How do I get operating system onto new hard drive? - Disk Drives (HDD, CD/DVD, Blu-ray) Forum - Disk Drives - Dell Community

How do I get operating system onto new hard drive?

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How do I get operating system onto new hard drive?

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The hard drive on my Inspiron 9200 laptop is no longer good so needs to be replaced. My problem is, how do I transfer the operating system (Windows XP) onto the new hard drive?

All the solutions I have been able to find so far direct me to using a Dell recovery CD. Unfortunately I cannot get these as I live outside of the USA or Europe. So how can I get the operating system off of the damaged hard drive and onto a new one without the Dell recovery CD?

As far as I know I should be able to access the Dell Restore Partition and make an image of the partition. Can I save this onto a CD or flash disk to then transfer it to the new hard drive and then "run" the image from there, thus installing the operating system?

I also have access to an original Windows XP CD (which is installed on my desktop). Is there some way I could use this but with the laptop's original product key?

Any help is appreciated!

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  • The usual means of installing the operating system on a new hard drive is by using the Dell Windows XP reinstallation CD.  If you do not have one, the only chance of getting one is by contacting Dell Tech Support for your region.  It may not be free, but if you never received the CD due to Dell's media reduction initiative (and tell this to the representative) they may send you one.

    With regard to the restore image that may be on the drive, I believe it is basically a Norton Ghost image that works with version 8.3 of that program.  You will need to perform additional research, however, and the best place to do that is Dan Goodell's page located here:

    Whether or not you can use your installation CD that came with your desktop depends on what the CD is and what version of Windows is on it.  If your desktop CD is a Dell reinstallation CD, and it is the same version that was delivered with your Inspiron 9200, you should be able to use it to reinstall the operating system legally.  You cannot legally install if your CD is Windows XP Home and the sticker on the 9200 is Windows XP Professional.  The sticker and CD must either both be for XP Home or XP Professional.  A Dell Windows XP reinstallation CD should be pre-activated and should not ask for a product code.

    If your Windows CD is a Microsoft CD that was commercially purchased, the only way to install it is to use the product key that was supplied with the packaging for the CD.  These can be used on only one computer so you would need to uninstall Win XP from the desktop in order to use the product code on the laptop.  Most likely you would need to activate the installation by phone since Microsoft will show the code as already used.

    Dell Forum member since 2005


    my Dells:
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit / Linux Mint
    Precision M6300 - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Latitude D620 - XP Pro SP3

  • Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Thanks for the suggestions.


    The Windows XP CD I have is not a Dell one but an original. So it won’t work. I suspected as much though I’d hoped there was a way around it (making it “act” like a Dell CD somehow).


    I am trying to get a Dell CD though so far I have been unsuccessful. Long and frustrating story. Little Dell support here. I continue, however, to try that route as it would be the easiest solution for me in some ways. But I don’t have much hope of success so am looking for other alternatives.


    The CNET site ieee488 pointed me to suggests that it should be possible to save an image (from the Dell Restore partition) onto the new hard drive and then run that. I just can’t find anywhere that tells me how to do that. I’ve scanned the site but so far have been unable to find the answer. Am still looking.


    Rather than taking the approach and copying my current drive to a new one, I want to do a fresh install. There just seems to be too much going on with my system after so many years of use. Things are grinding to a halt.


    Here’s what I’m thinking should work.

    1.  Make an image of the Dell Restore partition (I’m using Macrium Reflect)

    2.  Plug in my new hard drive.

    3.  Somehow create a small partition for the Dell Restore image and a larger one for the OS (not sure how to do this unless I can somehow plug the hard drive in as the slave. Hardware to do this would be almost impossible to obtain. I’m therefore hoping I can plug the new drive into the caddy and use DVDs or flash disks to transfer information over to the new drive.)

    4.  Save the image onto the new hard drive (using a Linux rescue CD created with Macrium)

    5.  Run the image to save the Windows XP onto the new hard drive.


    That’s what I think should work – somehow. Any thoughts?


  • No, that link tells you how to basically clone your entire hard drive to a brand new one. It is harder for a laptop since it only has connection for one hard drive unlike a desktop where you can put in the new hard drive on an empty connector and clone it. The hardward kit mentioned in that link provides the mechanism to let you clone a laptop hard drive.

    my Dells:
    Optiplex 3020 - Windows 7 Pro 64-bit / Linux Mint
    Precision M6300 - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Latitude D620 - XP Pro SP3

  • Unless you have a version of Norton Ghost that can use the image on your drive, I think success is unlikely.  There is an abbreviated version of Ghost in the partition containing the image that is normally used for the restore process, and the program that calls it up performs a check of the hard drive and its partitions before it executes.  If the partition layout is different from that of the original drive the program aborts the restore process.

    If you have software and appropriate hardware to perform the clone suggested by ieee488 you can use Dell's PC Restore process to put the new drive into factory delivered condition.  Without having the Dell installation CD, I believe that is the best you can accomplish at this point.

    Dell Forum member since 2005

  • Thanks for the suggestions. It really wasn't what I wanted to hear, hoping rather for a "simple" solution.

    I still think that there should be a way to use the image...somehow, though your comments suggest it is unlikely.

    I'll keep trying, will report on the solution I find.

    Thanks again.