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

29 Jan 2010   #1
pinenut

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
DeaconFrost

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
richc46

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 10, Home Clean Install
 
 

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
Tepid

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
Tepid

Win 7 Ultimate 32bit
 
 

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

 

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
pinenut

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
gregrocker

 

I have not changed my drivers ahead of time, letting Win7 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
Tepid

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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