Transferring Windows 7 hard drive to different PC - having some issues

By wydnej ยท 16 replies
Jun 14, 2011
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  1. Hi all, looking for a bit of help with the below problem, grateful any assistance :

    Am trying to transfer my mums hard drive with Windows 7 and all her stuff on it (even WoW - yes, I know...she's 62!). I tried to do this on the weekend, expecting that it would be fairly simple to just swap out my hard drive for hers, alas no.

    I got the Windows 7 initial page up and then it tried to repair connection, to no avail.

    After having a look around online the only answers I can come up with would be that I need to run the boot up from the Windows 7 dvd and then see where that goes... is this correct? Is there anything else I will need to do to get this booting and running from my mums hard drive?

    Apologies for noobish question, I reach the limit of my tech knowledge as soon as we go further than replacing RAM!

  2. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    If you have moved the hard drive from an OEM licensed machine it will not work in the other PC no matter what you do as it is hard coded to the original motherboard.

    Even if it is non OEM then it will still be a problem because all the hardware drivers will be incorrect. If you do manage to get it to boot you will then have to run an Upgrade install from a Windows 7 installation disc to clean out all the incorrect hardware drivers and then install all the correct ones. Then you need to re-activate the license.

    The easiest option is to run a clean install from a retail copy of Windows 7.
  3. wydnej

    wydnej TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OEM licence...

    Many thanks for the reply buddy. Only question I have is, my old dear bought her pc from HP, they stuck the old Windows 7 sticker on the side, but no sign of a Windows 7 dvd, so I reckon they didnt give her one.

    I was gonna use my Windows 7 dvd to run the repair.

    However if I am reading between the lines... if its an OEM which I suspect it is, I am knobbled?
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    You will have to buy a retail copy of Windows 7. I'd go with the Pro version, and do a "clean" install. I am 61 and my first computer experience was in 1976. I still build and repair them :)
  5. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    And what a lovely summer 1976 was (in the UK) a few years before I got my first PC (if you could call it that) a XZ Spectrum, wow what a PC that was, lol.

    Yes, Wydnej you are knobbled. But you need to check the sticker to be certain it is OEM, it will be written on it. As with many PC's these days it will have come pre installed with Windows and no discs, just a Recovery partition on the hard drive. If you are lucky it will be a retial product key which will allow you to use it on another machine. If that is the case then you can only use your disc to do the Repair Install if it is the same as the installed version of Win 7, be it Home, Premium, Ultimate, etc. The hardest part is you have to get it to boot to the desktop before the Repair can be done.

    With XP you could run a Repair Install by booting from the disc which is just what most people would need to do if the installation is not bootable, heaven knows why Microsoft made such a bizzar change, it's removed a very usefull feature in times of trouble. The only option is a Startup Repair which does not always work or a repair to the boot sector using the command prompt (not exactly user friendly).
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Yes, the computer was a Digital PDP8. The 20GB hard drive was as big as a kitchen table. It took loading a paper punch tape and several large reel to reel tape drives to boot in 20 minutes if you were lucky...

    I have retail copies of Windows 98SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Pro, Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Pro
  7. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    I can just recall my first proper PC after the Spectrum it was an IBM with a whopping 8GB hard drive, had to keep uninstalling software when you wanted to use something else. Made in the days when a Tetrabyte hard drive was close to science fiction. Oh, how fast things have changed, one wonders what the next 30 years will bring. Microchips made from DNA has exiting prospects.
  8. akannitaoheed

    akannitaoheed TS Rookie Posts: 79

    Before you do anything, return the drive back to the system you took it from then backup the files on the drive to an external storage medium.

    Secondly, it is likely there is a recovery partition on the drive cos HP always creates one for recovery. To access the recovery partition/manager, tap F11 from startup (always F11 for HP systems). If there is a recovery partition the system would boot to it, if not then get a retail copy of win 7 for installation. If you can access the recovery partition then create a set of recovery dvds from there to use on the other system you want to take the drive to. If this fails, then sorry you will still have to go purchase a retail copy of win 7 to use or you stick to your old machine, flesh and bone!!!
  9. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    It has already been explained that if you move the hard drive to the other PC it will still need to have a repair install run on it to be able to clear out the old hardware drivers and you can only do that if it will boot to the desktop and you have to use a matching retail version of Windows to be able to do that. Simply moving a copy of the same OS installation using Restore discs will have the same result.

    Anyway, the chances are very high that it will be an OEM licence and therefore cannot be transfered to another PC whichever method is used.

    We need the OP to confirm what is on the licence sticker.

    As it has already failed to boot to the desktop the chances of this transfer working are very slim.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    wydnej, you could take that drive and install it as a second hard drive to save any data, if there is any data to save...
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,491   +184

    OMG! I cut my teeth on the DEC PDP-8 with its 12-bit CPU and paper punch tape rolls. Now there's a stroll down memory lane :D

    /* edit */
    I thought you might also enjoy these memorabilia pics i just hunted down :)

  12. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Amazing LookinAround!
    I remember flipping those switches in certain patterns loading 1's and 0's... We used the PDP8 to run simple test programs to test memory banks (64MB modules were $1,000ea) These modules were actually large square circuit boards loaded with memory IC's. Boy, have we come a long way
  13. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    Well, things were improving rapidly until Vista came out:D
  14. akannitaoheed

    akannitaoheed TS Rookie Posts: 79

    I use recovery discs from one HP system on other HP models, the worst that happens is that some drivers would not load and some will cause windows to crash but not in safe mode where I deal with removal of such drivers and get on with other installations.
  15. Mark56

    Mark56 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,886

    With all due respect I am not saying that it is impossible. Transferring between two pc's of the same make probably increases the chance of success. The bottom line is, if it is an OEM installation it will not work. And, if the other PC will not boot from the transfered hard drive there is little you can do with a Windows 7 install as you have to get to the desktop to run the Repair Install (no thanks to Microsoft).
  16. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +250

    I'm wondering why you need to remove her hard drive and put it into another computer. Windows 7 hasn't been around that long so her computer must have a decent spec. Unless a motherboard has gone repairs are usually straightforward. The advice given is all good but be aware that these things can be time consuming. You might be able to get a discounted retail version of Windows 7 (Student Edition) if someone in the family is eligible and the criteria for that are pretty flexible.
  17. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I purchased a student copy of Windows 7 Pro for $30 almost 2 years ago. I wonder if that program is still going on

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