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Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

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Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby starman9 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:31 am

This may well be a silly question...

I have a Phil Rees laptop, built in 2004, as my main computer (don't laugh!). This has been unbelievably amazing in its performance, actually, but still I now want to replace it with a new PC, built by one of the specialist audio PC builders.

It would be fantastic if I could continue work on an existing project on the new computer without too much pain, hence I'm wondering if there might be some way I could have a partition on the new PC that essentially IS my present computer. Dare I hope that I could use an image file of my present computer to 'restore' a partition on the new computer?

My present PC runs xp but I will have windows 7 on whatever I buy, of course. Could I nevertheless have an xp partition on such a PC to accommodate the old PC image file? The Music partition of my present laptop is just 25GB btw. I would be using my existing audio interface for the next few months, which is an RME Multiface 2. I use Cubase 2.2 (again, don't laugh!) + hundreds of plugins.

I SO hope there is some way of achieving this, or mostly achieving it... Anyone know?
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Re: Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby johnny h » Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:23 am

starman999 wrote:This may well be a silly question...

I have a Phil Rees laptop, built in 2004, as my main computer (don't laugh!). This has been unbelievably amazing in its performance, actually, but still I now want to replace it with a new PC, built by one of the specialist audio PC builders.

It would be fantastic if I could continue work on an existing project on the new computer without too much pain, hence I'm wondering if there might be some way I could have a partition on the new PC that essentially IS my present computer. Dare I hope that I could use an image file of my present computer to 'restore' a partition on the new computer?

My present PC runs xp but I will have windows 7 on whatever I buy, of course. Could I nevertheless have an xp partition on such a PC to accommodate the old PC image file? The Music partition of my present laptop is just 25GB btw. I would be using my existing audio interface for the next few months, which is an RME Multiface 2. I use Cubase 2.2 (again, don't laugh!) + hundreds of plugins.

I SO hope there is some way of achieving this, or mostly achieving it... Anyone know?

What you want to do makes sense ... but unfortunately many, many things have changed since 2004. Firstly any computer you buy these days will be multicore. The new standard 2600k chip has 4 processor cores and 4 hyperthreading cores. The problem is, you will need to use multithreaded applications to take advantage of all this power, which I don't think is true of Cubase 2.2.

Also XP has a problem addressing over 3gb (2gb per application), which is easily something which you can come up agaisnt with any reasonably good system these days.

There is an option of using 'XP mode' to run a virtual machine on your new computer. I can't say for sure whether this will work for you or not, but I suspect it would be very difficult to get low latency performance from such a setup. Maybe someone else can speak from experience here..
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Re: Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby Scramble » Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:02 am

I tried something similar once with a new motherboard, and it didn't work. The problem seemed to be that the XP installation I was using wasn't compatible with the new chipset on the new motherboard (it can handle being transferred to a new hard disk at least, but the chipset it couldn't). And that was a fairly similar motherboard, whereas you will be using a radically different motherboard and chipset. But perhaps some expert here will have a workaround for that?

You could just use your old XP CD (assuming you still have it) to make a new XP partition on the new machine. (The fact that the new machine will have more than 4Gb isn't a problem -- XP will just ignore the extra memory.) But that will mean days (or even weeks) spent installing all your old programs and plugins, etc. (not to mention having to deal with dual boot issues), which doesn't seem worth it just to finish one project off. I would just use the old machine to finish your existing project off, while in the meantime building the new one ready for your future work.

If you think you might want to revisit an old project then render everything as audio so it can be opened in your new W7 version of Cubase (because you will have to get a new Cubase, 2.2 won't work with W7).

Note that the XP mode on W7 is apparently pretty limited, you won't be able to do much with that.
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Re: Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:03 pm

Scramble wrote:I tried something similar once with a new motherboard, and it didn't work. The problem seemed to be that the XP installation I was using wasn't compatible with the new chipset on the new motherboard (it can handle being transferred to a new hard disk at least, but the chipset it couldn't). And that was a fairly similar motherboard, whereas you will be using a radically different motherboard and chipset. But perhaps some expert here will have a workaround for that?

I've done this in the past, but it can be rather involved, since as you say many of the motherboard devices on the previous computer will now be absent, while plenty of new ones will have appeared on the new PC.

However, if you've got as you say 'hundreds' of plug-ins on the old computer along with Cubase 2.2 that may not be happy under the new hardware then it's worth trying to remove references to the old hardware using a clean mode Registry clearout while the partition is still on the older PC, and then rebooting it on the new one.

I described how to do this in PC Notes June 2004 after changing over a motherboard in my own PC at the time, and it worked well enough for me to continue using this partition for several years longer

www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun04/articles/pcnotes.htm

Basically you need to delete ANY driver relating to motherboard components or additional expansion cards and the like that won't be on the new machine. Then save the partition and restore it to your new PC and boot from that.

During this boot loads of new motherboard devices will be discovered, and this is where things could get tricky, since although you could insert your Windows XP CD to find the drivers, a modern PC is likely to have quite a few that don't have drivers on that CD, although they will on a Windows 7 Disk but won't be compatible with Windows XP.

Personally I'd get all your project data saved separately, and back up the contents of your old vstplugins folder to restore onto the new machine if possible.

Scramble's idea of rendering the existing projects so that their plug-in contributions are captured as well would certainly make things much easier though, since you can then import the rendered audio data into a newer sequencer and not need the old plug-ins


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Re: Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:29 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Scramble's idea of rendering the existing projects so that their plug-in contributions are captured as well would certainly make things much easier though, since you can then import the rendered audio data into a newer sequencer and not need the old plug-ins :headbang

+1. Though rendering tracks in multitrack projects in older versions of Cubase is a PITA. There's an article here that takes you through a few ways of making the process less painful if you plan on doing this for lots of projects.
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Re: Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby starman9 » Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:58 pm

Just want to say many thanks for the detailed replies. Will comment again when I've had a chance to digest it all!
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Re: Image file of old PC onto partition of new PC?

Postby johnny h » Wed Oct 26, 2011 1:29 pm

Mixedup wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:Scramble's idea of rendering the existing projects so that their plug-in contributions are captured as well would certainly make things much easier though, since you can then import the rendered audio data into a newer sequencer and not need the old plug-ins :headbang

+1. Though rendering tracks in multitrack projects in older versions of Cubase is a PITA. There's an article <a href="/sos/dec06/articles/cubasetech_1206.htm" target="_blank">here</a> that takes you through a few ways of making the process less painful if you plan on doing this for lots of projects.

Or you could ... like... try finishing some tunes for once
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