Did I understand you correctly, that you want to use the same PC but just change the harddrive? In this case, you shouldn't get "crazy software activation issues".
You can simply use a backup software like
Acronis True Image Home 2011 assures that all your important data, including photos, videos, music, documents and applications, are fully protected and can be recovered quickly in the event of any disaster.
Or if you're looking for a free alternative:
The only free XP, Vista and Windows 7 compatible disk imaging software with BartPE and Linux based recovery options.
- Create a disk image whilst running Windows using Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS).
- Image to Network, USB, FireWire drives and DVD.
- Built in scheduler.
- 32 bit and native 64 bit versions.
- Industry leading compression levels and speed.
- Linux based Rescue CD with Network access and full GUI. Only 6.5MB in size!
- Built in CD/DVD packet writing engine. Supports packet writing to DVD DL media with Windows Vista.
- HTML log files.
Create a clone of your harddrive, use the Rescue CD to copy the backup to a new drive.
Everything will be copied 1:1. Most programs really just give you a hard time with the licenses if you change multiple aspects of your hardware at once.