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Windows 7: Moving the hard drive with OS to another computer.


29 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate X32
 
 
Moving the hard drive with OS to another computer.

I am running Windows 7 in a 3-year old computer.

I had to upgrade Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate because not only have I had too many application programs installed but Windows 7 refused to do a clean install due to lack of the drivers for many hardware components.

I am now thinking of upgrading my computer to one with faster cpu and memory. If I should do it, I will move the hard drive on which Windows 7 resides to this new one because there are too many applications I am not prepared to ditch. I will uninstall the drivers of a few important pieces of hardware, such as graphic card, LAN card, etc. before I move it.

I don't think Windows 7 comes with an option of 'Repair Installation', that we are so familiar with under Windows XP. Do you think there is great likelihood that I will succeed in doing so?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Windows 7 is much more forgiving for hardware changes, but I still always prefer a clean install on new hardware. That being said, if you remove your drivers, and then move the hard drive, you should be okay. Just have the new drivers handy on a flash drive.

Windows 7 does have a repair option, but I believe you have to boot from the install disc to access it.

A three-year-old computer shouldn't have any hardware limitations for doing a clean install either, just for the record. You only need the basic system drivers, and they would be included.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pinenut View Post
I am running Windows 7 in a 3-year old computer.

I had to upgrade Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Ultimate because not only have I had too many application programs installed but Windows 7 refused to do a clean install due to lack of the drivers for many hardware components.

I am now thinking of upgrading my computer to one with faster cpu and memory. If I should do it, I will move the hard drive on which Windows 7 resides to this new one because there are too many applications I am not prepared to ditch. I will uninstall the drivers of a few important pieces of hardware, such as graphic card, LAN card, etc. before I move it.

I don't think Windows 7 comes with an option of 'Repair Installation', that we are so familiar with under Windows XP. Do you think there is great likelihood that I will succeed in doing so?

The repair installation may differ a bit from XP. Here are the instructions on how it should be performed.

Repair Install[2]=General Tips
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Jan 2010   #4

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Quote:
Do you think there is great likelihood that I will succeed in doing so?
As stated,,, maybe.... but be prepared to nuke and reload.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Depends - if the original OS came with your current PC, it will not work. OEM systems are stuck with the mobo they were originally installed. If, however, you have a genuine MS version of the OS, it might work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #6

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Good point,, forgot all about the whole OEM versus Retail stuff.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

When you swap the HD into new hardware and start up, it will switch out all of the drivers requesting several restarts. I have experienced no performance hit doing this about a dozen times. Some say it will not work on a different number of cores, but I haven't tried it yet.

I always immediately go to Computer>Properties and reinstall the product key, although several others have said that isn't necessary. I just assume it requires reactivation on new hardware. If activation fails, you can always run a Repair Install which resets activation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate X32
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
When you swap the HD into new hardware and start up, it will switch out all of the drivers requesting several restarts. I have experienced no performance hit doing this about a dozen times. Some say it will not work on a different number of cores, but I haven't tried it yet.

I always immediately go to Computer>Properties and reinstall the product key, although several others have said that isn't necessary. I just assume it requires reactivation on new hardware. If activation fails, you can always run a Repair Install which resets activation.
This is the best help so far.

My current computer is a home-built with an Asus motherboard as stated in my profile. I was surprised to see Windows 7 refused to do a clean install. but I did not investigate the reason for it because I was not planning to do so to begin with. I merely tried to see what would happen just to kick the tires so to speak.

The 'Repair Install' will only be possible once I am able to start Windows 7 in the normal mode. So, I am hoping that what gregrocker stated is true.

In that case, I don't have to unintall hardware drivers before moving to a new computer. Am I right, gregrocker? I would still uninstall the driver for the graphic card because this is the most troublesome component when migrating to a new box.

When I say I am going to get a new computer, I mean to say I will get a new motherboard with a faster CPU, memory sticks and a graphic card if not onboard. The mother board comes with its own hardware drivers and I think the reason why Windows 7 refused to do a clean install because it doesn't have the drivers for the mother board.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

I have not changed my drivers ahead of time, letting Windows 7 autochange all of the drivers when started in another machine.

You will have to try it to see. No guarantees. Others haven't been as lucky as I have.

Edit: Since this time we have learned that booting into Safe Mode to install new chipset and display driver can often start a HD or image moved to new hardware. So can running Startup Repair from Booted DVD or Repair CD. There are programs that will support doing this as well: Paragon Adaptive Restore removes drivers from HD before moving it, while Acronis 10+ will reimage to new hardware after removing all drivers if you select that option.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jan 2010   #10

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

Just like with anything,,, your millage may very.

Be prepared to Nuke and Reload.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Moving the hard drive with OS to another computer.




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