Transferring XP from Laptop to old tower



I bought a new mainboard for my tower (MSI-X58, Intel i7-920, 3Gg) Corsair) and plan on installing it in my present tower and hard drive which has XP Professional installed. I expect some problems with all the new components and XP but that’s in the future for now although any advice would be appreciated.

My question is about the old board (evga 680i, 2.4Mz Core2, 2 Gb RAM, 8800GTS APG) which I want to install in another tower. Unfortunately that tower has ME installed. However, I also have an old HP laptop that does have XP installed.

What I want to do: Remove the hard drive from the laptop with XP on it and install it in the old tower along with my old mainboard, the evga above.
Knowing that XP keeps track of its surroundings, I expect this will not work but I would like your input on what I might be able to do to get around the expected XP reaction to its new environment.

Any and all help would be appreciated.

PS, just to be clear, I would be using XP only on one computer. The laptop would be ditched, it doesn’t work anyway and the tower would become the computer of use. I just want to transfer the XP license, if possible, from the laptop to the tower.



Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

The best option is certainly a fresh installation, but anyway I can’t see where is the problem. After you install all components, simply run again the online registration if Windows will ask it :slight_smile:

The fresh installation is anyway my suggestion, because you’ll not have a mess in drivers and in the registry (that still will contain all information about the old hardware). This could cause some instability in the system :frowning:


I was referring to the following info:

[I]In general, OEM software may not be transferred from one system to another system. However, the computer system can certainly be updated with new components without the requirement of a new software license. The only exception to this is the motherboard 1. If the motherboard is replaced 2, the computer system is deemed “new” and a new license would be required. Other PC components may be upgraded, including a hard drive.[/I]

I would be interested if anyone has installed a new mainboard and successfully kept the old OS (XP) running without getting a new license.

I forgot to mention in my original post that the XP version I have is OEM, not retail.



Just a couple of thoughts:

As for swapping the laptop drive into your tower, most laptop drives are 2.5 inches (some are 1.8) so you will need a cable adapter that goes from 2.5 to 3.5 inches, plus the problem of physically mounting it in the tower.

As for putting in a new main board I would suggest booting into Safe Mode if possible because you will have to install the new motherboard drivers. I believe even the OEM windows has a registration key which can usually be found somewhere on the PC case, if not then there are several small programs that can retrieve it.


@ bob423,

You need to have a Widows XP Operating System installation Disk to install a complete ‘Operating System’ on a computer. You cannot just arbitrarily ‘copy’ some files from one Hard Drive to another Hard Drive and expect it to be a complete ‘Operating System’.

Also Mr. Microsoft is kind of smart and has ‘Activation’ requirements that prevent OEM Windows XP Systems operating on two different computers which is what you are attempting to do and is blatantly illegal.

Also some OEM Windows XP installation Disk have ‘safeguards’ that have ‘hardware’ checks to ensure the OEM Windows XP isn’t being installed on a ‘different’ computer other than what the OEM Windows XP is ‘Licensed’ for.

If you are acting in the up and up Mr. Microsoft will work with you in legitimately replacing a Mother Board or Hard Drive.




Just to be clear. The laptop is dead. The intention was to physically transfer the hard drive with the OS out of the laptop and into the new tower along with a new mainboard. There would only be one use of the OS, only in the tower - the laptop would be missing its hard drive and be non-functional. There was no intention to copy any files - the physical hard drive would be moved to the tower.

So, I am not intending to operate the same OS on two different computers, only on one, the new tower.

However, I still suspect it will not work since the mainboard would be different and so violate the groundrules of OEM OS usage as quoted previously.


You are not allowed to reuse an OEM license for Windows XP on another system - the license is only valid for the system it was originally installed in.

You will need to get a new license or other operating system.


Either Acronis true image universal restore or Acronis true image boot agent. Can’t remember which. I think you do a backup with acronis, then restore via their tool. You the retore image to same drive if needed and all other componments it will let you choose. It will also select correct hal type and drivers etc. Thats as far as i remember, sorry have never tried it to know further.


Or one other option is to purchase Win XP Pro For PC System Builders. Take a look here.

Mr.Bill :slight_smile:


I wound up just buying an OEM copy of Vista from Newegg for my tower. Too much trouble with something that probably wouldn’t work.



Oh no not vista :smiley:

I wonder why i’m seeing more shop sold systems now pre-installed with XP SP3 than vista. On a brighter note i do remember xp having many driver teething problems, when it was first released. So nothing new there for an m$ os, vista is a whole new os. With different subsytem to other m$ os’s i read, maybe it’ll take 2 years or more to get right !!?


they’re finally writing decent Vista printer drivers now. I’m happy