How to Transfer Hard Drive to New Computer without Reinstalling Windows

If you recently built a new computer, you will be wondering if you can just transfer your old hard drive into the new computer–thus transfer your entire installation in one fell dive. But it’s not as easy task as it seems. Linux systems generally load all their drivers at boot time, which mean they’re much more portable–that’s why Linux will be loaded from those conducive USB drives and discs. Windows systems do not work like this, although. When you install Windows, it becomes tied to the hardware on that computer, and if you put it into a new computer, you’ll encounter a few issues.

Part 1. Can I transfer my Windows installation hard drive to new computer?

Device Drivers Problems

If you actually try moving a hard drive to New Computer and booting from it–or restoring a windows system image backup on different hardware–it usually won’t boot appositely. You may see an error about issues with the “hardware abstraction layer” or it may even blue screen during the boot process.

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That’s because when you install Windows on a computer, it sets itself up with drivers specific to that pc motherboard and chipset. The drivers for the storage controller, which allows the motherboard to communicate with the hard disk, are particularly significant. When Windows boots on different hardware, it doesn’t know how to handle that hardware and won’t boot appositely.

Microsoft Windows Activation

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Windows activation is another issue in this process. Most people get Windows preloaded on the computers they purchase. These preloaded versions of Windows are OEM (original equipment manufacturer) copies which are designed to be locked to the hardware they were basically installed on. Microsoft doesn’t permit you to be able to transfer those OEM copies of Windows to another computer.

If you purchase a copy of windows and install it yourself, things aren’t so bad. The Windows activation process is produced to make sure you only install that copy of Windows on one running computer at a time, so if you are changing a computer’s motherboard–or even some other bits of internal hardware the result will in the Windows system becoming deactivated. You can just re-enter your windows activation key.

Part 3. What should you do after transferring hard drive to new computer?

Add/update drivers (step by step to add or update drivers on windows 10)

Driver updates for Windows 10, along with many devices, such as network adapters, monitors, printers, drives and video cards are automatically downloaded and installed through the Windows Update. You probably already have the most recent drivers, but if want to manually Add/update drivers, here you can see how

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to update the device driver step by step

  1. In the windows search box on the taskbar, enter device manager, then select Device Manager.
  2. Select a category to see names of devices, then right-click the one you want to update.
  3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Select Update Driver. If Windows doesn’t find a new driver, you can try looking for one on the device manufacturer’s website and follow their instructions. You will find better solution.

Re-activate Windows

In this section, we’ll guide you through the process to link together your Microsoft Account and digital license, and show you how to Re-activate Windows step by step. How to link your Microsoft account with the digital license

  1. Use the Windows activation key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.
  2. Secondly Click Update & security.
  3. Click Activation. Click Add an account. (important thing Your account must have administrator privileges to go through this process)
  4. Enter your Microsoft account email or information, and click Sign-in. If the local account isn’t connected to a Microsoft account, you will also need to enter the password for the local account.
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When you see the whole process is done then Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account”message in the Activation page, indicating that linked was successfully done.

Troubleshooter to re-activate Windows 10

After linking your Microsoft account with the digital license, you can use the new Activation Troubleshooter to re-activate Windows 10 after making a hardware change on your new computer.

  1. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings software.
  2. Click Update & security.
  3. Click Activation. If you see the activation status message: Windows is not activated, then you can click Troubleshoot to continue. (Important note is your account must have administrator privileges to complete this process.)
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Click the “I changed hardware on this device recently” link.

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Here is Enter your Microsoft account email, and click Sign in.

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You’ll need to enter you local account password if Microsoft account hasn’t been added to your computer. Click next to continue.

Select the device you want to re-activate.Check the “This is the device I’m using right now” option, and click the Activate button.

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If you don’t have a product activation key or digital license, you can purchase a Windows 10 digital license after installation finishes.

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