I'm going to be building a computer, and I've got all the parts I need.

But, I left out the hard drive because I have an old one with XP on lying around.

Now, once I've built the computer, and I put in the old hard drive what will happen?

Obviously Window's is not going to like it, because it's a different chipset, and a whole new motherboard!

But, how do I "repair" it so it boots (I have an XP CD)

  • 2
    Simple! Reinstall Windows. People had big problems transplanting Windows XP HDD from one computer to another! In the end, it'd probably be easier to back up data and reinstall. – AndrejaKo Aug 7 '10 at 8:59
  • @AndrejaKo - Your comment is good enough to be an answer in my opinion. – Nifle Aug 7 '10 at 9:57
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    It would be possible to do such thing with Windows 7, my Windows installation has been used on different laptops and still works. The only thing one might need to do then is change the HDD controller driver before moving the hard drive to the other computer. Windows XP can't automatically switch drivers like Windows 7 because of the old driver architecture... (Retagged XP) – Tamara Wijsman Aug 7 '10 at 11:16

Once you've assembled your machine, try booting from your Windows XP install disk and using the 'repair' function as described on Microsoft's site: Perform a Repair Installation.

(I'd go for a complete reinstall myself though as I figure that a fresh install is likely to be more robust than a repaired installation.)


You will need to reinstall Windows XP on this computer.

Simply put the Hard Drive in the computer, the windows XP disc in the CD-ROM Drive and then configure you BIOS (usually accessed by hitting F1 or F2 or F10 right after turning on the computer) so that it boots from the CD-ROM. This will boot into the Windows install utility. Here you will be given options to reformat the hard drive (recommended) and reinstall Windows XP.

Be warned that you will lose all data on the hard disk, especially if you format the Hard Drive.


Oliver, if you bought a whole new PC, what would the expense be in just buying a 250 Gb HDD separate? The reason for my question is, your old drive/installation is not going to like the new PC at all. Therefore, my suggestion is to buy an extra hdd, 'fresh' install windows on it, and hook up the second drive afterwards (slave) as a backup to copy all your files from to the new drive. Voila, problem solved...

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