Ask the Experts: I want to build a new i7 X58-based system...
Question: I have an Intel 875P motherboard with 2 SATA drives in RAID 1 from the Intel BIOS. I want to build a new i7 X58-based system, but I don’t want to re-install and reconfigure the operating systems from scratch. What would be the best way to move my Linux and Windows (Dual-Boot) install? —Paul Grunwald, Senior Systems Architect, GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms
Nick Danger responds: Paul— Given the change in architecture of the two systems, you really are better off reloading the two OSes and not just booting the old installations and hoping it adjusts to the new hardware.
That said, if you are sure you want to move over the installed OSes as they are, you can use an image tool such as PartImage or Clonezilla. Moving a RAIDed set of drives from one RAID controller to different controller is almost certain to fail. Although I have swapped drives from one controller to one of the same manufacture and model, changing hardware RAID chips can lead to corruption of the drive set. Your best option is to image the system to another storage device, set up your new system and then write the image onto the new hardware. You most likely will have to fiddle with the bootloader, but your partitions and data will be unaltered.
David Thomas of dthomasdigital responds: I'm guessing this is not what you want to hear, but I'm going to go ahead and figure you will be building from scratch. It has been my experience that switching motherboards means a fresh install. It's really your dual-boot with Windows that will cause most of your issues—it's that darn Windows registry. Linux, on the other hand, is much easier to deal with, but you still have to jump through hoops. If speed of install is your concern, it just might be faster to do a re-install. 875p and i7X58 are two very different chipsets, so to get the most out of your operating systems, you'll want the installs to be fresh.
Shawn Powers, Linux Journal Associate Editor responds: I realize this goes against the very nature of the question— but I'm still a proponent of the "reinstall" approach. And no, it's not just because I like to install Linux. Even if you can get everything moved over, it's likely you'll lose some optimization that a fresh install will get you. Heck, even the Bible says, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." I'm not claiming reinstalling is the holy method, but it's the one I would pick for sure.
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Carlie Fairchild is the publisher of Linux Journal.
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