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Windows 7: Running One Windows 7 Hard Drive On Two Machines

23 Dec 2015   #1
miketurn1234

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
Running One Windows 7 Hard Drive On Two Machines

Hello Everyone,

I have a bit of an odd question....

Lets say you have two computers that are identical, same CPU, same motherboard, different RAM amounts.
You install Windows 7 and all the appropriate hardware drivers on a hard drive in one of these two computers.
Now lets say you want to take that hard drive with the OS and drivers installed and move it to the other one of these identical computers.

Is this something that is possible?
I have tried this process out but it does not seem to work at all.

When I try to do so I get the "Windows Error Recovery" black screen with white lettering right after BIOS screen finishes.
This screen says "Windows failed to start" and has two options...

1.) Launch Startup Repair (tries to repair but it not successful at doing so and when you reboot it goes back to Windows Error screen.
2.) Start Windows Normally (this option when run just creates an infinite loop, rebooting the system and going back to the Windows Error Screen again)

I have a couple guesses at what it could be, but does anyone have any ideas of how to make this work?
Maybe someone that has accomplished this already?

Thank You for reading this and for any advice offered.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Dec 2015   #2
Ranger4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit sp1
 
 

This MS website might help you workout why it's not working. If you read through it you will see heaps of reasons why it wont work & these are mainly due to hardware variations.

Swap HDD (boot drive) between two computers? - Microsoft Community
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Dec 2015   #3
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

The OP in that thread said he would come-back and say whether he got it working, but then did not.

What I read in there was that it ought to work but that Windows Updates should only be done from one location (set update checking to OFF), that the Windows Genuine Advantage (license check process) could be confused about machine IDs. As if WGA was only checked when an Update check is done, and I don't know that's the case.

Regardless, this is not what you're experiencing miketurn1234 what with your startup problems. That feels instead like a Driver issue ie somehow your two machines are not identical, and the drivers Windows needs to boot are missing/wrong.

In any case this is a really good question and I too would like to know the answer. I move between two locations myself and have set-up docks to carry a laptop back & forth. Would be nice to know if I could somehow carry instead only a 2.5" SSD!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Jan 2016   #4
miketurn1234

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Hey Guys, Thank You for your responses.

I read through that forum, I wish that user posted his results also, to see if he was ever successful.
Not sure, I believe all my drivers I am running are the same on both machines (I will check again to be sure)
When I first started testing stuff out I thought it might be something with having different versions of bios, but I installed the same versions a while back and it didn't make any difference unfortunately.

As I mentioned the only component that I know of that is different is the memory (manufacturer and size), but I wouldn't think that would matter because I have never really had to do any configuring when upgrading RAM.

If anyone has any other ideas please let me know.
If I find the solution myself I will post my results.
It is at least good to know that others have an interest in doing something similar.
Thanks Again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2016   #5
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by miketurn1234 View Post
...I believe all my drivers I am running are the same on both machines (I will check again to be sure)
Did you mean "I believe all my HARDWARE is the same"? I thought you were moving one hard drive from PC 1 to PC 2 thus you are [trying to] run the very same set of drivers on both machines. Of course, if you were able to get Windows to boot, and then saw an "installing drivers" message in the tray, that would signal a problem...

Quote:
As I mentioned the only component that I know of that is different is the memory (manufacturer and size), but I wouldn't think that would matter because I have never really had to do any configuring when upgrading RAM.
It occurs to me Mike that a difference in RAM would seem to me to confuse Windows paging file parameters assuming you left to default "let Windows manage". Try instead setting the paging file size Manually/Custom to that recommended by the PC having the larger RAM (or vice-versa if that doesn't work). EDIT: Oh, and you'd have to turn Hibernate off as well, if you're using that.

Of course, on the machine that is Working make sure also to turn off Windows Updates.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jan 2016   #6
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Since it is Professional I assume the OS is not OEM. I have heard what you can do to move an OS on a HD around to different machines, is to put the HD in a USB docking station or enclosure. Then set the machine to temporarily boot from the USB port. If the port is USB 3.0 and the machine has lots of ram it may run pretty well. At least well enough to do some kind of maintenance or virus scans etc..

An OEM OS should not work because it is tied to the id of the motherboard of the machine it was pre;oaded on. But a retail version of the OS should let you do it, all other things being equal.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2016   #7
miketurn1234

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Thanks again for the responses, wow items don't stay on the homepage for long around here, seems we all got issues.

MaxSeven
Sorry I kind of misspoke, I answered a sort of two part question in my head with one answer.
Yes you are correct I did mean I believe I am using the same exact hardware.
What I was referring to also was that I tested out (I believe) the same drivers used on one machine with the other on a junk hard drive (a while back) and the drivers work okay on both machines.

Now as far as the paging default, I forgot about that, that would be a difference cause by different RAM sizes. In the past I did research about the paging file, but never applied the knowledge because it didn't seem worth messing around with it for a different problem I was having at the time, but I wonder if something like this would cause the hiccup I am experiencing? I will add this to my list of things to try.

My main reason for posting a thread was just to make sure I didn't spend a whole bunch of time testing things out only to have someone say that it definitely can't be done. It seems so far no one has said that it can't be done, which is good, so I remain hopeful. Once I get a little bit more time I will start testing out as many ideas as I can.
It seems it could be one of many slight differences, but I am willing to try them out.
If anyone has any more ideas to share I am open to hearing them and I will put them on my list of tests.
I will be sure to post my results if I find anything.

Thanks Again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jan 2016   #8
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by miketurn1234 View Post
Thanks again for the responses, wow items don't stay on the homepage for long around here, seems we all got issues.
When you arrive here, select under Quick Links "Threads I posted in" and it will quickly show you this thread, and whether there have been other posts to it.

You can also Subscribe to the thread and you can get emails when new updates arrive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jan 2016   #9
paul1149

Linux Lite 2.8 x64 (full-featured, fast, rock-solid)
 
 

Quote:
Lets say you have two computers that are identical, same CPU, same motherboard, different RAM amounts.
You install Windows 7 and all the appropriate hardware drivers on a hard drive in one of these two computers.
Now lets say you want to take that hard drive with the OS and drivers installed and move it to the other one of these identical computers.

Is this something that is possible?
It should be very possible. For instance, I sold an older Gateway KAV60 netbook to a guy who had the same model but fried the MB. He got mine, plugged in his hard drive, and was off and running. And because it was OEM, Windows stayed activated.

I can't see how RAM would matter. We change RAM amounts in the same machine without a second thought. Windows simply reports that the WEI needs a refresh, and I suppose it auto-adjusts the page file size.

I would go with a driver problem. If the situation is minor, you'll boot and then Windows will try to install the driver. But if it's graphics, chipset, etc, it can freeze. I would start by taking off all unnecessary peripherals, and also disabling what onboard components you don't need in the BIOS. If you know of any hardware differences, you can install the drivers while the HD is in the first machine. One other thing you can do is uninstall any old unneeded ("ghosted") drivers from the Windows install, as they may be causing a conflict in the second machine, as well as slowing down the first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Running One Windows 7 Hard Drive On Two Machines




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