If I buy the same model replacement machine, can I just move the hard disk?


I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 operating on Vista. It has had problems with the monitor frame and hinges. I want to buy a used laptop of the same model and move my hard drive over to it. If I purchase a laptop with the same operating system, what kind of problems will I encounter? What if the used machine is purchased using Windows 7?

I receive so many variations of this question where people want to replace or swap hard drives from one machine into another.

Swaps like this usually don’t work, but your scenario actually could. Nonetheless, there are indeed a couple of misconceptions that I want to clear up here.

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Can I use backup software to move programs?

Hi. I’m thinking of buying some backup software. Can you give me some advice please? I use a PC tune-up from AVG and it wiped everything from my computer. Fortunately, it has an option to reinstall deleted files, so I was okay. That’s why I started to research the subject, so it wouldn’t happen again. That’s also how I came across your site. I’m using Windows 7 Premium and I have many programs that I use daily to manage my website (apart from other things). I have an external disk drive, but I don’t use it. I’m thinking of buying a new computer in the near future, which will have Windows 8 installed. I want to be able to move programs from one computer to another without losing the data within them. Can I do this or not using imaging software?

When it comes to imaging or backup software, I recommend Macrium Reflect. Ideally, you should be using this (or any kind of backup software) already, if for no other reason than to back up your files.

In regards to your question, however, you need to remember that backing up and moving programs are two different things. I’ll explain why that’s important.

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What do I do if SFC detects but cannot fix a problem?

I run Vista, SP2, Home Premium. The results of “sfc /scannow” show a couple of files that cannot be repaired. It couldn’t re-project a corrupted file; the source file in store is also corrupted. PublicKey neutral in the store, hash mismatch. Now, I don’t find this problem mentioned in your archives. I see the problem addressed on the web, but the various solutions presented seem either overly complex or too simplistic for me to comfortably try them. I see some people have tried these “solutions” that (after getting feedback that the files are restored) run “sfc /scannow” again and receive the same error indications. Is this a case of a problem that is not a problem? What are your thoughts? How would you proceed to restore these files?

The System File Checker (SFC) uses several techniques to detect that one or more of your system files have been either inappropriately replaced or damaged. SFC then tries to repair the problem.

Unfortunately, it can’t repair everything. In your case, that puts you in a hard spot.

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Should I upgrade to a 64-bit operating system?

I just installed a new board and CPU that is 64-bit capable, but I have a 32-bit operating system. Would it be worth the time to go to 64-bit? I have 16 GB of RAM that (from what I read) is not being accessed with the 32-bit OS. Is this something to be concerned about?

“Concerned” is hard for me to judge, as is whether or not it’s worth your time to go to 64-bit.

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself some tough questions. How much time would you feel like spending on this? How much money is involved? For instance, if you’re running Windows, you may have to buy a new copy of the operating system. How much do you use your computer?

Let’s talk about what that might involve.

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Should I wait for the next edition of Windows?

My computers have Windows XP. As Microsoft will no longer issue updates after next year, I was wondering if I should wait for Windows 8.1? I’ve heard so many negative things about Windows 8 that I’m hesitant to buy it. I’m a senior citizen and just use my computer for the internet and email so I only need the basic. I’m told Windows 7 is more user friendly and I’m wondering if maybe that would be my best bet?

If there’s nothing prompting you to upgrade or change now, then I would wait.

8.1  will probably resolve some of the issues that people had with Windows 8, but not all of them. It is still Windows 8 and it’s an incremental improvement.

I know Windows 8 has cause a lot of grumbling. But it’s fine. It really is.

Let me explain why I feel that way.

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