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Whats the best way to install Windows on a new hard drive using recovery disks?

Bill writes in with a troubleshooting question

Question:
I have a Compaq Presario desktop (SR5310F), 2 gigs memory, 250 gig HD, Intel dual core CPU E2140 and Vista home premium with sp2. The OS was pre-installed but has a recovery partition. If I may mention the product key on the sticker on the side of unit differs from the product key found by a software product key finder I downloaded. I don't know if this affects the reinstallation of Vista or not. Which brings me to this, my hard drive is beginning to make a few more noises of late. The system locks up and/or is slow to react in some cases. But then continues on. My experience and knowledge tells me through research that my HD (4yrs old) is beginning the end of itself. What I would like to do rather than purchase a new pc is to purchase a new hard drive and transfer the OS to it as it will become the primary as I will remove the old HD. I've done the recovery disc process (3 DVDs) as per HP, so I think I now at least have that part done. I should mention that the existing HD is a SATA. So all I want to do is prolong the life of my pc. Being on disability I'm kind of cash strapped. So, is my so called plan a possibility? Put the OS on a new hard drive while old drive still draws a breath. Hope I've provided enough info for you folks. Just a reminder, I have the 3 DD recovery discs for the OS. I do not have a single out of the box windows vista home premium disc.

Answer: I would buy the new hard drive and install it using the same connection as the old one. Then with the old drive unplugged (you can leave it mounted in the computer) I would install Windows on the new drive using your recovery DVDs. After that you can plug your old drive into a different SATA port and make sure the computer recognizes it. You may have to go into Disk Management to make sure its listed right and has a drive letter.

Then you can transfer your data to your new drive. Keep in mind that you can’t copy most programs over to a new installation of Windows and have them work so you will have to reinstall them. Then you can either use your old drive for an extra drive or take it out.

Another option is to backup your data to DVDs and not bother with leaving the old drive in the computer.

As for your key you can write down the one found with the key finder just in case but you should be able to use the key on the sticker. It may be a case of Windows being installed with a master image and it doesn't match the key on your sticker.




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