New computer. Old drives. Need help!

Discussion in 'Technical' started by Tracy, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    I got a new Acer for Christmas. Now my kids won't laugh at me and my old, slow [lack of] technology. ;)

    I opened up Dell (secondary computer) and tried to plug in my old hard drives, hoping for some plug-n-play ability. Didn't work. :(

    My old hard drives have a lot of stuff I'd still like to access. Is there any way to be able to plug in my old drives into Dell and just be able to read them at will?

    I'll await your answers before I throw away Frankenstein (old computer's name) in case keeping him is the only way I'll ever have access.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Best Bet: Copy the files you want to a portable drive (assuming you have a USB port on Frankie) and copy from that onto the new machine. Or a CD, if Frankie can burn. Chances approach zero that the new and old have compatible OS that would allow any sort of direct connection.

    An alternate is find a local guru that can make the copies from Frankie in a form that the Dell can accept. Another alternate is to get the kids to set up a network so that the new machine can read the files on the old machine. Oddly enough, that is something you can probably do yourself with something already on the OS in both machines. Likely easier if you get Network Magic, a free download and an interconnection cable. 'Pert near idiot proof if I can do it, and I did.
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    You will have to go into BIOS and set the boot sequence. I always set my boot sequence as CD-Rom, FDD, C-Drive, D-Drive. Also, pay attention to SATA or IDE ports. The label on the old hard drive should have all information you need to determine the HDD type.

    Here is a good article on installing an old hard drive

    Several Yes's, but with cautionary notes.

    First, connection system. I guess your new machine has a SATAII HDD, and it's connected to the SATA0 mobo port. Further, your BIOS Boot Priority probably is set to boot from the CDROM first, then hard drive on the SATA0 port, and no other option. Now, how about your old 80GB drive? IF it also is SATA, you can just plug it into another SATA port. IF your BIOS enables each SATA port independently (not common) you might have to enable that one. It will still boot from the SATA0 port, and your old disk should just show up in My Computer ready for use.

    However, if the old one was an IDE drive, obviously you need to [COLOR=blue ! important][COLOR=blue ! important]connect[/COLOR][/COLOR] it there. In that case you will need to pay attention to Master and Slave questions. Any IDE port can handle two devices on the port and cable. If the old drive was the only drive in that system, it probably was set with its jumpers to Master, but check anyway. It should connect to the far end of the 80-conductor ribbon cable. Now check your CDROM drive if it also was on the IDE port. If it was there by itself, it will have been set to Master, and need to be changed to Slave. On the other hand, if you CDROM drive is already on a SATA port, just leave it there and don't worry. Now boot into the BIOS Setup and make sure the IDE port is enabled so it can be used.

    Now, IF both the old 80GB drive and the CDROM are on the IDE port, when you boot up Windows probably will re-assign drive letter names. This can cause trouble when your already-installed software goes looking for a CDROM that used to be D: and now has been re-labeled. To check and fix, go into Disk Management. Each drive will show its label. If you RIGHT-click on it one menu option is to change its letter name. The trick here is you can only change it to an unused letter. So if your old drive is now D: and the CDROM is E: and you want to switch that around, you do it in two steps. First you make the old drive into something like J:, then change the CDROM to what it should be (like D[​IMG], then change the old drive again to its final name, E:. Reboot to make that final.

    As far as booting into your old XP, that can be tricky. As installed on your old machine, it had all the drivers needed for its devices, but will be missing drivers for many devices on your new machine. Sometimes you can fix that by doing what's called a Repair Install from your old XP Install CD. If you are going to try that, I would suggest you disconnect your new drive first, so there is no possibility the Repair Install will do anything to your new drive. After you get XP fixed up and working you can re-connect the new drive. Even to do this you may have to temporarily set in BIOS which drive is being used for booting, etc.

    There's another likely problem. The old XP installation, without doubt, will detect that is is now running on a machine with totally new hardware, leading it to believe you have made an illegal second installation of this licensed software. To solve this you would have to phone Microsoft Support and explain what you've done - moved your drive to a new machine, leaving the old machine useless with no OS, and ask them to help you re-authorize XP on the new machine. To avoid confusing them, maybe don't get into the detail that you plan to have two OS's on different drives and plan to use both on different occasions.

    So, if you get all this working, one simple way to control the (almost) "dual boot" system you have is to use the BIOS to change which drive you actually boot from. One way to do that, when you want to, is to enter the BIOS Setup screens as you turn the machine on and reset the Boot Priority. Then change it back on a later occasion. But you might get away without that, too. I think there's a simple procedure during the boot sequence where you can push a key to bring up a menu that asks exactly which hard drive to boot from. Look for that in your new system's BIOS manual.
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Norton ghost is the easy way to do it.
  5. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    +1 for ghost
  6. Conagher

    Conagher Dark Custom Rider Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The main reason why the computer won't boot with the old hard drives from another system, is the device drivers that are loaded from the old system (chipset, video card, sound card, NIC, modem, etc. are different than the device drivers for the new system.

