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I have an old Dell430 with Windows XP and Ubuntu 10.04 installed on it and I will be switching to a new DellE4200 laptop. I would like to avoid re-installing my old system to the new system.

Is there a way to do this? Eg. Can I use something like clonezilla to migrate my old hard disk to the new hard disk?

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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just copying a hard drive to a new machine with a different hardware configuration most often results in more headaches than it is worth. Your headaches will be compounded since you are also dual booting.

Your best chance at making it work would be Paragon Backup & Recovery. It has worked for me in the past moving Windows from one machine to another with a different hardware configuration, but it isn't perfect as you will often get Windows licensing errors, driver errors, registry errors, and other such errors, and I have never tried it with dual booting. All the previously mentioned errors are easy enough to fix, but in my opinion why even take the chance for errors when you could just do fresh install and ensure that everything works good.

In summary doing what you want is possible, but performing a fresh install is really the way to go when migrating to a machine with a different hardware configuration.

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Paragon Software also has a Migrate app which does the job for you.

I've used it, love it, it just works. It's better than using Paragon Backup & Recovery, which is terrific too and saved me big time once, but it isn't meant for migrating, so you'll have problems with it.

But the Migrate app is equipped to handle those problems. You can even put your system on an external USB drive with Migrate and run your own OS and programs off the external drive on a totally different machine.

Someone told me you can even use it on a friend's PC and when done, just unplug your external drive from the USB port.

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Yes, but unfortunately, Windows will probably give you no shortage of fits. more than likely, the HAL between your old dell & new dell has changed, such-that windows won't boot without a re-install. On the flip side, you can do one of those repair-installs of xp and might be able to repair it after cloning the disk over. Linux on the other hand... rarely has a problem.

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Windows Vista and Windows 7 do a much better job of this than XP did. I still wouldn't recommend it, though, but then I wouldn't recommend it for linux either. –  Joel Coehoorn Apr 12 '11 at 20:26
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Agreeing with what TheCompWiz and typoknig wrote about Windows. Assuming the two systems use the same processor series and mount their hard drives and other devices at the same mount points, you may very well be able to simply copy the Ubuntu partition over and have it work.

If you do reinstall Ubuntu, you can get a list of installed packages with

dpkg --get-selections > selections.txt

Then to install those packages on the new system, copy selections.txt over and:

aptitude update
dpkg --set-selections < selections.txt
aptitude upgrade

You may have to add some non-default repositories, but since you already use Ubuntu I'm assuming you know how to do that.

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