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I want to transfer Windows 8 from one HDD to another HDD (with Windows 7 on another partition).

I bought Windows 8 Pro 64bit update (I had a a Windows Vista DVD i never even used), placed a new hard drive in my custom made desktop and installed it on a 3.5' 500GB hard drive and then removed it from my Desktop and placed back my 3.5' 2TB older hard drive that had Windows 7 Pro 64bit. Can I partition my 2TB drive and transfer Windows 8 on it, so I can use the 500GB for something else?

To be honest I only installed it and used it for two hours after I installed it and was a bit disappointed (I'm too used to Windows 7) so I placed back my old hard drive with Windows 7.

If i reinstall Windows 8 on the 2 TB hard drive, will it take the license/serial from the BIOS of the system? Was it installed there?

Can I use that Windows 8 for a new PC will build in the future? It has been 4 months since I first installed Windows 8. I never used it again.

Please note that I only have some basic IT skills, but I am a fast learner and do research if needed.

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You can install Windows 8 on any number of hdds for that single computer as you want. So just install it on any hdd you want. – Ramhound May 22 '13 at 11:37

I'll try and answer all your questions one by one. I'm assuming you have a Win8 Setup DVD/USB handy, which you created using the Upgrade Assistant.

First of all, the easiest solution by far would be to attach only the 2TB Win7 drive, boot from the Win8 Setup media, shrink the Win7 partition (if it's using all 2TB) and install Win8. No mess, no fuss, and you'll end up with the Win8 graphical bootloader that will allow you to select the OS you want to boot:


If you are dead set on copying the Win8 version you already have installed on the 500GB drive, attach both drives and set the 2TB Win7 one as the first boot device in the BIOS. Once you're in Win7, install EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition and shrink the Win7 partition till you have enough unallocated space to fit the Win8 partition:


Now copy the Win8 partition's contents to the newly created unallocated space:


Next, install EasyBCD and you can add the newly copied Win8 to the Win7 boot menu:


After disconnecting the 500GB drive you should see the Win7 text-based boot menu with both OSes listed:


If you prefer the Win8 graphical bootloader you can run Automatic Repair from the Setup media:


This should do the trick and allow you to use the graphical bootloader to boot into either Win8 or Win7. However, in case the graphical menu does not list Win7 for some reason you can always install EasyBCD in Win8 and add an entry for Win7.

Didn't I tell you reinstalling Win8 afresh would be the easiest way? :)

One more important detail. Since you seem to have clean installed Win8 Upgrade on an empty drive, it's quite likely you will not be able to activate successfully (the Upgrade version requires a qualifying older version of the OS to be already installed). If you face this issue see here for a couple of workarounds. As with all activation-related problems, last resort if nothing works is to call MS and use their automated system or talk to a Support Rep to get the issue resolved.

Finally, coming to the license transfer. Win8 Upgrade replaces your older OS' license (Vista in your case), so you can no longer use that Vista key again as long as you're using the Win8 Upgrade version. You can of course transfer the Upgrade version to another system as long as you don't have multiple copies using the same key at any given point of time.

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WOW!!! Thank you so much! You are amazing. Easy explanations and with pictures too. Really cool, thanks Karan. – Eric Cartman May 23 '13 at 6:02
@EricCartman: You're most welcome! :) Since you're new here don't forget to read the FAQ and accept answers that helped you. – Karan May 23 '13 at 14:04

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