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Moving an IDE HDD to new hardware

November 2nd, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

A while ago I had an old computer with a single IDE hard disk in it running Windows XP Pro with many applications installed. I had a second computer with totally different hardware (different motherboard, vga, lan etc) and I wanted to move the hard disk from the old computer into the second one, retaining my windows installation/applications and boot from it. I was determined not to install Windows XP Pro again so I started looking into why the disk wouldn't boot when moved onto new hardware. It turns out that it's a problem with the driver for the IDE controller.

This procedure is intended to help you in either of the following situations:

1. When you want to move a hard disk from one computer to another where the new computer has completely different hardware to the old computer that the hard disk was in originally (and you still want to boot from it thus retaining your windows installation and all applications/programs).

2. When you want to upgrade the motherboard in your computer without having to reinstall Windows and all your applications/programs. This will only work if the motherboard is still functioning, if it is not then you will not be able to boot the original computer to make the necessary change(s) required for the disk to function with the new motherboard.

To achieve this use the following steps:

Boot the first (old) computer with the hard disk in it as normal, then go to control panel, double click the system icon, go to hardware tab, and click device manager button.

Within device manager find the 'IDE ATA/ATAPI CONTROLLERS' and expand the tab. Right click the controller that bears the name of the chipset present on your mainboard (do not touch the 'Primary IDE Controller' or 'Secondary IDE Controller') and select 'Update Driver'. Select 'No not this time' when it asks if you would like windows update to search for a new driver and click next. Then choose the option to 'Install from a list or specific location (Advanced)' and click next again. Now choose the 'don't search I will choose the driver to install' option and click next. Highlight/select the Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller and again click next. The Standard controller driver will now install, click 'Finish' to continue. Now reboot (click yes when prompted with 'Do you want to restart your computer now?') and logon to your computer as normal. The standard IDE controller driver is now completely installed.

After installing the hard disk in the new computer or installing your new mainboard and booting from the hard drive for the first time you will have to wait a couple of minutes before you can use the computer. This is because Windows is automatically detecting the new hardware and installing all of the relevant drivers it can. Most of the drivers are installed for you automatically. When Windows has finished updating your drivers it will ask you to restart the computer again. Once restarted launch device manager to see which items of hardware still require drivers. You will have to go to the relevant manufacturer’s website to download and install any that are missing.

  1. Ron Haber
    December 3rd, 2007 at 14:56 | #1

    Your information allowed me to set up my wife's birthday present -- a new computer with her old IDE hard disk drive's WinXP Pro OS. The old computer's mainboard was no longer functioning, but I was able to use a third machine, in which her WinXP worked, to follow through with the IDE Controller standard drive switch. Thanks so much from a grateful husband.