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  1. #1
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    Transferring a hard-drive to new pc...help!

    Hi.

    I am building my new PC and would like to know if I can use my current SATA hard drive in my new PC / mobo.

    I have XP on the HD with all my flight sim stuff and programs. If I just connect this HD to my new mobo I am sure that this will do no good to HD itself and end up corrupt.

    Is there an easier way of doing this without having to backup and delete everything just so I can reinstall XP.

    What do you think?

    Cheers,

    Alex
    Building An Airbus In My Garage!

  2. #2
    500+ This must be a daytime job Ronson2k9's Avatar
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    Re: Transferring a hard-drive to new pc...help!

    From XP forward the OS is encoded with the hardware you have on your system during your install. The best way to do what you are intending is to install new system and a new drive use the current one as a secondary drive and then install your software in your new drive. After your OS and flight sim software is install (all that has an install file) then transfer the data from the secondary to your primary (aircraft/scenery etc). You won't be able to use the OS in current drive any longer.

    The encoding process was to prevent someone from banging out HD's with Windows XP on them over and over again. As it's encoded to the hardware configuration of the drive the only time the OS could be used is on that hardware (mobo/memory/gpu etc). Your data won't be lost but as your current drive is not attached to the same make/model of your new mobo your OS will not boot.

    Also if you have new mobo and so on. Windows XP may not even have drivers compatible with your new equipment. Or more precisely your new equipment may not have WinXP drivers for it? You're a few OS's back down the pipe on that one. If it were me and I've been in that situation a few times now. I would start with a fresh system. New mobo/memory/VC/HD/OS and then add data from your old drive back. Afterwards turn your older SATA into a USB External. Remember though that drives don't last forever unlike other equipment in your computer. Eventually it will fail so think of it as a drive that has reached middle age and be gentle.

    As X-Plane will also work on Linux you may want to consider a Windows (7) / Linux dual boot system. Linux is quite fast as it doesn't have all the bloat of Windows. I would do this on a fresh drive first. However afterward you could go back to your older SATA and format that to Linux and put X-Plane there, with the one caveat above taken into account. Older drive (beware).

    So - Old OS may or may not be compatible with new hardware? Drives have a lifespan and new hardware works best with new software.

    Hope that helps a bit. Try to think of it as an annual inspection of your aircraft. Not a great deal of fun but you get your older plane remade anew again...

    Cheers
    Ron
    Up Up and away in my beautiful my beautiful - Amphibian

  3. #3
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    Re: Transferring a hard-drive to new pc...help!

    The short answer, Alex, is no. You can only do the 'moving hard drives between computers' bit if the basic underlying hardware is the same - at the least it needs to be the same generation CPU and chipset. If not, you won't even get it to boot in order to update all the drivers etc; this is because Windows first loads something called the HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and this is specific to processor architecture. If your original copy of Windows XP came with your current machine it may well be on an OEM license, in which case it's bound to that particular machine forever - you can't transfer the license. If it's a Retail copy, you would be able to transfer the license and get it re-activated, but you'd have to phone Microsoft up and convince them you weren't a scurvy pirate

    Also, IIRC, your new PC has 8GB RAM, right? In which case you're going to have to run a 64-bit OS, or else 4GB of that will just sit unused permanently. There is a WinXP 64-bit but it's for enterprise use primarily and it doesn't have decent driver support. So you'll really need to upgrade to Window 7.

    Ronson's advice above is good - install a fresh OS build onto a new hard drive and then attach the old HDD to the computer and you can copy data across. It is technically possible, for example, to copy FSX from one computer to another without having to re-install it. I won't discuss how because I think it breaches the license agreement, but it can be done. In theory, if you know exactly where the files should go and what registry settings have to be created / changed, you can copy all sorts of software from one OS install to another. In reality, you usually have to bite the bullet and re-install it.

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  5. #4
    500+ This must be a daytime job Ronson2k9's Avatar
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    Re: Transferring a hard-drive to new pc...help!

    What I did was install FSX on my new drive and then after all the registry handles have been put in place just copy the FSX you have on your old drive writing over everything in your new drive FSX folder to save time you can have it ignore anything that is the same. So long as you have the physical copy of FSX and don't sell it afterward you aren't in violation of copyright. In essence the HDD you started out with is still in a machine that you own and the HDD is the one you put FSX on then it's 'one machine' not TWO. That is the copy of FSX you have is still not duplicated in a second machine.

    You can't even get 4 gig to work in XP only 2gig. 4gig memory will work in Windows 7/Vista and for 8 gig all the way up to 126 gig. I'd like to see that MOBO you will need Win7/Vista 64Bit OS. Oh and if you're thinking you can start out with 32bit OS and update/upgrade later to the 64bit it's an entirely new OS so it's re-format to go from 32-64 bit. Just so you know.

    That said. X-Plane does come bundled with Win and Linux versions. So you could if you wanted to put X-Plane on a free to download Linux 64bit OS and be quite happy.. Or you could Dual boot your computer with Win7 32bit and 64bit or you could put Win7 64bit and Linux 64bit. I've even heard of triple booting systems. This would not be for the amateur computer enthusiast though.

    I've had a dual boot system on my computer. As I wanted to see if all the software I use, some of dated graphics software would work on a 64bit OS before committing my whole drive to it. As the 64bit OS wasn't a problem for any of the software I re-formatted the drive so my OS is Win7x64 but for a while I had a duel boot system.

