Can I transfer the system drive from one PC to another and will the operating system still work?

jeff hemeke November 3, 2010

If I put my HDD into another PC, will Linux still work? Or will I have to reinstall it on the new PC? Thank you!

  1. timmyjohnboy
    November 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Yeah, make sure you have a backup. What about cloning it just for testing purposes just to make sure things work out? That way you'll still have an original copy around.

  2. Ryan
    November 4, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Generally this could cause instability with the operating system because of the drivers being different like already mentioned. I know with Windows computers it is not recommended, but is possible. I'm not a Linux guru, but if I were to switch out a windows hard drive into a new computer, I would at least do a repair install of windows to possibly get some of the kinks out of having different hardware. Even if it boots and you can change the drivers some of the system files still could have been altered do to the old hardware installed. Just back up your data, or be ready to try and recover it if something goes wrong. Like with most things, plan for the worst, but hope for the best! :)

    Also, just as a side note for anyone else reading. If its a windows computer, and you switch it out, you may have to re-activate your windows install. A lot of the OEM versions of windows are connected to the motherboard, so if that changes, it cancels the activation. A lot of times its as easy as connecting to the Internet to re-activate, but if you have to call, usually explaining to them that the old motherboard died and this is the only computer this product key is being used on is good enough for them to give you the activation code.

    Good luck!

  3. Rokmonstr9
    November 4, 2010 at 11:00 am

    thank you. i think your right, as long as it boots up i can update the drivers. thank you very much. will keep community posted.

  4. Tina
    November 4, 2010 at 4:56 am


    could you please specify the Linux flavor you're running.

    To be honest, I'm not sure how flexible Linux is in this regard, but I know Windows can do it, so I would guess that it's no problem with Linux. Let me explain the difficulty.

    It depends on what the hardware differences are between the two PCs. Your operating system will be the same, but if the hardware is different, the drivers will be different. Drivers are flexible elements needed so the operating system can communicate with the hardware.

    I know that Windows does a pretty decent job in recognizing hardware changes, even if you switch motherboards or put the drive into a completely new computer. As long as the operating system can still boot, you should be able to at least manually update or change the drivers to work with the new hardware. I have switched the motherboard and all attached hardware (graphics card, on-board audio, RAM, network card) on a Windows XP machine and it worked very well.

    I would give it a try and see what happens. Be sure you have all the necessary Linux drivers for the new hardware.

    Hopefully, someone else has a more educated answer than my speculations.