Forum Thread

Can I use a HDD with preinstalled Windows on a diff laptop?

263 183 April 24, 2018 at 01:18 PM
Folks, I'm hoping someone could answer this.

I have an old SSD drive with Windows preinstalled in it. I'm going to put that SSD on a new Acer laptop that I just bought. I want to set aside the 1TB hard drive that came with this new laptop for future use. I assume if I put this 1TB hard drive in another computer as the main boot drive and install the preinstalled Windows it would work. Is that right? Assuming the answer is yes, is it ok if I swap this 1TB drive with SSD without even starting this new laptop once (which means the windows in the 1TB drive will be remain in a preinstalled mode in it)?

9 Comments

1

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Oct 2004
L10: Grand Master
12,118 Posts
1,493 Reputation
Pro
#2
What are the specs in the "from" machine and "to" machine? This is possible but isn't a best practice.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Dec 2008
L7: Teacher
2,345 Posts
587 Reputation
#3
Chances are not good that it will work. Different drivers are probably necessary. Best to do a clean install.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Jun 2004
L3: Novice
156 Posts
87 Reputation
#4
>>>>What you describe could technically be possible but it will be at your own risk!<<<<
>>>>I'm light on details because you need to be comfortable doing this on your own.<<<<
>>>>If you don't understand you should not attempt<<<<

In either case I recommend you make full disk image backups before you do anything. The last thing you want is to invalidate your OS activation or trigger a massive driver installation that causes conflicts and trashes your installation. Dell, Acer, Asus among others typically ship with OEM versions of Windows with activations that are non-transferable according to Microsoft. In other words it is the laptop hardware itself that is licensed for Windows and that Acer license activation can't be transferred to anything else.

Aside from the Windows key/activation, I know with previous versions of windows it is possible for the manufacturer to lock the pre-loaded image to their own hardware/BIOS. For example you couldn't take a drive with a pre-loaded Dell image and install it in an Asus, etc.

Windows 10 seems to be a different beast in terms of self activation with a digital key but it's still entirely possible your pre-loaded Acer installation is locked to Acer hardware or the exact model laptop.

As for re-using your original older SSD, I imagine the same would apply if it's a pre-loaded install from a major OEM (Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Asus).

However If your old drive has a copy of Windows you bought and installed yourself then all you'd likely have to do is contact Microsoft to ask them to revoke and refund your activation. That's if it complains that the hardware has changed too much and prompts you to reactivate.

Best case, your activation isn't affected after installing it in the new Acer but you'll want to have the latest Acer drivers for your new laptop loaded directly on the old SSD in case your old installation doesn't have compatible USB, WiFi or LAN drivers pre-loaded.

That said, you would be much better off doing a clean install of whatever OS is on it though, then transfer your important data. Windows has a settings transfer utility for this very reason!


>>>>The following will be at your own risk!<<<<

I recommend removing the Acer SSD and make sure you know how to boot from a live Linux usb stick before you do anything else. Change the Bios/UEFI to boot from USB.
Ubuntu is what I recommend, once its running in try mode launch the Disks utility and use the create disk image menu option towards the top right of the Disks window. That way you get the full disk and all partitions.

The factory Acer SSD shouldn't have much data on it but if you want to make a backup of both your old and new SSDs you'll want to use a spare external 2TB (or larger) drive to store the image backup.

As long as you make a full disk image of the original Acer drive before booting windows then you can see if it'll boot in a non-Acer machine.
If it does and doesn't complain about activation, Great! And you have a bakcup just in case.

If it doesn't boot and/or complains about not being active because it's not running on Acer hardware - blah blah - you can restore the drive to it's original state from the image backup.
Though I doubt it would really harm the factory image or lock you out by attempting to boot.
Reply Helpful Comment? 1 0
Last edited by MastarPete April 24, 2018 at 03:24 PM.
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Dec 2009
L3: Novice
263 Posts
183 Reputation
Original Poster
#5
Thanks so much everyone. I think I have the registration key for the windows OS in the SSD. But I have to double check that. If that's the case then using the SSD in the Acer laptop shouldn't be a problem.

Now, let's talk about the 1TB HDD that came with the Acer laptop. My question is what if I just try using this 1TB HDD on another computer and see if it works? If it doesn't work then I'll know it won't work with any computer other than the Acer laptop. If it works and I'm able to install the preloaded Windows, then can I just complete the windows installation, unplug it and keep it for the future?

