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What is the best technique to keep my Winsows XP from my old PC when getting a new PC ?

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Good question. It should be noted that doing a clean install of the OS and moving over the files you want will generally make the new computer run faster, as you will leave behind any registry problems and such. But then you have to reinstall all the programs you want, etc. So migrating the whole OS would be faster. –  Nathan Long Jul 28 '09 at 16:23

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I own and recommend a copy of Acronis True Image. It allows you to create a complete image of your hard drive and restore it to another new drive very easily.

When restoring it to a new PC with a different motherboard, video card etc, upon restarting Windows will complain and sometimes blue screen.

To get around this you can boot from the Windows XP CD and choose to "Repair the installation". This will update / replace drivers with correct ones for the new hardware.

Alternatively, Acronis also offer a "Universal Restore" that is an add-on that automatically ensures your image is compatible with your new hardware.

I don't work for Acronis and have nothing to do with them apart from being a customer who is generally pleased with Acronis TrueImage (I still use version 8 and have no reason to upgrade).

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+1 Acronis True Image with Universal Restore. i use it for physical server migrations to virtual machines too. serverfault.com/questions/41099/… –  icelava Jul 16 '09 at 12:43
    
Do you know if this also works with an OEM installation disk? (Assuming the new PC is of a different type/brand than the old one.) –  Arjan Jul 16 '09 at 16:49
    
@Arjan, I've found that the "Repair installation" option is sometimes unavailable if you are trying to repair say XP Home with an XP Professional DVD (It's just not shown as an option). So the same could happen with an OEM disk. So ideally you probably want a retail version of the install disk for the same OS you are trying to repair. –  Ash Jul 17 '09 at 10:30

I actually think it's not easily done: Windows installations are very dependent on the hardware, so unless your new PC has exactly the same hardware as the current one, you're out of luck.

(I think this even includes the Windows activation, which is somehow bound to the hardware it was first installed on, and only allows for minor configuration changes without contacting Microsoft support.)

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It does not include Windows activation on XP at least, and dissimilar hardware is just a matter of using the right tools (sysprep or Acronis Universal Restore, or similar tools). –  Camilo Martin Feb 11 '12 at 20:58

Best approach would be to install on the new machine (assuming it isn't pre-loaded), and then use the "Files and Settings Transfer Wizard" to transfer your personal settings and files.

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This is not the best approach, if you consider time and effort important. It might be cheaper but these days there are far better options such as disc imaging software. –  Ash Jul 16 '09 at 11:32
    
Relative time, depends on how dis/similar the environments are really (given it's from one PC to another). In a consumer environment, the "New PC" will normally come pre-loaded, taking that step out, so you only need worry about the documents and settings, which the wizard handles quite well. –  Rowland Shaw Jul 16 '09 at 12:48
    
I don't believe the wizard will transfer your applications, only documents and other user data. –  Simon East May 5 '11 at 8:39
    
@Simon That's why I say the best approach is to install applications and then use the file and settings transfer wizard. Installing the applications is an important step, as there may be different files required for certain applications (like device drivers, or if moving from differing versions of the OS, like x86 to x64) –  Rowland Shaw May 5 '11 at 10:34

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