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That's it.

I just need to backup disk coming from a Windows XP personal computer (dead cpu and/or motherboard) and restore it (with all applications and settings) on a different PC with different motherboard.

Is it possible?


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closed as off-topic by Nifle, bwDraco, fixer1234, random Feb 2 '15 at 4:01

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the PC has a different motherboard, you need to do a Sysprep /generalise. Sysprep is a special tool located on your original disk.

Whilst the Sysprep tool is much better in Windows Vista and Windows 7, you have to use the original in XP that can be very awkward (especially after service packs or patches have been applied).

Once you have done this, it will put your machine in a state that is untied to the hardware and ready for cloning - however, it may wipe out local users and as it regenerates SIDs, you may have a problem if other machines connect in to you.

This is the "official" way of cloning machines... If you simply want to move your machine, I recommend an off the shelf solution such as Acronis True Image which will allow you to clone easily.

Please note that whatever solution you choose, if the hardware has changed significantly (which it will have), you will probably need to reactive Windows. If you have an OEM edition, this will break the license - If you have an FPP or similar, you will be fine.

In addition, if you are technical, you may find this article interesting.

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The "Normal" Acronis True Image will do that? :O – Pitto Oct 13 '11 at 17:17
@Pitto - Yes it will! – William Hilsum Oct 13 '11 at 17:32
:OOOOOOOOOO Even using the hd of the source pc as a slave on another pc? – Pitto Oct 13 '11 at 18:43
Please can you explain exactly what you want to do!? – William Hilsum Oct 13 '11 at 22:14
Maybe I was unclear: sorry. I have a dead pc with really important data and programs (mysql server and similar nasty stuff). The hardware is gone so I thought about the possibility to backup the working windows installation to another pc with different hardware (but fully working). – Pitto Oct 14 '11 at 8:11

This is indeed possible. It's done in corporate environments all the time. The problem is that when you run Windows XP on the new machine, if you are using an edition that is not a corporate/volume license version, the system will recognize that the hardware has changed and you will be required to re-validate/re-activate Windows. This will likely work once or twice via automated means. If you keep trying to do it, you will likely get a response requiring you to call Microsoft to justify what you are doing.

It can be done using a variety of utilities, such as Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image.

I should point out the obvious that if you migrate your Windows installation to a new computer and you keep using it on the old computer, this is a violation of your license and is illegal. You must own a separate license for every computer you intend to use Windows on.

I would also point out that I did this exact same thing when I bought a new computer to replace an old one. So I know it can be done. I ghosted the image, restored it to the new computer, and all I had to do was re-enter my key and re-activate my Windows XP the first time I logged in.

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Would you suggest Ghost or Acronis? Can I do it using the hard disk of the old machine as slave in the new one? – Pitto Oct 13 '11 at 17:18
I'm sorry but maybe a little Bump... :) – Pitto Dec 27 '11 at 10:27
I have used Ghost in the past. If you want to migrate to a new hard disk on the new machine I would suggest: 1)Install old hard drive in new machine as a secondary drive. 2)Boot with Ghost or Acronis boot disk and replicate image from from secondary drive to your new hard drive. 3)Once image is verified by Ghost/Acronis, reboot and log into Windows. 4)Re-validate/re-activate Windows if it requires (which it probably will with a new CPU/Motherboard). After that I would recommend leaving the old HDD intact for a while until you're sure that there are no issues with the new system. – BBlake Dec 27 '11 at 21:13
Excuse me once again but in this case it would just be a perfect image and not a "driverless" one, right? So I just have to pray god for it to work? – Pitto Dec 28 '11 at 17:14
When copying an image, it's the exact image that it was on the old computer, installed drivers and all. Once on the new machine, you would have to uninstall no longer valid drivers and install new drivers for any hardware you didn't transfer over from the old box. A better option would be to install a fresh copy of Windows on the new machine, then install the hard drive from the old machine as a secondary drive so you can retrieve all of your files. But it would require re-installing all your software on the new machine, so it tends to be quite a bit more work to do to get up and running. – BBlake Dec 29 '11 at 1:57

No it is not possible. Windows is more or less bound to the hardware is installed on. That's why there is no real option of windows booting from an usb stick. The only thing you could easily do is to export your user and then transfer this to a clean new installation of windows xp.

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Darokthar is right hear. If you're in the mood to experiment, you might try to make an image backup of your partition, restore it on the new hardware, and start the new system with the Wondows XP boot disk and star a repair installation - there is a minimalistic chance that the repair installation does the necessary things and change drivers etc. But I strongly recommend a fresh installation. – guenter Oct 13 '11 at 16:51
Balanced unnecessary downvote – gd1 Oct 13 '11 at 16:54
I love justice. – Pitto Oct 13 '11 at 17:17

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