Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
The approach that I'm going to suggest is quite practical and I think it kills two birds with one stone.
Hi, Leo. I've just brought my Toshiba laptop out of retirement and wish to upgrade the hard drive to a larger size. The laptop came with Windows XP Home Edition 2002 and I'm operating 32-bit. I do not have a disc, but I do have the product key number. What are my options to transfer the OS to a new drive, if any, without having to purchase a new program?
In this excerpt from Answercast #58, I look at two ways to replace a hard drive in an old computer.
Well, there are two approaches.
One actually does require that you purchase a new program - and that you go out and scour eBay or the secondary market for a copy of Windows XP. That will allow you to set it up from scratch. Given that you don't have a disc, that would be a nice safety net to have.
However, the other approach that I'm going to suggest is much more practical and I think it kills two birds with one stone.
Since you don't have installation discs, what I strongly suggest you do (regardless of whether or not you replace your hard disk) is you immediately get a copy of a good backup program like Macrium Reflect and create an image backup of your entire system. Save that.
Save that somewhere that you'll continue to keep for quite some time, because if something goes wrong on your system, that is a backup that you can revert to to get your system working again.
Now, the neat thing about having that backup, that system image backup, is that you can replace the hard disk.
What the steps are:
Take a complete system image (probably to an external hard drive which I recommend you get and continue to use for backup purposes).
Replace your computer's internal hard drive.
Then, booting from the recovery media that comes with the backup software, you can restore the backup image of your system to your new hard drive.
Then, the software will either allow you to resize that image to encompass the entire hard disk, or you can run out and use one of the free disk partitioning tools to actually do that for you.
But in either case, the key here is a good backup program; a good system
image backup program. Macrium
Reflect is the tool that I use and in fact have used for exactly what
you're looking to do.
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