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Possible to use old XP hard drive with Win. 7 on new drive...?


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Howdy Folks.

I have 5 boxes' worth of parts to put together, and still no operating system. I have yet to hear from Digital River as to whether or not the items I scanned and sent to them are sufficient proof that I'm a college student for the $30 price for Win. 7 Professional Upgrade.

I have a question in regards to my old 200 GB hard drive.

It's an ATA 100 200 GB Maxtor hard drive. Will I need some special kind of adapter so that the newer 300 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 can access it? The Seagate is SATA. Are they already compatible in regards to exchanging information, or...?

What I would like to do is setup my 200 GB to be a slave, and the 300 GB to be the master. Now the Win. 7 64-bit operating system is going on the 300 GB hard drive. My concern is this: if I DON'T overwrite the 200 GB hard drive, which has Win. XP already iinstalled on it, will the 300 GB master hard drive with Win.7 have any difficulties writing/retrieving/processing data to/from it? Or, do I have to zero out the old 200 GB drive, set it to "slave," and have it connected to the newer 300 GB master hard drive before I install Win. 7? I thought that I read somewhere that if one had more than one hard drive connected together at the time that Win. 7 was installed, that the installation process would automatically format any additional hard drives that are slaved to the master that's receiving the Win. 7 encoding. Is this correct? If so, then I'd want to connect the old 200 GB only after the new OS is installed on the 300 GB drive, right?

Ideally, I'm hoping that it's no big deal if I leave the Win. XP system installed on the old hard drive, but I wonder if I have to uninstall Win XP from that drive so that it can be installed on the newer drive first, and be ready for the Win. 7 Professional Upgrade to "sense" that it's already installed and that only the one license is rightfully being used, so that it will proceed with the installation of the upgrade...

Thanks for your insights!

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you won't need an adapter at all providing your motherboard has an IDE cable slot or a slot that looks similar to the one your maxtor 200GB hard drive uses or get an IDE to SATA adapter dirt cheap online. to make the 300GB one the master, insert it into the SATA0 slot. hard drive don't connect together as far as i know, but they work together so create more space.

Windows 7 and windows XP will not conflict with eachother unless they are on the same drive, on 2 different hard drives there should be nothing wrong, you will probably get boot options when you start up in which you pick the OS.

just shout at me if i am barking up the wrong tree :P

or if i missed something out.

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Thank you Zeealex!

Alright, so it's good to know that I won't have to worry about an XP hard drive communicating through a different Win 7 hard drive because they won't be physically hooked up to one another.

And I can't imagine ever wanting to start up the computer from the old 200 GB hard drive, so having to select a boot option shouldn't be an issue either.

I still have one question though, just to be sure, and that's if whether or not I should have the 200 GB hard drive plugged into the motherboard at the time I'm installing the Win & Professional Upgrade on the newer 300 GB hard drive. Will the Win 7 installation process automatically "seek out" other hard drives,. and overwrite or reformat them? I want to avoid this because I want to preserve what's on the 200 GB drive.

Which reminds me, should I uninstall Win. XP from that old 200 GB hard drive before I plug it into the new motherboard? The reason I ask is due to the licensing issue. If I can only have Win. XP installed on 1 computer, if I leave it on the old hard drive, wouldn't that count (or, more accurately, be misinterpreted) as being 2 uses of the license, thus "violating" it? If that happened, would it be possible that the Win. 7 Upgrade won't install itself, or am I barking up a wrong tree?

Also, if I uninstall he Win. XP operating system from the old 200 GB hard drive, would that make it impossible for me to retrieve all of the other data that's on that hard drive?

Still nervous!


April 9, 2011

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hey, sorry about the late reply been really busy :P

and also you can change the boot priorities in the BIOS. to:

boot 1: CD_Drive (so you can actually install the OS)

boot 2: [the 300gb hard drive]

boot 3: [the 200gb hard drive]

so then hopefully the boot options wont bother you.

the windows 7 disk will prompt you to select the drive you install windows on so then you go by ear. the drive which has close to or 300GB space is the one you want, or the unformatted one (windows will format it, you want to choose NTFS if prompted)

if you uninstall XP then the files are essentally uninstalled with it. so you will lose all of your files. if you want to put it lightly something i missed out is windows XP wont run on the new system (bluescreens/restarts on final loading process) if you boot from that HD, reason being is because of the sudden changes, but i do think files are still readable from a freshly installed HD and OS (like the windows 7 one on your 300GB). i'll look into it on my test PC. (i think you can do a repair through an XP disk which could sort it)

and technically speaking, if it has stayed on the same drive then it still only allocates one license :devil: but windows 7 (if you have the disks) wont be particularly fussed i believe, it was on my keygenned XP drive (i know tut tut but the disk itself is genuine), it refused to install but for yours, it stays legitimate so you are fine.

something interesting from the test PC again, if you install windows 7 over the XP on the 200GB hard drive then once installed, go to program files, there should be a file called windows_old, enter that an voila! all the data from XP is there :P

Edited by Zeealex
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This is how I do it. When I do a clean OS install, I unplug all other drives - install my OS, make sure it's running okay.

