Run programs and files from external hard drives

Hard drives
I have 2 old MS XP computers, one that won't even start up anymore and another on its last leg, super slow. I have a newer computer that's running Windows 8. Is there any way I can salvage data files, and more importantly programs I used on the old computers? I am a CAD designer by trade and have a couple CAD software on the old computers I would like to use on the new computer, but don't have the installation discs to install them on the new computer. If I do a full disc copy from both old computers to an external HD will I be able to run those programs from the external hard drive? the programs I want to run are Student AutoCAD and Student Pro E. Or do I need to make partitions and load the XP operating systems that they originally resided on in order to be able to run those software packages. And if that's the only way to run those, by booting up on the new computer with old OS, XP to be able to use those AutoCAD and pro-e student versions. Both of those old software were used on 32 bit computers, and I think this new one is 64 bit...My main thing is getting rid of both old XP computers but retain the software and data stored on them and retain the data and the software and still be able to run the older software from the old machines. Any advice?

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Have you tried a utility such as Symantec Ghost? That should migrate the files okay, but you may have trouble running an old app on a newer OS.

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  • Subhendu Sen
    As you asked for clone, that may not be so useful on your new computer because of some configurations/ registry related issues. Perhaps, it may run but not fully compatible with your new system. As you did not have setup disks, you may try to download those softwares for your new system.
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  • ToddN2000
    Most likely you may be able to use your files. The programs may not due to the 32 / 64 bit OS issue. The other issue is the registry info an folder/path will not be the same.
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  • Gabe9527

    Firstly for the machine that wont start - You can remove the harddisk and attached it to the new machine via a USB adaptor - this will mean all you do is open the disk via my computer and backup everything that you need. If there is software (installation files) stored there and they are compatible then you have it.

    The laptop that is still up just go to the C$ share and copy the data to the new machine.

    The apps that are not compatible search and either find free ware or buy the new versions.

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