    So what you may want to do is give Linux a shot as you have a free drive anyway and if it doesn't work or is to hard to set up you could always re-format and go windows 7 after. See what Xplane is like in Linux and then if you wanted you could make your machine a dual booter. As it's a whole new system and probably OS (windows 7) you may want to start out there first.

    Also another tip for you. If you are putting FSX on your 'new' drive. After you have your OS and security software on. Defrag the drive. Then install FSX and defrag again. This places FSX at the outer edge of your HD platter and will improve seek and transfer speeds for your FSX. Not a huge speed boost but enough to make it worth your while. Also pick a custom folder location. Don't let FSX go into the default 'Program Files X86' as it will want to do. Pick a folder on the HD 'FSX' for instance. There are a bunch of security protocols that Win7 throws on that program folder that you will have disable should you put FSX in there. Not a problem for FSX but for the addons you may have that are trying to access FSX (eg FSUIPC). So save the pain by giving it a custom location from the get go. One more tip.. You may find FSX will want to put Direct X 9 on your system. This is not what your Windows 7 will have it though. It will have DX10+ This may or may not cause a problem. However if it does you can remove direct X from your system and install DX9 there is a DL for it from the windows site. This includes all builds back to DX9. That worked for me. Your FSX may find some DX9 dll's missing when it tries to run if it does just get the DX9 Install package and remove then re-install. That will give you a clean Direct X setup and smooth simming from that moment forward.

    With the scenery addons. I find with ORBX and the like you will need loads of memory. Even running in 64bit. I only have 4gig in mine and I still get odd OOM error's when running the ORBX stuff. So if you have big scenery memory is king. More the better. 8gig should do quite well.

    So.. Let us know how your new build goes. Hopefully it will be hiccup free..

    Cheers
    Ron
    Up Up and away in my beautiful my beautiful - Amphibian

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    Re: Transferring a hard-drive to new pc...help!

    Lots of great info there, Ron. If I might briefly weigh in on the XP RAM issue again, it's more complex than most people realise.

    There's a difference between physical RAM and virtual RAM, for a start. The largest amount of physical RAM than a 32-bit processor can address directly is 4GB (because the highest memory address it can deal with is 32 bits wide). The operating system allocates that physical memory in small pages of 4KB to running processes that ask for it, and each process has a 'virtual address space' into which these pages are slotted. From the process point of view, it is the only thing running and it has the entire memory space available to it. Windows XP limits the virtual address space to 2GB, so no single process can consume more than 2GB. Hence the 2GB limit you mention. But the OS itself can see 4GB and will use all of it (well, not quite, but I'll get to that in a minute) across multiple processes. So FSX on WinXP 32-bit, say, can only ever use 2GB of RAM max.

    Now, if you know about server versions of Windows, you'll know that 32-bit server OSes can address more than 4GB. Indeed, the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition could address up to 64GB. This is possible because the x86 architecture lets you switch between banks of RAM. So at any given moment, the OS sees, and can address, only 4GB of RAM; but at each time-slice the 4GB in use can be changed. Processes are thus spread about the various banks of RAM available.

    Microsoft deliberately chose not to make this possible in desktop versions of 32-bit Windows. However, in SP2 of Windows XP they did introduce support the Physical Address Extension, a feature on x86 chips that increases the effective address width to 37 bits. At this point I need to note that while 32-bit XP can 'see' 4GB of RAM, it can't use all of it. 500MB of address space below 4GB is reserved for the use of drivers - which must reside in the first 4GB always - and so the most Windows will use is 3.5GB (with a limit of 2GB per process as outline above). How Windows reports that fact changed over time - so pre SP2, Windows would tell you that it could see 3.5GB of RAM (leading to lots of 'where's my RAM gone' posts on MSDN), whereas post-SP2 it would say 4GB if you had 4GB installed.

    PAE in WinXP SP2 allows Windows to page in that extra 500MB of 'missing' RAM (it's not missing, it's used by drivers, but often large blocks of it are free and under PAE can be used). It also allows Windows to extend the size of the virtual address space per-process to 3GB - although you have to boot Windows with a special flag to enable this.

    Windows Vista x86 (and thus Win7 x86) extend the virtual address space to 4GB per process and always support PAE, so can take advantage of a full 4GB.

    So far, so confused.

    64-bit versions of the OS, however, have none of these restrictions. The CPU can physically address up to 8TB (yes, terabytes) in a single bank, so no limits there. There are no limits on the size of the virtual address space, either, which can be as large as the width of the address bus - ie 64 bits. So you get an obvious advantage from running a 64-bit OS because you can have anywhere up to 16GB installed on a modern motherboard with four slots, and Windows can use it all. That said, FSX will never use more than 4GB because it's a 32-bit process and these obey the 32-bit rules; but with enough physical RAM in the box, you can make sure that FSX never has to share its RAM with another process and this will speed things up considerably. So I recommend 8GB for new FSX boxes.

    All of that said, if you're going x64 you need to go Windows 7. As I mentioned, there is an x64 version of Windows XP Professional available, but you can't buy it and it's widely incompatible with software and has few drivers. There were always 64-bit versions of Windows XP for Intel Itanium (ia64) available, but those are useless today.

    So, in summary (!) - go for 8GB RAM and Windows 7 and don't look back