In regard to having two hard drives, I just bought a fast, new HP desktop
and installed an old drive from a failed computer in as the secondary.
Everything seems to be operating well. The primary drive is functioning nicely
and my experience is that of being on a new PC. How should I proceed if I want
to see my old desktop merge with the few new desktop icons when I boot up from
the main hard drive? Along with that, I want the primary hard drive to contain
all of the software and all the documents and other data files and the system
settings from my old computer’s hard drive? I’d like to use the secondary hard
drive as a backup from my documents and data.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #52, I look at the complexity involved in moving programs and
settings from one machine to another. A clean setup is the best bet.
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Copying hard drive settings
There are tools that will do some of it. Things like PC Mover may move applications
from one drive to another, from one machine to another
But the overall thing you’re trying to accomplish here – not practically
Installation is necessary
The best approach to this is to reinstall the programs that you care about on to this new machine, on to the C drive.
Even though they’re on that other drive (on that other
secondary drive that you’ve got on there), there’s really no practical way to
move them. Ditto for things like merging your desktops. There is no practical
way to merge two desktops.
Recreate desktop and settings
The best thing I can suggest is to customize the desktop, to the degree that
you want to, on your new machine. Recreate, in effect, the desktop that you’re
looking for. The desktop that is new plus the items that you remember being
on the old desktop.
The same thing is true for documents and settings. Copy the documents from
your backup drive; put them where you want them to be.
Settings for applications? Reset them up. Change the configuration options
on the applications that you’ve now installed on your new machine to be the way
you want them.
There really isn’t a good way to simply merge this stuff (this collection of
stuff on one hard drive) into Windows as it’s installed on a new hard
Merging is too complex
It’s an incredibly complex task to even accomplish in software! That’s why
you don’t see many offerings that try and do that. It’s actually more prone to
failure than anything else and it’s typically not what people end up
The best thing to do, the most reliable thing to do, and the least
frustrating thing to do in fact is to essentially rebuild your system from
Reinstall those applications.
Recover your data from your backup.
Reset your application preferences and move on.
Next from Answercast 52 – Why does it take so long for webpages to load?