swapping hard drives of two laptops

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anujchopra

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Mar 11, 2011
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hi,
i have 2 laptops both running win xp sp3.
is it possible for me to take out the hard disk of one and put it in the other. i wish to do so as one of them has some problem with the on/off switch and isn't starting up and need some important data out of it.
can any one please put some light on the risks involved in this process and if once i swapped the hard disks, would xp boot with out any hassles?
hoping for a reply soon.
thanks
 
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i cannot remember if there is a difference when it comes to this or not. I do believe that if the difference is the chassis of the machine itself, then the drivers will be different and the cmos or bios setting will be different. Technically it will boot up and start, but it will take a little time and eventually work. I do the same with my windows xp machine, 2 different hard drives and different data on both from two different computers. But to be safe, boot it in safe mode first to see if the driver installation utility picks up the processor and other important drivers that needed to be installed first.
 
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It would only boot if the machines are identical. It has the drivers for the machine it was installed on. XP would need to be reactivated.

If Windows came with the machines, and are OEM versions of Windows and not retail versions, it would be illegal to use the installations on other machines, even if they worked, which is doubtful.
 

anujchopra

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drivers like the one for lan, sound, display etc or some other drivers which i cannot install once if eventually xp does boot up.
could i know the exact procedure to reactivate windows.

can you suggest any other method to get that data from the hdd?
 
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Yes, a bootable CD or USB stick is the best.

*******************************************
Parted Magic disk partitoning tool (Bootable CD image)
If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.
*******************************************

Just download the Live USB tool, choose Parted Magic from the list, put in a CD, and it will download it and make a bootable USB key for you.

Or, burn the iso file and make a boot CD.

============================================

Reactivating is easy. If needed, a pop-up will tell you. It can probably be done over the net automatically. If not, it will give you phone numbers. That is not the part you need to worry about.
 
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That's a great idea. Would also want to make sure that your laptop can boot from usb also. In most of my machines, I have to make sure that boot from usb is listed within the BIOS boot sequence.
 

anujchopra

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yeeah the boot from usb is mentioned, but i still havent been able to understand how this would help me get data out of the other laptop. as in, what is the process, its not quite clear to me.
 

crjdriver

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If you just want to get data files from the drive, why not install the drive in an enclosure and plug it into the working laptop?
You can use a live CD to copy data from problem systems however you do need to understand at least a little about linux. If you use the external enclosure, you do not have to have any linux skills. Here is a link to a usb enclosure for 2.5" drives [what you should have in a laptop]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182138

Note that is for a sata type drive, if you have an ide drive, you need an ide type enclosure.
 

anujchopra

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@crjdriver, my first attemp was exactly what you are suggesting but then i read somewhere that for windows to be able to detect the other hdd as an external media, i'd have to format the drive first. correct me if i'm wrong.
 
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no and yes.

When you connect the external hdd to the system it will pick it up and recognize that it is an external usb removable media. You would have to format the drive only if the drive is not formatted to the correct table that the windows can read. Since this was a hdd that the windows can read, format is only an option for this, not required. This is how I have several hdds in place on my ftp server at my home.

Using a usb boot or a live cd as a system os is a good option only if the drive's os is corrupted on the os systems side but not the data or there is no os installed on the drive. Some of the computer guru's I know use this option because the data is encrypted and there is no os on the computer, just encrypted data.
 

anujchopra

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Mar 11, 2011
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ok this is what i'll be doing (kindly correct me or give inputs where ever necessary)

i buy a casing for 2.5'' hdd.
put the drive in that.
use it via usb like any other portable drive.


PS. how do i know if my drive is sata or ide?
 
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Look at the back of the hdd, if there is a flat, double "L" shapped connector, SATA. If there is small pins and 2 rows of them, IDE.
 

anujchopra

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would the SATA need to be powered externally or only a usb connection is required?
 
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