Ask the Expert

Can I avoid re-installing Windows XP?

I'm trying to copy my old hard disk on a new disk. On the old disk I have installed Win XP, so I would like to copy the disk and use the new disk without re-installing Win XP. But when I use the new disk, Win XP starts and, before the login presentation, the system stops and I have to reboot the computer.
It sounds like one of two things is happening:
  • You've changed more about the hardware than just the new disk.
  • You didn't copy Windows properly to the new disk.

My suggestion is to take the old disk and run the Files & Settings Transfer Wizard (available off the Start Menu). You can copy files and personalized settings to a network drive, a thumb drive, another hard disk, or anything else. Then, on the new disk, reinstall a clean copy of Windows XP and then relaunch the wizard on the new installation. It will then fetch a copy of your files and settings, apply them to your new copy of XP, and you should be good to go.


Additional information on Windows XP

  • Expert response: XP SP2 installation fouling up system startup?
    I tried to install Windows XP SP2. After installation was finished, I could not log in because the computer failed to display the login screen. I tried safe mode and even last good variant but the same thing happens. How can I resolve this without reinstalling the entire Windows system?
If you have other Windows XP questions for Kevin Beaver and Jonathan Hassell, just send them along!

This was first published in September 2006

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