Older Hard Drive

Microsoft Windows vista home premium w/s...
January 17, 2010 at 12:59:02
Specs: Windows Vista
Hi, having a bit of a problem with my computer. I recently bought a new computer with Vista installed. As I didn't want to lose everything I had on my old hard drive (which has XP on) I wondered if I could just plug it in. A few net searches told me this probably wasn't the case. Having tried in a moment of madness to make it so, however, I seem to have messed everything up. My monitor no longer works (No Signal) and it seems to be trying to boot from my DVD drives instead of the hard drive (they light up continously). The set up now is exactly the same as when it was working, and so far as I know I just need to get into the BIOS, but I can't see what I'm doing. So, can I just plug in the hard drive? Are there things I need to do first? And how do I get my screen back? Any help is really much appreciated. Thanks in advance

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January 17, 2010 at 13:17:42
Your old drive is probably set as a master; you would need to set it as a slave drive before installing it in your new machine.

Options other than installing the old drive in your new machine.

1. Leave it in the old machine and transfer files over a network connection.

2. As above but transfer files using a USB memory stick.

3. Install the old drive in a USB external drive enclosure.


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January 17, 2010 at 13:38:24
Are you connecting the old drive to a cable with another device connected to it? Like the hard drive with Vista on it, for example?

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January 17, 2010 at 14:06:11
Answer all questions, supply all info asked for, make comments, please!

You haven't supplied enough information.

Tell us the make and model of your brand name system, or if you have a generic desktop system, the make and model of the mboard.
The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site.
The model, sometimes the make, of a mboard in a generic desktop system is usually printed on the mboard's surface in obvious larger characters, often between the slots.

Is the drive with XP on it IDE or SATA connected?
The one that came with the new computer is probably SATA.


It's sounds like you have a desktop computer.

If so, while you were fiddling inside the case you may have dislodged
- the video card in a slot , if you have one, and it needs to be re-seated. You need to make sure it's all the way down in it's slot.
- something else - a connection, card in a slot, or the ram.

- did you disconnect connections from the PS to get them out of the way while fiddling with the drives? If so, did you remember to re-connect them? E.g. new mboards require you connect TWO power connectors to them - the 24 "pin" one, and a smaller one. You'll probably get no video if the smaller one is not plugged in.

"DVD drives........(they light up continously). "
- did you disconnect data cable connections from IDE drives? If so, are you SURE you installed them in the right direction on the drive and/or the mboard? E.g. are your DVD drives IDE?

You MUST either unplug the computer, or switch off the AC to the computer or to the PS, whenever you fiddle with ANY connection inside the case, otherwise you can damage things! Did you do that?
ATX mboards are always powered by the ATX PS in some places, even when the computer is not running, as long as the PS is receiving live AC, it's switched on (if it has a switch), and it's connected to the mboard!

If you have both a video port or ports for onboard video built into the mboard, and a video port or ports on a card in a slot, in most cases, the onboard video and it's ports are disabled when you have a video card in a slot - you will not get any video from those - you must plug the monitor into a port on the video card in a slot.

If re-seating the video card doesn't help, try re-seating the ram, and checking to make sure everything is connected properly.

If you merely want to get personal data off of it, you should NOT boot from the drive with XP on it that had Setup run on it when it was connected to another mboard, because if the mboard hardware (main chipset, etc.) is more than a little different, which it probably is, XP's Windows will NOT LOAD - what you typically see is the first bit of Windows graphics, then a black screen, blinking cursor top left, nothing further happens.
You connect (SATA or IDE) and/or jumper the drive (IDE ), or change boot order / drive booted from settings in the bios Setup so you aren't booting from the XP drive.

(If you DO want that drive with XP on it to be able to boot XP on the new computer, that situation can be fixed, without you losing data on the XP Windows partition - you must have a regular XP CD in order to do that, preferably one that has SP3 updates built in. However, you usually don't necessarily need to boot XP in order to be able to retrieve your personal data.
I DO NOT recommend you set up your system so it dual boots XP and Vista, because by default you will LOSE ALL of your System Restore restore points in Vista EVERY TIME you boot XP, unless you follow certain procedures that may not be available for your version of Vista - must be Ultimate or Business - or you use a third party boot manager instead of Vista's or XP's built in multiple boot feature. )

Once you have video, you may need to change boot order or drive booted from settings in the bios Setup.

See the part starting "Bioses have boot order defaults they adhere to..."
in response 3 in this for more info:

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January 18, 2010 at 10:40:40
Thanks for the extremely quick and helpful replies. I've got my system back now, I must have knocked the RAM somehow - took it out and put it back and it lit up straightaway. Many thanks are in order.

So on the hard drive issue - Both are SATA drives by the looks of things, however my older hard drive uses one extra cable (white plastic one that is extremely hard to remove, the same type that also goes in my DVD drives) that I cannot seem to find the name of. A couple of searches has led me to the conclusion this is the power supply, yet my newer hard drive does not use this.

My motherboard is an Asus M4N78, on desktop pc that was custom built by pcspecialists.co.uk. My DVD drives are IDE, yes, but now the system boots just like it did before I messed with it it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem now.

I have no intention of using XP once the hard drive is installed, I would just like to get my sentimental stuff from it first, then if possible, reformat the drive. As I have this PC now due to the old one going kaput (No fault of my own, I assure you) this seems like the only (if somewhat tedious to someone as inexperienced as myself) option.

Any tips on an idiot-proof method of doing this? Again, a few searches turned up a result or two but seeing as I don't seem to have the same system as in the examples, and the others all talk in jargon, I'm sure I'm only going to end up asking more nice people daft questions again.

The hard drive is now sat without any wires in it. It has a SATA socket, one to connect to what I'm guessing is the power supply which my current hard drive also uses, and socket for the one which my current one doesn't have. If it's any help it looks like another power supply socket, with 4 pins sticking out of the back.

Thanks again, your help so far is very welcome.

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January 18, 2010 at 11:30:42
Older SATA drives may have a molex power socket, usually whitish, the same as the ones on IDE hard drives and IDE optical drives. You plug a larger 4 wire molex connector from the PS into them. Usually you have more of those coming from the PS than you need, but sometimes they're bundled or tied to keep them out of the way.
Newer ones have a SATA power connector, usually black, with more connections If your PS has a SATA power connector for that, you plug that in; if it doesn't you can buy molex to SATA power wiring adapters, and plug them into a larger molex power connector from the PS.

"I have no intention of using XP once the hard drive is installed, I would just like to get my sentimental stuff from it first, then if possible, reformat the drive. "
"Any tips on an idiot-proof method of doing this?"

See FYI and after in response 3.

"As I have this PC now due to the old one going kaput ..."

What are the symptoms? Usually you can fix what is wrong cheaply. E.g. if you weren't fiddling with installing ram that wasn't in it and worked before, which can cause no boot, it's often the power supply that has failed, and replacing it usually fixes the problem. Failing PSs often partially work, fans and hard drives may spin, leds may come on, yet you may get no video and the mboard will not boot all the way.
See response 4 in this:
If you don't want to risk buying a new PS to no avail, try the one from your newer computer with it, or another known working used PS if you have one.

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