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Windows 7: Can I restore a Windows 7 Disk Image to the second hard drive

12 Nov 2014   #1
Stephen N

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
Can I restore a Windows 7 Disk Image to the second hard drive

1 down vote favorite

I am going to have to replace my computer as it has reached the end of its working life. It operates under Windows 7. The new computers I am looking at already have Windows 7 installed and have two hard drives. I have been using my existing computer for a number of years and really don't want to go to the bother of reinstalling all the applications and then configuring them as to how I like them.

I have seen software on sale that allows system transfers between computers with different configurations but am a bit dubious about using them. What I would like to know is whether I can restore my system image produced using the Windows 7 utility on to the second hard drive of the new machine. Would I then be able to use my old programs in the way I like without affecting the new Windows 7 configuration.

All my data files are backed up separately and there should be no problem restoring them

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You should be dubious.

Two potential problems:

1: If the old PC has an "OEM" version of Windows, that license would not be valid on the new PC--even if you could move the installation to the new PC by imaging or any other method.

2: If the old PC has a "retail" version of Windows, that license WOULD be valid on the new PC, BUT-------the new PC has entirely new hardware and you would likely run into some conflicts.

If you in fact have a retail version of Windows, you might look into Paragon Adaptive Restore, which tries to move existing installations to new hardware. It works pretty well.

Look at this tutorial:

Make Windows 7 bootable after motherboard swap

Imaging in and of itself would not resolve the issue of an OEM license or new hardware. If you have a retail license, you could try imaging with Macrium and see what happened, but I'd guess the better move is to go with Paragon Adaptive Restore to avoid headaches. Even then, it could fail, so be prepared to reinstall applications directly onto the new PC.

Another possibility is Sysprep:

Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer

You just have to make an assessment of the time required and success rate for reinstalling and reconfiguring applications versus the time required and success rate of some other method. There's certainly a learning curve for the other methods and the success rate is lower than a simple reinstall and reconfiguration. I don't know how you could accurately assess that without actually trying. If a reinstall and reconfig would take you 10 hours, maybe you accept that. If it would take 50 hours, maybe you try another method.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2014   #3
Microsoft MVP


Use the PAR boot disk in Adjust Win7 to boot on new hardware with Paragon Adaptive Restore CD
with only the old HD plugged into the new PC.

If the new PC has UEFI you'll need to enable CSM or Legacy BIOS first in BIOS setup.

Once you've adjusted the old OS to boot on the new hardware, it may require Startup Repair from the Win7 disk to get it started. Then it will change out all drivers in a cascade you can watch from the System Tray animation. Several reboots will be required.

If performance is good then change the Activation to the license which came with the PC or reactivate a retail version at Control Panel>System.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Can I restore a Windows 7 Disk Image to the second hard drive

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