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VO2Max
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New computer with Windows 8 - yuk!

Hi all you IT-techy-buffs!

A little scenario for you...

My old Windows 7 computer - home made and sold to me by the son of an old work colleague - gave up the ghost (buggered motherboard we think).

So I bought a nice new Dell, which came with Windows 8. A chap in my cycling club took the HDD out of the broken computer and put it in a spare slot in my new Dell, then moved across all my files.

But I hate Windows 8! I've tried, but I just don't like it.

What are the chances of getting my new Dell to boot up from the old HDD which has Windows 7 on it, and still contains all my old files and Outlook? The old HDD is still in the Dell, just sitting there.
 
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You can try it and see - I had an SBS 2003 server try to restart after some updates but it never did (suspect motherboard too).

I took the HDDs out of the old HP server and put them in a slightly newer Dell server and it came up and worked pretty much straight away.
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It should work fine if you take the new hard drive out and tell the BIOS to boot from the one remaining drive (will most likely default to this anyway). Windows will bleat about a hardware mismatch error or something as the motherboard & some other components have digital signatures which are registered to the old machine against the serial number, but there's an option to activate - which in my experience almost always leads to an automated phonecall to Microsoft to get a set of codes - which should sort that out.
If you want to then put the new hard drive back in to use it for storage and run the OS off the original you'll need to fiddle with it to prevent it from being bootable.

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Thanks Bobda. I may well give that a try. How do I get access to the BIOS screen? And how do I give commands?
 
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It's a keypress as soon as you turn the PC on & before Windows boots up - which key to press varies by manufacturer! Often one of the F keys but sometimes ESC as well. I'm sure if you google the manufacturer there will be reference to it. It'll open a BIOS settings screen - all you're looking for is something caleld boot order (or similar), you might even be able to leave the two hard drives in as they currently are and just change the boot order.
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It's a keypress as soon as you turn the PC on & before Windows boots up - which key to press varies by manufacturer! Often one of the F keys but sometimes ESC as well. I'm sure if you google the manufacturer there will be reference to it. It'll open a BIOS settings screen - all you're looking for is something caleld boot order (or similar), you might even be able to leave the two hard drives in as they currently are and just change the boot order.
It's a Dell. I'll have a Google!

So, essentially what I want to do is change the boot order so that the computer boots (or tries to!) off the old drive first, yes?
 
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It you could backup both drives and copy the old win7 installation to the new HDD, I used a program called Acronis, which is generally free to try.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VO2Max View Post
So, essentially what I want to do is change the boot order so that the computer boots (or tries to!) off the old drive first, yes?
Yep.
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It won't get into a punch-up with the Windows8 drive, will it?
 
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If you want a no risk strategy open the case and disconnect the sata cable from w8 drive and plug it in to W7 drive - leave the other cable (that was plugged to w7) unplugged. Now your PC will only see the w7drive which is plugged in to sata0 and should boot without any bios change. If it works then you can plug in the w8 drive on sata1
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That sounds awfully logical and straightforward - surely something will go wrong!

Do you mind me asking if you're an IT guy?
 
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That's good enough for me...sir!

Seriously, if it doesn't work, could I just put everything back as it was, and the computer would be OK?
 
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Yes. It should boot from W7 disk but worst case is windows may complain that the hardware has changed too much and require you to contact Microsoft. Best case is it works and windows finds all the relevant drivers.
If your cables aren't long enough to swap at the disk end do it at the motherboard end but leave the W8 drive unplugged in the first instance as W7 may not work. If W8 is unplugged you can't do any damage at all.
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Top darts BGZ, will give it a go tomorrow .

And everyone else, thanks for your help.
 
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The Dell would also have had a traditional system bios but a lot of new PCs now use something called uefi bios instead. When you boot into the bios, you may need to change the uefi bios to boot into traditional bios mode.

If you attempt to use uefi bios onto a Windows hard drive which doesn't have the uefi boot files, it won't boot.

You can tell if its uefi bios because when you boot into bios and the mouse works and parts of it are graphical, it will be uefi.

