I made the ultimate mistake as a Windows user a few months ago… I moved a hard disk with XP already installed into a new machine, with a different motherboard and CPU. What a mistake. I can’t believe the trouble it caused with XP – it became so erratic and unusable that it was just that… unusable. Sure, it would boot up… in about 5 minutes, but even after it had booted it would take forever loading the anti-virus, firewall, etc etc.
Linux on the otherhand on the same drive (dual boot using Partition Magic/Boot Magic), couldn’t care less about begin moved to another machine, and booted just as it always has done… no problems what so ever. I think Microsoft need to rething their Product Activation, and restricting hardware changes etc, because it just adds pain to the user.
Anyway, after running many registry fixers, optimizers and anything else I could find, I ended up with a dead install of XP, and it would no longer boot. And on top of this at some point the drive diag software (it was a Quantum 40GB drive) starting reporting drive errors and I couldn’t reformat the primary partition so I couldn’t even reinstall XP.
This would normally have been the end of the road for whatever I had on this drive, but I was saved by being able to boot Linux from a CD (Knoppix, the STD distro), and copy any files from the good partitions to my USB hard drive.