Then plug in your other drives.

In this way you can avoid the risk of having your boot drive named something other than C:/ and other mis-haps. That happened to me once, since then I always do as above.

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I agree with Rocky. It is the easiest way and you don't have to mess with multiboot. Your mainboard should have an option to choose boot device if you wanted to load xp up for some reason. I did this when I went from vista to 7. That way if there was an issue i could always load vista back up.

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Thanks for the feedback folks.

So, if I'm understanding things correctly, I should just leave Win. XP installed on my old 200 GB hard drive.

Install Win. 7 Professional Upgrade to the new 300 GB hard drive but do this WITHOUT any other hard drives installed.

Does Win. XP have to be installed on the 300 GB hard drive, or can it be zeroed out (remember it's a newer hard drive that was a gift to me, and not brand new), and then install Win. 7 Professional Upgrade on it? My confusion is this: does XP have to be on the newer 300 GB hard drive in order for the Win. 7 Upgrade to be installed, or can it be installed on a clean hard drive, and at a certain point in the installation process, Win. 7 Upgrade asks for my old Win. XP keycode, and once I enter that code, Win. 7 assumes that the installation process is legit, or...?

However it's achieved, after the Win. 7 OS is installed, I can then hook up my old 200 GB Win. XP hard drive to the system. Before I do this, I should set its jumper to "slave," yes? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like no matter how I install the Win. 7 Upgrade to the newer 300 GB hard drive, the system will not be able to access the data on the old 200 GB XP hard drive, correct? If that's the case, then should I zero out the old 200 GB hard drive, or would it just be wiser and safer to just delete all of its data, and then perhaps run Eraser to overwrite everything with a single pass of randomized data, or...?

And one more question: can I install my old XP-based Windows Office for Small Business and PowerPoint 2003 and have it run properly in Win. 7, or are those programs nerfed by the new OS? If they're nerfed, I'm just going to use OpenOffice.

Thanks again!

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With upgrades they usually check to see if xp is installed 1st. There used to be a loophole though which apparently is still there. Instead of loading xp, don't put a key in when running the Windows 7 install. Instead, skip it. It will install windows 7 in trial mode. Then you can upgrade that. It is a much cleaner install that way and you won't have to wait the horrible amount it takes to install windows xp compared to widows 7. Also xp before sp2 would not (i think sp2, not sp1) load on a drive over 160gb)

Method 1 ) Without doing a double install - you have change the registry so if you don't like it, use 2nd method


Method 2) Double Install method -


Legallity wise


If you own XPfor that pc and are not longer going to use it, this method is legal.

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And one more question: can I install my old XP-based Windows Office for Small Business and PowerPoint 2003 and have it run properly in Win. 7, or are those programs nerfed by the new OS? If they're nerfed, I'm just going to use OpenOffice.

Thanks again!

If you decide to go opensource, nt the openoffice dev team have moved onto a new product, LibreOffice. That's what I use.

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With using the first method you referred me to, what does it mean to "Handle the UAC prompt?" Hopefully, nothing too tricky...!

I appreciate the three links that you supplied to me. I'm strongly leaning to the second double-install method, as it just seems the simplest to do. I'm a little nervous with altering any kind of OS file, especially if it's important that there aren't any pending updates. What are the odds of that not happening?

LibreOffice sounds cool. I've downloaded it and it's ready to install as soon as I get the Win. 7 OS up and running.

Thanks for the input all !

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It just means that after you right click and run as administrator, Windows 7's UAC (security) will ask you if you really want to open the program as an administrator. All you have to do is click yes.

If your nervous, then the registry wouldn't be a method for you. The double install is the easiest.

No, it's not nerfed, but it 2003 does not handle new formats like docx. You would need 2007-2010.

I haven't worked with open offices new creation but .... you have to make sure you change all the settings in them not to save in their format but to save it office formats also. Besides that, things are in different areas in each of their programs so its not advised to use as a learning tool if you will be using office later in a job as things are located in different places then in the standard MS office suites. It will however get you buy and is free.

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