This is an operational issue and would have been more appropriate to post in either the Other Software of the Windows XP section of the forum.
However, I'm almost certain it won't work. Programs must be installed on the system they are being used on. By having them on a separate drive, whether an internal drive or external drive, they are not "installed". You really need to have the programs you wish to use on both PC's, but that can also lead to legal issues, as a lot of software is only licensed for one PC, or in the case of software that is supplied with a new PC it's only licensed for use with the PC that it was delivered with.
Ghost won't give you what you want because as soon as you try to run a program, again it will either detect different hardware, or software and find out it wasn't "installed".
Your best option is to have both PC's configured with what software you need to run and then just load your user data (e.g. word processor files, excel files, etc) on a removeable media and take that to the new PC.
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Thank you for your help.
Actually, the same programs are already installed on both computers. It is just that in 6 months' time, there are often updates, etc. which have been downloaded on computer #1, but not on computer #2.
Would this make a difference to your answer?
It is so time-consuming to have to download and install all updates, etc. for many many programs, each time.
We are thinking of simply bringing down [in our car] to the U.S. our CPU from Canada, and attaching the printer, mouse and monitor from the other computer to it.This would save a mountain of work!
No, it still doesn't make any difference. If you update the programs on one computer and then copy the entire program to the new computer the registry entries will not be the same and you will still run into problems. In additon some programs maintain the program key, S/N or whatever you want to call it and that would also produce a mis match on some programs.
The best option is to just copy the updates, if they were downloaded as separate files and then do the updates to the other machine when you get there and then load the user data.
BTW, I live in Florida and have several Canadian "Snowbird" friends that winter here in Florida.
Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues here I do not work for Dell. I too am a user. The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating.