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I have a used computer with Windows 7 installed on it. The product key is on a sticker on the bottom. The computer is dead, but the hard drive works. How can I transfer Windows 7 onto a new computer that does not have Windows 7 installed? I do not want to use the old hard drive in the new computer because it's too old, slow, and small.

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How about WIN7 OEM?… – Aki Oct 1 '11 at 18:08
I hate to give Microsoft an extra $99 when I already own Windows 7. – xpda Oct 1 '11 at 18:36
And illegal too... "Using Bing, I found upgrades and OEM copies only, neither of which can be legally installed on a newly built homebrew PC. " What a mess.… – Aki Oct 1 '11 at 18:55
Well the easiest way would be to download Windows 7 and use the serial number on the new windows installation. I saw a question (which I can't find right now) about that some time ago and one of the answers provided Micosoft's download links for Windows, so it would be best to dig that up. – AndrejaKo Oct 1 '11 at 19:46
You don't own Winds, you are in essence leasing the OS according to their Terms, not yours. It is illegal to transfer OEM Windows to a different PC. – Moab Oct 1 '11 at 21:42
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can create a system image using a third party software such as Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost or a free software such as Easeus Disk Copy and image the new drive.

There is also the built-in Backup/Restore functions which essentially does the same thing.

Microsoft provides the following guides to system images:

The following tutorial is very simple to follow through the entire process of backing up and restoring:

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If the product key is on the bottom of the computer, then it's more than likely an OEM license. OEM licenses are tied to the hardware. It is illegal to move that product key on other hardware.

Consider than you also do not have the disk, my suspicion is that this is an OEM license.

I'm reminded way back in the day when OSes were commonly hundreds of dollars, before inflation. . .

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Which parts of the hardware am I allowed to replace? CPU? Hard drive? Motherboard? Case? – xpda Oct 1 '11 at 22:08
Pretty much everything but the motherboard. – surfasb Oct 1 '11 at 22:28

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