I have a Windows 2000 system which no longer boots. We've narrowed it down to disk corruption of some Windows components, and a clean install of Windows should fix that. But there's some specialist software that's the reason this machine still exists. In a sense this isn't retro - this is a system that's still used in a research lab, because it supports hardware that isn't supported by anything much more modern. Some time in the last 20 years the installation media for the specialist software have gone missing.

I recall being able to move an installation from one Windows system to another (specifically I know I did this with Paint Shop Pro from a Win95 PC to a Win98 installation and then an XP system). I have an idea it involved copying over all the relevant files (most but not all of which were in the program's own folder under c:\program files - finding the others was a hard part) then registering the DLLs, but can't recall the details. In this case we've also got hardware drivers to consider.

Is there a sequence of steps I can follow, or even just a few tips to help me remember?

  • You need to declare drivers to the service control manager (SCM). Most of the config for a kernel driver is pretty rote. The 'sc' command is the easy way. Read the SCM API documentation to find out what the service config looks like. (Note, from the system viewpoint, as distinct from popular usage, a 'driver' is a 'service').
    – dave
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 11:19
  • In full generality, the answer is probably going to be ‘it depends’. I would rather be trying to repair the installation already there (moving it to another drive if necessary) Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 12:55
  • @user3840170 so would I, unfortunately the system isn't in my hands at the moment so I only have someone else's word that it's not repairable (and my own image, but that was taken since things failed)
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 13:00
  • 2
    Fearing saying the obviouis - back up what you have right now so you at least have that if it breaks further. Then consider using the backup for further experiments. There is a lot of "move physical machine into a virtual image" that might be useful. Also consider booting into linux to create a bit-copy of the whole harddisk. Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 18:17
  • 1
    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen that's always a good point to make. I imaged it myself (using ddrescue under Linux) before letting it out of my hands. I can work on copies either virtually or on a spare physical drive
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 20, 2022 at 19:17


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