How to Transfer Windows XP to a New Computer System

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When building a computer from parts you will have to also install an operating system. Transferring Windows XP from one computer to another is authorised by Microsoft as long you retire or install another operating system on the original. You can transfer Windows XP to your new computer by reinstalling the system on a new hard drive or by transferring your old hard drive to your new computer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Windows XP CD and Key

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    Re-installing the system

  1. 1

    Uninstall Windows XP from your old computer after having saved all the data you want to transfer. You can save this data using an external hard drive or DVDs. If the amount of data you want to transfer is too large, you can wait for your new Windows XP computer to be installed and connect both computers on a network to transfer the data from the old hard drive to the new one. You will need to wait for the old Windows XP to be uninstalled to activate the new Windows XP.

  2. 2

    Insert the Windows XP disk in your player and launch the installation. Install Windows XP and enter the CD key when prompted. Windows XP will try to go online to check for the CD key. A new window will appear telling you the serial number is already in use and to call Microsoft.

  3. 3

    Call Microsoft with the phone number provided to you and explain that you are changing computers and transferring Windows XP. They will ask you to give them the number that Windows generated. Give them the number and enter the one that Microsoft will generate. Your Windows XP is now activated and you can install all the software you need on it.

    Transfering the system

  1. 1

    In order to reuse the same version of Windows XP, you will need to transfer your hard drive from your old computer to your new one. Open the old computer, unscrew the hard drive, and unplug both the power cord and the SATA cords, making sure to note the name of the SATA port (SATA0 or SATA1) to which it was connected.

  2. 2

    Install your hard drive in the new computer. Reconnect it to the power and to the same SATA port.

  3. 3

    Boot the computer with the Windows XP disc in the reader. When the "press any key to boot from CD" prompt appears, press a key. You will get the welcome message prompting you to press ENTER, R or F3. Press ENTER.

  4. 4

    After accepting the license agreement, you will see a list of the Windows XP systems on the disc. If you have more than one, choose the one you want to use and press "R."

  5. 5

    Wait for the installation to complete. After a couple of planned reboots, Windows XP will boot into the system and tell you your license is not valid and to go online to solve the problem. Follow Step 3 under "Re-installing the system" above to reactivate your Windows XP. You will now have your previous system with all your software and data on your new computer.

Tips and warnings

  • Because of possible hardware incompatibility, the second method is not always successful.

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