Windows 10: Cloning with a new key and 8.1 key activation

  1.    26 Nov 2015 #1

    Cloning with a new key and 8.1 key activation

    I have a Windows 10 machine that has the same configuration that I want for another machine that I have purchased without an OS.

    What I am considering, to make life easier is to clone the drive of the configured machine to the new one and then, with a new Windows key hat I have, simply activate it with this key and therefore essentially have 2 identically configured machines, albeit with different drivers and product keys.

    The other part of this is that the spare key that I have is for Windows 8.1, so if the first part is possible, can activation for 10 be carried out with the 8.1 key?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    27 Nov 2015 #2

    Version 1511 Windows 10 is supposed to allow activation with a Windows 8.1 key. Run winver to see if you have version 1511 installed.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    27 Nov 2015 #3

    The same configuration doesn't necessarily mean the same components. Laptops are nortorius for switching components. They may have the same specifications but use different drivers to make them work. So don't be surprised if you run into issues. Good luck though.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    27 Nov 2015 #4

    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes I do currently have 1511.

    I plan on using imaging software with restore to dissimilar hardware in the functionality.
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  5. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,481
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.48)
       27 Nov 2015 #5

    Run your laptop with Windows 7 or 8.1 and see here how to obtain the activation token. Then you can try cloning the disk of one laptop to the other. If the hardware is similar it should load and looking for drivers for any device different from the original laptop. Install the drivers and you should be OK. You then need to activate Windows 10 which would have deactivated due to the different hardware. Use the token to activate (copy at the appropriate folder, see tutorial in the link above, and REPLACE when asked).

    PS: I haven't done it with Windows 10 yet, but have done it many times with Windows 7 and 8 and it worked. You have nothing to lose. If by chance it doesn't work, format the hard disk, clean-install Windows 10 and use token to activate.
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  6.    05 Dec 2015 #6

    Well it worked and better than I expected.

    I cloned the machine and when booting into the other with different hardware, windows loaded without any BSOD's due to the difference.

    Updated the correct drivers and was then able to use my 8.1 Pro key to activate 10 pro.

    Very impressed.
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  7. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,481
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.48)
       05 Dec 2015 #7

    Been there, done that.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    05 Dec 2015 #8

    Nice to see it working in a reliable fashion though after failures trying the same thing with older Windows versions.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,481
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.48)
       05 Dec 2015 #9

    I have successfully done it since Windows 95! In Windows 9x family (95, 98 and ME) you have to boot into safe mode and then delete ALL devices from Device Manager, to avoid a BSOD because of different hardware. When booting in the new computer it will start discovering the devices and will ask for Windows CD-ROM. Since the CD-ROM device may not be yet usable, I was keeping a copy of Windows setup files in a folder in the hard disk and pointed there. In Windows XP and newer you do it by simply installing new drivers and reactivating Windows. As long as both computers have similar hardware you don't get a BSOD.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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