If you make any changes, make sure you write down the original settings.
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I just thought of something else - I've plundered the old computer for parts because it had a motherboard failure. One of the things I salvaged from it is a pair of Corsair 2G 800MHz RAMs.

My new Dell has 4G of RAM - if there are a couple of spare slots in it would it be worth sticking in the Corsairs to increase it to 8G RAM? Are they just 'plug and play'?

Of course, I wouldn't do this at the same time as the Drive thing, I guess that would likely confuse matters. But after that's sorted out?
 
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Try this scanner to see what type of RAM you have now:
Use the Crucial System Scanner software to find out what type of memory is in your computer

If you post the results of what you have currently and the spec of the spare sticks then we can see if it is compatible. There are so many variations on RAM.
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I'd advise against putting 1x4Gb stick and 2x2Gb sticks in. Always stick to the same sizes. You'll probably find that the laptop only has two slots anyway - and unless it's a 64 bit version of Windows, you'll only see 4Gb.
That's another thing to think about actually - is the new machine 64 bit and the old OS 32 bit? It will still run but you'll be losing out on performance, like the RAM thing.
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I'm writing this on my laptop - that tells you all you need to know!

I wonder whether one of you kind chaps could jump in here:

I have disconnected the Dell W8 HDD and put the old W7 HDD on its SATA lead.

I started up the computer but it wouldn't boot. I get this message:

No boot device available
SATA 0: Installed
SATA 1: None
SATA 2: Installed
SATA 3: None
Strike the F1 key to retry boot, F2 to run the set up facility

I tried to reboot but no joy.

I have looked in the BIOS but changed nothing. But what I do now know is that my boot mode is UEFI.

The current state of play is that I have the above message on the screen.

HELP!
 
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As per my previous post, you need to find the bios option which will change the bios mode from Uefi to the old style and also possibly disable "secure boot". Uefi requires some boot files which you won't have available on older Win 7 PCs and when using Uefi you can only select a boot drive which Uefi recognises should work.

I had similar issues when my dad got a new laptop and I put his old solid state drive into his new PC and copied the data back onto it. I had to rebuild the Uefi boot files to get it to work but removing Uefi is more straightforward.

You do realise that if you had a Dell then the licence for Windows 7 according to Microsoft is probably going to be non-transferable?
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Hi Stuart, thanks for jumping in. I read your post but I was a little confused because I think you referred to my original computer as being the Dell - infact the original computer is the home-made one and it is the HDD from that which I am trying to boot my new Dell up with. No matter!

I see what you are saying about different boot files now. I have now put the Dell back as it was and am writing this on it by the way - so at least I know I can do that and get back to where I started (with W8) - phew!

So anyway, it should be possible to change the type of BIOS within BIOS , from UEFI to old-style? I saw the 'Disable Secure Boot' message within BIOS when I was ferreting around by the way, that shouldn't be a problem.

Finally, as I say, the original computer from which the W7 drive comes, was the home made one (which now resides at the council tip). The W7 on it was bought legit online - I still have the install disc and the Product Key if that helps.
 
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On my dad's new Samsung and my new Asus motherboards you can switch uefi bios mode off. Unfortunately I don't have access to them at the moment to describe the actual settings as I'm in the back of a car travelling down to QPR for the football.

Switching uefi off should also get rid of secure mode.
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OK Stu, thank you.

Next time you get a chance, would you mind looking please?

As I say, everything is back to normal at the moment, and working fine - there's no rush here, just seeing if there's a way to get from W8 to W7 by swapping drives. It's pretty well just that I don't really like W8. Although there's also a few bits and pieces that couldn't be transferred across when I got my new computer, it'd be quite nice to get access to those too.

Good luck at the footy!
 
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Sorry for the confusion over the licenses. If you have a pre-built PC from a major manufacturer, then Windows licenses aren't usually transferable. If you buy a licence yourself and then stop using the PC then you usually can move it.

It may ask you to phone Microsoft to activate it, but it isn't usually a problem if the licence is only being used one PC at a time.
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