Windows 10: how do i clone a dell laptop HD to a desktop HD

  1.    12 Feb 2017 #1

    how do i clone a dell laptop HD to a desktop HD

    I have a Dell laptop and a Dell desktop. The laptop has a 500 gig HD with windows and all my files and programs. I initially tried to remove the HD from the laptop and put it into the desktop but it would not boot. I have a separate new 500 gig seagate HD that I would like to clone the laptop HD to and boot in the desktop. Is it possible?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    12 Feb 2017 #2

    Welcome to the forum. If you clone it won't boot as it's an exact copy of the HD. The driver's won't match and it may not activate as it's all new hardware. You could clone then try and repair if your running the laptop as well it's not going to activate. The correct way is to buy a new copy of Windows and do a clean install
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    12 Feb 2017 #3

    thr reason i am trying to avoid a clean install is because i want to reserve my file and program locations and structure

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    thank you. i will not be running the laptop as well
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    12 Feb 2017 #4

    I'm willing to bet the reason it wouldn't boot when you moved it over is because one computer is legacy BIOS which uses a MBR partitioned drive and the other computer is UEFI which uses a GPT partitioned drive.

    Tell us if each computer is legacy BIOS or UEFI and we can tell you how to move on from there.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    12 Feb 2017 #5

    you are correct the laptop is GPT and the desktop is legacy

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    of course the desktop does not have an option for GPT

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    when i entered the bios on the desktop, i don't remember if there was an option for UEFI, but i am sure there was not for GPT

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    I remember MBR and legacy but not sure of UEFI

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    this was on friday and i can't remember exactly, but I am sure that i tried each option in the desktop bios

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    is it possible to download the drivers for the desktop on the laptop and then install the drivers when i put the laptop HD in the desktop using windows repair?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    12 Feb 2017 #6

    I'm on my phone traveling, will post more specific instructions tonight. Basically do a clean install of Windows 10 to the desktop, let it set up the disk the way it needs..

    Clone only the OS partition from the laptop to replace the OS partition on the the desktop. Run startup repair. Run the activation troubleshooter (requires a MS account), and you should be good to go.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    12 Feb 2017 #7

    okay thanks NavyLCDR...looking forward to it
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8.    12 Feb 2017 #8

    So here is what I would do. You will need an 8 GB or larger USB flash drive. I recommend just a generic brand name (like Sandisk) USB 2.0 flash drive. Nothing fancy and USB 2.0 seems to work better that USB 3.0. Use the Media Creation Tool to make a Windows 10 installation USB flash drive:
    Download Windows 10

    I know it takes longer, but if you just let the tool create the flash drive for you it will be compatible with both legacy BIOS and UEFI.

    Then download Kyhi's Recovery Drive:
    Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk

    You want Win14393PESE_x64 ISO v170116. On the Windows 10 installation USB flash drive you created earlier, go to the \Sources folder. Rename the boot.wim file to boot.bak. Mount the ISO file of Kyhi's Recovery Tools and copy the boot.wim file from the \Sources folder of it to the \Sources folder on the Windows 10 installation USB flash drive.

    Boot the desktop computer from the flash drive you made. It will boot into Kyhi's Recovery Tools. Open Windows (file) Explorer, run setup.exe from the USB flash drive to start Windows 10 setup. Skip entering the product key (unless you have a Windows 10 product key to enter). Select the Custom Install option. Your hard drive should be shown, probably Drive 0. If there are any partition listed on it, delete them until you have nothing but unallocated space. This will erase the hard drive! Select the unallocated space and click next to let Windows 10 set up the drive the way it wants.

    Let everything proceed until you get to the first screen that wants you to connect to a network or create a user account. You don't have to go any further if you don't want to. Now you have two choices - you can either connect the HDD from the laptop as a second hard drive to the desktop - either through a SATA connection or a USB adapter. Or you will need an external hard drive.

    If you connect the laptop HDD to the desktop, then boot the desktop from the USB flash drive again. Run Macrium Reflect. Clone only the OS partition from the laptop HDD over the top of the OS partition on the desktop HDD. You might have to even delete the OS partition on the desktop HDD first. Just make dang sure you have the source disk and the destination disk selected properly or you will lose everything! Also make sure you clone only the OS partition. After that completes, under the restore menu of Macrium Reflect is a utility to fix Windows start problems. Run that utility and fix the boot files on the desktop HDD to boot the new desktop OS partition.

    If you want to use a third, external HDD, then you will boot the laptop from the USB flash drive you made. Run Macrium Reflect. Make an image of the OS partition saving it to the external HDD. Then boot the desktop computer from the flash drive and use Macrium Reflect to restore the saved image over the top of the OS partition on the desktop. Again, do only the OS partition! Run the fix Windows startup utility after you restore the partition from the image.

    That should do it except for activating the Windows 10 on the desktop. Here are a couple of Microsoft links to help you. You want to read the section for "You recently made a significant hardware change".
      My ComputerSystem Spec


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