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swapping hard drive from another computer?


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RowdyMoody's Avatar
RowdyMoody RowdyMoody is offline
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20-Aug-2012, 08:13 PM #1
swapping hard drive from another computer?
Hello, My hard drive finally killed over on my main computer. My original plan was to buy another one, but coincidentally my mom just bought a new computer and said I could take the hard drives out of her recently replaced computer as she will no longer be using it.

One of the hard drives already has windows 7 installed on it, I am just wondering if when I put them in my computer will it require me to provide a license key? I am not sure if the license key for windows tethers to your mobo or the hard drive that windows 7 is installed on or what.

So will I be able to just install her hard drives in my computer and be good to go? Or am I going to have to go out and get myself a new license from Microsoft (or buy a new copy of windows, in other words) after I put them in my computer?

Thanks!
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20-Aug-2012, 08:39 PM #2
The license is tied to that computer. Technically, you likely won't be able to boot it. Legally, you can't use it.
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20-Aug-2012, 08:52 PM #3
Okay, I was just looking for a quicker hard drive install. I will just format the both of them, do a fresh install of windows 7 and call microsoft to tell them I had to get a new hard drive so they will let me activate it again I guess. Thanks!
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20-Aug-2012, 08:53 PM #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by RowdyMoody View Post
Okay, I was just looking for a quicker hard drive install. I will just format the both of them, do a fresh install of windows 7 and call microsoft to tell them I had to get a new hard drive so they will let me activate it again I guess. Thanks!
That's not legal, and we won't help with that. If you want to run Windows 7 on your computer, you need to buy a license.
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20-Aug-2012, 11:13 PM #5
Perhaps you misunderstood what my intentions are. My computer already had windows 7 on it, which I purchased fair and square from the store. My moms computer (which I am getting the hard drives from) also has windows 7, therefor it is already installed on the hard drives. I don't understand how it could be illegal about asking Microsoft to let me re-activate my legit purchased copy of windows on my computer once I put the new hard drives in? Everywhere I have read about this on the internet indicates that as long as you purchased your copy of windows legally, and your not trying to install it on multiple machines with the same license key, that Microsoft has no problems letting you re activate your edition of windows.

So just to double clarify, I purchased windows 7 already for my computer a few years ago, my moms hard drives already have windows 7 installed. I just want to know whether or not when I put the hard drives in my computer (that I already installed a legit and activated copy of windows 7 on before my hard drive took a dive) if it will ask me to re-activate windows or not.

I have been told that when you install a new hard drive, and install windows on it, that it asks you for your activation license, and that since I already activated my copy of windows 7 with my license previously, my license won't work when I try to activate it, and that it will prompt me to call Microsoft and speak with a rep, then I can explain that I am installing a new hard drive and need to re-activate my windows 7. Is this how it works? Or was I misinformed?

Last edited by RowdyMoody; 20-Aug-2012 at 11:27 PM..
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20-Aug-2012, 11:21 PM #6
If Windows came pre-installed on your mother's computer, then that Windows license is tied to that computer. I cannot be moved to another computer regardless of what that other computer may be licensed for.

If both versions of Windows 7 are identical (i.e. both 64-bit, both Home Premium), then you may be able to somehow change the key to be yours. Not sure. Never tried it.

Before you get that far, you'll have to jump through hoops just booting it. How is the hard drive configured on your Mom's computer? SATA? IDE? AHCI? How 'bout on your computer? If they don't match, you'll probably have to reinstall.

If it even boots to Safe Mode, you'll need to uninstall drivers for all the old hardware and reinstall drivers for all the new hardware starting with the chipset, video, network, etc.
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20-Aug-2012, 11:55 PM #7
I am quite sure her hard drives will be compatible as both of our computers use SATA 2 for the hard drives and optical drives.

How about if I install the hard drives in my computer, boot it up and formatted them, then boot the computer from my windows 7 cd to do a fresh install of windows 7, then take care of my drivers when I get the computer up and running?

I have been told that after you install a new hard drive and install windows 7 onto it that it will prompt you to authenticate when you first log back on to the computer. Seeming as how I already used my license key to authenticate this windows 7 on this computer previously while my old hard drive was in it, I am quite sure that if I am indeed prompted to authenticate my windows it wont allow me to do it with my license because I already used it to authenticate windows 7 previously while the computer was still using my old hard drive.

I have also been told that when you put in a new hard drive and call Microsoft after getting the prompt that they are usually more than willing to allow you to re-authenticate on your new hard drives, So long as you are not trying to dupe them and install it on two machines or a different machine or something. I mean I am going to be installing my copy of windows 7 on the same machine I already had it installed on, just with new hard drives in it.

Do you think Microsoft will allow me to re authenticate if I call and explain my situation? That is of course if I will even get the prompt after installing windows 7 and booting up.
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21-Aug-2012, 02:48 AM #8
As you have your own, legitimate copy of Windows I would suggest putting your mums drive in your machine and format that drive (as you have said). Then do a clean install with your Windows 7 install CD which is perfectly legal - pending point paragraph 3 below.

Yes, you will be required to authenticate when you start it up after the install, if this is only the 2nd time you have installed with that license then it will likely authenticate fine online (again, pending paragraph 3). Windows will normally authenticate fine online for 2 or 3 installs, after that you need to start phoning Microsoft to do it but even then its an automated service, or at least it was.

The only problem you may have is if your Windows CD is an OEM version, that came with a pre-built PC. If that is the case the license is likely tied very specifically to that machine and it may not like the change of hard drive.
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RowdyMoody RowdyMoody is offline
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21-Aug-2012, 06:18 PM #9
Okay, I am pretty sure it will work then as the windows was not pre installed on another machine (or oem.)and Guess the best way to find out will be to go through the steps and just see how it works. Thanks for the input!
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