Operating System Transfer?

I will be needing to get a new hard drive for my computer, and in the process, upgrading to Windows 10. However, at some later point, I will drastically overhaul the computer. At that time, I will want to transfer the OS, and a small number of programs to a SSD that will be added at that time. Will this be possible?


  • TSTonyV
    TSTonyV ✭✭✭✭✭
    First Anniversary 5 Likes First Comment First Answer
    Hello @DallasWhovian! Welcome to the Community. 

    Windows 10 can be reinstalled/transferred to a new drive. When you register a Windows 10 license, Microsoft builds a hardware ID in their database and as long as you don't change the hardware too much, the key should automatically reactivate. Even if you do change your hardware, Microsoft provides a process you can go through to reactivate the key on the new hardware. 

    For transferring your OS, my recommendation is always to do a clean reinstall/redownload of your programs. You could look into cloning the drive, but cloning can be a little finicky and if you're transferring from a larger drive to a smaller SSD, you may not be able to do it. 
  • DallasWhovian
    Basically, I think my computer is old enough that I don't know if it would recognize the SSD properly (Built in 2012). So, in order to do what I have heard recommended, I think I would need a near total overhaul of the computer, save a few parts. I want to be able to get a new hard drive, and install Windows 10, Office, trim down the fat on startup and elsewhere, stuff like that. But, once I have the money for an overhaul, then take the OS, and 1-2 other programs, and transfer then to the SSD. I hope I am not being rude. I know hardware, but I am not good with software.
  • PowerSpec_MikeW
    PowerSpec_MikeW PowerSpec Engineer
    5 Insightfuls First Anniversary First Comment 5 Awesomes
    You're fine. First your system build in 2012 would recognize a SATA SSD just fine, so you can install one of those now. Transferring the OS, which we tend to refer to as "Cloning" is a bit more of a mess. Given the year I'm assuming your on Windows 7.  That's going to be a big problem on any new hardware. You could upgrade in place to Windows 10, then clone and transfer the drive.  However, upgrading and cloning can have their own problems to work around. You also will need to stick to a legacy boot, which means you're going to need to keep CSM on, on your new system. And even after you do all that, transferring an OS like this is a gamble. It might work, it might not. Windows 10 will stop the first startup and try to add drivers, it's much better, but not perfect. Also, check your BIOS before you you try to transfer the OS for your SATA controller mode, this need to match on the new system, or you'll BSOD, this can be corrected beforehand on either system, more than likely.

    So there are a lot of things to watch out for and potential problems. It's really better to do a clean install and reinstall the software. Why do you want to transfer the OS and software instead of doing a clean install and reinstalling the software? If you've lost keys to programs like Office, it's possible to recover them and you can download the installer for it, for free so long as your key is retail.
  • DallasWhovian
    I know I would have to reinstall Office, as it is the 2010 version. I really don't want to have to reinstall the other many, many programs on my computer, however. I do want to go to Windows 10, however. The 1TB drive is close-ish to full, and I dread needed to reinstall so much of it.
  • TSKyleH
    I understand the concern, however many programs will have updates for windows 10 support so some of the programs on the drive wouldn't be compatible and may result in doing many of the installs anyway because of the compatibility gap. At least doing the clean install means your only going through the installation steps once, instead of with the cloning which has many steps before installing the programs. and then you may still have to do the upgrade installs for the older programs to get them to work.
  • DallasWhovian
    Alright. Thank you for the info. I will be doing both hard drives at one time. Once I more fully understand how the whole process of getting help from MicroCenter works, I will go in and have this done. Thank you.
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