Can a Win10 hard drive just be swapped into a new computer?  


  1. Posts : 231
    Windows 10
       #1

    Can a Win10 hard drive just be swapped into a new computer?


    I had posted a few months ago about unexplained blue screens on an ASUS laptop of my wife's.

    The problem was seemingly solved with a new SSD, then when the blue screens persisted, a clean install of Windows on that drive.

    But after two months, the blue screens returned, and the shop discovered it was the controller on the motherboard, and recommended that getting a new computer would make more sense - the ASUS was four years old and had had other problems.

    I'd like to have the shop simply swap in the "old" (two months old) drive from the ASUS into the Lenovo they ordered for us. 5% because it's a new drive, and 95% so I don't have to, for the second time in two months, install and configure the software on the machine.

    The shop is saying that they'll "try" this, but that a clean install of Windows might be necessary anyway. Which of course would negate the primary reason for moving the drive, to save me from reinstalling and configuring.

    What are some guidelines and considerations if one is asking what I'm asking? I realize that there will be different hardware on the new laptop, but I'm very much hoping that a drive swap (or clone the old drive to the new computer), and maybe some different drivers, will fix this.
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 52
    Windows 10 64 bit
       #2

    Yes you should be able to switch the HDD to a new computer if the boot is right
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 231
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    GoldenDog said:
    Yes you should be able to switch the HDD to a new computer if the boot is right
    I apologize for an ignorant question, but what does "the boot is right" mean?
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 1,656
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #4

    This route is not recommended for several reasons:

    1. Significant driver incompatability...you will be dealing with several BSOD's, and solving them is going to be a journey if the hardware/drivers differ significantly.
    2. Windows licencing. If the existing licence is an OEM licence, it will not validate on the new laptop.

    If it was me, I would go the clean install route. It will be far less painful, even with reinstalling all the software.

    Is the existing ASUS still working? If so, you might want to post about the BSOD's here to verify that the problem is indeed what the repair shop claimed.
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 18,354
    Windows 11 Pro
       #5

    You should be fine. UEFI v. Legacy BIOS (CSM mode) booting and IDE v. AHCI SATA controller mode are your two big show stoppers if they are different between the two computers, both are very easily remedied, if the computer shop knows how to deal with it (but they likely won't).

    As long as the new computer comes from the factory licensed for Windows 10 of the same edition or higher (ie: Home or Pro), activation of Windows wil be no problem. You might have activation and licensing of other programs you have installed, though, if they are written to detect computer changes.
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 231
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Thanks for the replies so far.

    This shop, that I've used for a decade, DEFINITELY knows what it's doing, and the Windows activation matter won't be an issue here.

    The person who told me that a clean install might be necessary was in sales for them (they're a corporate computer and IT provider), who admitted that the tech who'd configure the laptop would be more knowledgeable about the issues.

    And the techs there know me, and are perfectly comfortable calling me, if a "we think you need to do a clean install because..." situation arises.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 240
    Dual Boot Windows 11 & 10, usually latest version
       #7

    You can. I occasionally test clones of system disks by booting them in a different machine, and I've never had one that wouldn't boot. Windows will install whatever drivers are necessary to run on the new system. I do match UEFI vs mbr systems though.
      My Computers


  8. Posts : 3,461
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 21H1 (May 2021 build 19043.1083)
       #8
      My Computer


  9. Posts : 231
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Wrapping up this thread, I picked the computer up from the shop five days ago and it's worked fantastically since.

    The tech, who I know pretty well, said he'd never seen a drive swapped into a computer work so flawlessly. No errors, no blue screens, no configurations needed; it just worked right out of the box.

    All the more amazing because the old machine was an AMD-based ASUS, and the new one is an Intel-based Lenovo IdeaPad L340.

    But anyway, yes, "old" (two months since purchase) drive dropped into new Lenovo, and all is working great.
      My Computer


  10. Posts : 3,461
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 21H1 (May 2021 build 19043.1083)
       #10

    Windows 10 had build-in support for most hardware, that's why it worked without issues out of the box. Great news.
      My Computer


 

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