Thanks again.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Jun 2004
L3: Novice
156 Posts
87 Reputation
#6
Quote from ratibars
:
Thanks so much everyone. I think I have the registration key for the windows OS in the SSD. But I have to double check that. If that's the case then using the SSD in the Acer laptop shouldn't be a problem.

Now, let's talk about the 1TB HDD that came with the Acer laptop. My question is what if I just try using this 1TB HDD on another computer and see if it works? If it doesn't work then I'll know it won't work with any computer other than the Acer laptop. If it works and I'm able to install the preloaded Windows, then can I just complete the windows installation, unplug it and keep it for the future?

Thanks again.
If you have your own Windows key and its not an OEM version then you shouldn't have a problem other than drivers.

As for the Acer SSD, If you're actually able to go through the initial install and activation then the simple answer would be yes.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Dec 2009
L3: Novice
263 Posts
183 Reputation
Original Poster
#7
Thank you MastarPete.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined May 2017
L6: Expert
3,279 Posts
379 Reputation
#8
no you cant ,windows reads key from bios
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Mar 2004
A Regular
1,542 Posts
#9
Of course that would depend on the version of Windows, but typically the key is tied to the motherboard, not the SSD. It might work, it might not. Whether you want to try is up to you I guess.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
We all find out who we are when nobody's looking.
This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Mar 2018
L3: Novice
264 Posts
168 Reputation
#10
Yes, it is possible but I strongly advise thank
Quote from MastarPete
:
>>>>What you describe could technically be possible but it will be at your own risk!<<<<
>>>>I'm light on details because you need to be comfortable doing this on your own.<<<<
>>>>If you don't understand you should not attempt<<<<

In either case I recommend you make full disk image backups before you do anything. The last thing you want is to invalidate your OS activation or trigger a massive driver installation that causes conflicts and trashes your installation. Dell, Acer, Asus among others typically ship with OEM versions of Windows with activations that are non-transferable according to Microsoft. In other words it is the laptop hardware itself that is licensed for Windows and that Acer license activation can't be transferred to anything else.

Aside from the Windows key/activation, I know with previous versions of windows it is possible for the manufacturer to lock the pre-loaded image to their own hardware/BIOS. For example you couldn't take a drive with a pre-loaded Dell image and install it in an Asus, etc.

Windows 10 seems to be a different beast in terms of self activation with a digital key but it's still entirely possible your pre-loaded Acer installation is locked to Acer hardware or the exact model laptop.

As for re-using your original older SSD, I imagine the same would apply if it's a pre-loaded install from a major OEM (Dell, Acer, Lenovo, Asus).

However If your old drive has a copy of Windows you bought and installed yourself then all you'd likely have to do is contact Microsoft to ask them to revoke and refund your activation. That's if it complains that the hardware has changed too much and prompts you to reactivate.

Best case, your activation isn't affected after installing it in the new Acer but you'll want to have the latest Acer drivers for your new laptop loaded directly on the old SSD in case your old installation doesn't have compatible USB, WiFi or LAN drivers pre-loaded.

That said, you would be much better off doing a clean install of whatever OS is on it though, then transfer your important data. Windows has a settings transfer utility for this very reason!


>>>>The following will be at your own risk!<<<<

I recommend removing the Acer SSD and make sure you know how to boot from a live Linux usb stick before you do anything else. Change the Bios/UEFI to boot from USB.
Ubuntu is what I recommend, once its running in try mode launch the Disks utility and use the create disk image menu option towards the top right of the Disks window. That way you get the full disk and all partitions.

The factory Acer SSD shouldn't have much data on it but if you want to make a backup of both your old and new SSDs you'll want to use a spare external 2TB (or larger) drive to store the image backup.

As long as you make a full disk image of the original Acer drive before booting windows then you can see if it'll boot in a non-Acer machine.
If it does and doesn't complain about activation, Great! And you have a bakcup just in case.

If it doesn't boot and/or complains about not being active because it's not running on Acer hardware - blah blah - you can restore the drive to it's original state from the image backup.
Though I doubt it would really harm the factory image or lock you out by attempting to boot.
Thank you for giving an effort in typing and providing this information. Very informative!
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Page 1 of 1
1
Join the Conversation
Add a Comment
 
Link Copied to Clipboard