be installing a new motherboard, CPU, graphics card, RAM, and 640GB hard drive into my case. I am planning on doing a clean install of XP and SP3 onto the new drive.

Once the new system boots up, I want to plug in my old 160GB HD (also SATA) and pick off all the files I want to keep, which would mostly be several gigs of music and the entirety of the My Documents folder. The old drive also has XP installed on it.

As long as I ensure that I boot up from the larger, newer HD, this should work fine, correct? Is there much risk involved in this process? If the total amount of data to be transferred is less than 10GB and I don't need to clone the entirety of the old disk and old OS, is there a safer way to go about this?

Thanks in advance.
posted by Zaximus to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
This approach is pretty safe. I'd recommend putting the old hard drive in an external enclosure and attaching it via USB (better: firewire if you have it) after you boot up. That way you can pull off your old files, and you can use the drive for backups. This one is twenty bucks; don't spend more than thirty.
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:25 PM on July 1, 2008

You might have to switch the dipswitch on the old drive to "slave" configuration, so it doesn't try to get the computer to boot from it. Then again you might not.

Otherwise, there shouldn't be any problems with what you want to do.
posted by mjewkes at 12:25 PM on July 1, 2008

Piggybacking on this question how hard would it be to do the exact same thing as the OP but from XP to Vista?
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:35 PM on July 1, 2008

BobbyDigital; no difference.
posted by odinsdream at 12:36 PM on July 1, 2008

You'll probably have to take ownership of all the files on the old disk before you can copy them if they are in your profile, other than that, it should work fine.
posted by Good Brain at 12:40 PM on July 1, 2008

I did the same exact thing you're asking earlier this week and it was very straight-forward. Just make sure BIOS is configured to load the new 640 gig HD first and all should be well. When you load XP, extent your notification area to start detecting new hardware- this is the old, 160 gig HD. Give XP a few it'll just be loaded as another hard drive. Select and drag.

I didn't have to take ownership or anything special, and it was from Vista-->XP (yes, I "downgraded." Team Fortress 2 is much happier now, though!). Unless you were doing special permissions, I wouldn't expect any difficulties.
posted by jmd82 at 12:52 PM on July 1, 2008

mjewkes: No master/slave worries, it's SATA.
jenkinsEar: the linked enclosure to won't work, it's IDE/ATA only. Although you don't need an enclosure (your method sounds perfect) NewEgg has a $32 eSATA/USB combo one or if you've got a few extra $$ lying around, this docking station supports both 3.5" and laptop (2.5") drives, I love mine.
There shouldn't be any particular risk with this, but I would definitely recommend leaving the old drive unplugged during the install, just so there's no chance of it getting screwed up.
I would recommend you take the time to create a new install CD with SP3 slipstreamed though. This way you avoid wasted hard drive space/cruft leftover after the SP3 install, not to mention the Lifehacker covers how to do it with nLite, but I personally prefer a simplified process using Nero. This has the added benefit of you never needing to install SP3 after reinstall ever again.
Your described process is spot on, it shouldn't give you any trouble.
posted by notpeter at 12:57 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the confirmations! Yes, the plan was to physically connect the older drive only after the XP install was completed.

Regarding the slipstreamed installation disc: already done! Just waiting for the hardware to arrive now.
posted by Zaximus at 1:15 PM on July 1, 2008

« Older Raccoons gotta go! Safety question.   |   Cottage or cabin getaway from NYC with pets Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.