    The new system has it's own hard drive, so keep it as the master hard drive. On your old drive that you want to move some files from, set it to be the slave (secondary) drive. There should be a 2 pin jumper on the end of the drive next to the data cable and power cable plugins. Set it on the slave setting.

    Depending upon if it's a Sata or IDE drive then find the corresponding slot on the motherboard and plug in the data cable.

    Once you power on the system, the BIOS should recognize the secondary drive as a slave drive. Then you can use Windows Explorer to look for pictures, music, etc. that you want to move over to the new hard drive.

    This method works for me most of the time if both drives have the same OS on them, but you can run into a hiccup once in a while.

    This easiest method would be to put the old hard drive back into your old system and power it up. Then as Ghrit suggested, use a portable drive like a 4GB thumb drive (around $ 10 - $15 from WalMart) and use it to copy your files over to the new system. Norton Ghost works great if you want to make a backup image of your entire system or a certain partition.
  7. tommy20/69

    tommy20/69 Monkey++

    take the old fanky to bestbuy and have them transfer everything onto a disc for you if you need to.
  8. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, they can. The worm in that apple is copying the old OS, which very likely will result in a conflict.
  9. tommy20/69

    tommy20/69 Monkey++

    do a web search for any updated drivers you might need to run older programs on newer os's
  10. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Wow. You are awesome!

    I'm going to try and do it here, rather than take it out. I'm afraid that I'd be laughed out of Best Buy, as you wouldn't believe what I've put Frankie through. Extra fans, power supply, drives... (how he got his name). :D

    I have a thumb drive, but I was hoping to keep my new system clean(er), and still be able to access my client's websites, school work, etc. from the old drives.

    Dell and Frankie both have XP so, after reading above, I'm thinking that should work out nicely.

    Cross your fingers!
  11. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer is how I did it, carbonite is an online backup service, I purchased the service for my beater laptop , it automatically copies everything to the web, then I hookedup the new computer sysytem and transferered, subsription,and restored the data. worked with my photos and documents.
  12. Sherman

    Sherman Dog Eat Dog

    I'm in the middle of this right now. For short term I'm using a usb jump drive to get items like firefox bookmarks and quickbooks data. But am ordering an external drive enclosure. my new system is a compact system w/ no room for slave drives and its SATA. My old is a 160gb IDE so it will make a good backup drive via the USB port. Suweet.
  13. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Done. Ta-Da!

    It can only hold one extra hard drive, but I checked both and it will read them. Do those flat long-pinned cables come with 3 plugs instead of just 2? That would be ideal and worth a trip to the computer store.

    Next challenge: Network me! I've worked on (with) them for years, but never had to set one up. Can you walk me through it?
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Get Network Magic, makes life a little easier even tho' it is doable with installed software in the M$ suite. Free download. About all you will need is a cable (Cat 5, I think) and some patience. Plug one end into each machine, go to start, settings, control panel, network wizard. I think the settings are easy from there. Might also be able to do it with a USB cable, but that is apt to be slower.

    Uv cuss, ;) a wireless network is the way to go, but costs a bit more since you need a router.
  15. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Oops! :oops: I guess you need to know: I have 4 computers (all wired) running in my office. I have a 4-port router to support them. I only want to access Dell from Acer.

    Does that help you help me? [batteye]

    As far as technical terms go; I'm ignorant [dunno]. I don't know my SATA from my IDE.
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Ah. All you need is a cable and setting it up, no router needed. Frankie to Acer, with Frankie as the file server? (Or vice versa.) Meaning, as I think you must already know, two way sharing is problematic. Set one up to read files on the other, but not vice versa. You then make copies of the files that need to be backed up on the other (save as) and store them as needed. Did it that in wayback times, worked well. These days, I haven't set that up, and transfer files with a palm drive, strictly for backup. Both machines are independent except for sharing the wireless hookup to DSL.
  17. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  18. Conagher

    Conagher Dark Custom Rider Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    SATA cables do not have 3 slots to slave a second drive on each cable, but IDE does. If you slave a 2nd hard drive on an IDE cable, make sure the master drive is plugged into the end slot and the slave is in the slot closest to the mobo. The drives themselves, have to have the little 2 pin jumper set to either Master (for the Master drive) and Slave (for the Slave drive) or both set to CS for Cable Select.

    You can either get a crossover ethernet cable to hook 2 computers up directly and then setup permissions to share files between them, or you can get a small switch/hub and 2 regular cat 5 cables to do the same thing.
  19. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    +1 Conagher. Forgot the crossover requirement. That lesson was learned the hard way.
  20. mage2

    mage2 Monkey+++

    i think the most painless way is to put the old drives in usb enclosures.
    he said he needed access to the files not the software, the new PC should come with whatever software he needs to read the data.
    so put the old drive in a usb enclosure and plug it into the new system. it will come up under "my computer" depending on the new systems OS. and you will have access to all the old drives. unless i missed something.
    are you anywhere near texas? i am in central texas and could help ya out if needed.
    I work in computers and have more than a few years under my belt. now im working in network security. stopping the bad guys from breaking in and stealing your digital stuff.
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