questionshow much of a hassle is it to install a old hard…

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Assuming there's a spot in the new computer's case, you can probably put the old drive in the new computer as a secondary drive, but probably not as the primary. The old system drive will show up as the D: drive (or E: or whatever's next) and you should be able to get your documents without having to worry about the drivers and stuff that the new computer needs being missing.

If there's no spot available your best bet would be to grab an external drive enclosure and put the old drive in that.

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Yeah def go with it as secondary drive. Might be able to get it to boot as primary in safe mode but i'd be willing to bet that it will BSOD (bluescreen) loading windows due to the fact that it is trying to load the drivers for the old PC's hardware.

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Why not install a new video card and see if that works?

Also, I have installed an old hard drive in a new computer as primary drive. I was told it was impossible to do. It was a long time ago and from what I remember it took long time to get everything working just right.

As for the video card, you can probably find an inexpensive one from your local computer (mom & pop) repair shop. The one in my town always has a pile of old parts laying around that they sell for 5 or 10 dollars. Give it a shot.

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@durkzilla: @goathead: I think that is going to be the plan if I can get it done tommorow. We picked up a discount system today and I am busy installing antivirus and limited accounts. If I run out of time I may take the drive home and use my stuff to get the documents off it and then use it as a backup.

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@bill7718: I wish it was that easy! I am an hour from town using dialup when it works. I am visiting family across the country from home. At home I have the parts and cables I could use. I leave late tomorrow so time is limited. I want to leave them with something that works as they are not able to do the stuff themselves. They just used the blue tint screen for at least 6 weeks waiting for me to come look at it! It did not totally go out until just before I arrived.

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This would be a good time to buy a kit to convert a PATA or SATA internal drive to become a USB external temporary drive. Kit comes with adapters for both older types of drives and has been a cheap lifesaver($15 from Meritline, but lotsa places carry it) for several PCs I've used it on. Even used it to image hard drives on occasion. Getting docs & pics off a drive without open a new PC was what it was bought for and it's great.

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@havocsback: I will add that the PATA -> USB adapters are becoming far less common now hat SATA is the dominant standard. If the OP's drive is PATA they should get an adapter ASAP.

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@lparsons42: @havocsback: going to place an order now, thanks. I have an external drive but I don't think it has the adapters. I have a couple other projects at home waiting to be done that it might come in handy.

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@lparsons42: @havocsback: Meritline is sold out. Amazon has a few. Do I need a power supply, too?

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Even if there is no spot to put the drive in the computer you can hook it up to a spare port, which there should be and just transfer your data from the old drive to the new one. Once that is done you can then shut down, remove the old drive from the rig, close the machine and enjoy your files.

You can not boot from the old drive as you have a new setup with MB and everything so it would just error out on you. @pattiq

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@pattiq: It should come as a complete kit with power supply.

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@havocsback: I saw one on Amazon that specifically mentioned no power supply. That made me think I better do some more reading. I ended up pulling the drive and I am taking it home with me.

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@pattiq: Just so we're on the same page:
http://www.meritline.com/usb-2-0-sata-ide-cable---p-34964.aspx
$15.99, free shipping, in stock.
Hope you get what you need off there!

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@havocsback: OK, I am finally back home. The link looks like what I saw out of stock the other day. Not sure though. Thanks for the link. Looks like I have some work to do soon.

I know enough to be dangerous but I have not kept up with current stuff. Mom and I thank you for the help!

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@pattiq: I have seen some external HDD enclosures that work solely on USB power. Then again, it has been a while since I've been in the market for one, so YMMV.