Can I Clone My Hard Drive to a New PC?

Orlando Rodriguez wants to move programs and files from an old XP PC to a new Windows 7 one via an image backup.

Unfortunately, what you describe isn't practical. And that's as true with cloning the drive as with imaging it.

When you install Windows onto a PC (or, for that matter, when it's installed at the factory), the operating system configures itself to that particular hardware. Put an exact copy onto a different computer and you're going to have nothing but trouble.

And even if you managed to get all the right drivers installed and everything working, you'd still have XP. You paid for Windows 7; you might as well get it.

You've probably heard that it's a good idea, every year or two, to brush away the cobwebs, reinstall Windows, and get a fresh start. There's no better time to do this than when you get a new PC. After all, you can still access and use your old one while you're setting up the new one.

There's no way around it: Setting up a new PC involves reinstalling all of your programs--or at least those you want to keep. See Migrate to a New PC for more detailed advice about the move.

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