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I have a Windows 7 64-bit installation on my current PC, and I want to move it to a new PC .. I do NOT have a problem with licensing, as the new system already has its own new Windows 7 license, which I intend to use.

I want to use my existing installation, because it has 3 years worth of installed office related software development software, which installing again could take weeks !

I'm assuming that I can use Windows 7's Backup and Restore feature to backup a system image to a network location, then restore that network stored system image on the new PC ?

Again, like I said, I don't have a WIndows 7 licensing issue, as both machines are corporate provided and come with their own licences.

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The Windows 7 Back and Restore feature will NOT transfer your applications you would have to reinstall those if you used that option. Acronis True Image and other alternatives has the ability to migrate an image to different hardware. You can do it yourself by putting Windows into a mode, but its not easy, and might simply be worth the small amount of money to do it with speciailized software. – Ramhound Sep 13 '13 at 12:33
Is the hardware the same or different? You may have some driver issues if you just try to do a clone from one hard drive to another, though Win 7 is far better than previous OSes at sorting out hardware changes. – trpt4him Sep 13 '13 at 12:46
I don't mind the occasional driver issues, as long as my software environments run out of the box. @Ramhound, which software are you specifically suggesting which has better migration capabilities ? Acronis True Image ? Will it move the entire Windows 7 installation, including all installed stuff and files, without causing any boot/incompatiblity problems on destination PC ? – Ahmad Sep 13 '13 at 12:50
Also, the hardware is different between the two PCs .. Different motherboard, different CPU (both are Intel though), more RAM, etc .. – Ahmad Sep 13 '13 at 12:51
@Ahmad - Acronis True Image 2014 Premium does have the ability to migrate your Windows installation from PC A to PC B where PC B has entirely different hardware. This of course requires two licenses and for you to manually change the license and reactivate the installation. There are other alternatives that do this, in exactly the same way, Acronis does it. Like I said you can place Windows into a migration mode, duplicate the HDD, and Windows would install the required drivers to boot. – Ramhound Sep 13 '13 at 13:35

Short answer: you have to run sysprep on your old PC, shut it down and move the drive to the new PC.

Long answer: Sysprep is one way only and it strips Windows from all hardware drivers, once you run it, you'd have to install drivers on your old PC as well. You need to create a backup of your Windows in case something will go wrong.

Use the following procedure if you have a spare new drive:

  1. Clone old drive to the new disk, connected via USB to old PC (use gparted or clonezilla live CD)
  2. Swap disks and boot old PC from new drive
  3. Run sysprep on old PC with new drive, shutdown old PC
  4. Put the new drive in new PC, boot and see how and if it works. This way you will still have an untouched old drive that you can still use.
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This is the easiest way to move an existing W7 installation i have ever found, sysprep is built into W7 also, it can be found in C:\Windows\System32\sysprep – Moab May 19 '15 at 23:09
I ran sysprep /generalize but I can't get the drive to boot on the new machine; the new drive boots on the old machine but not the new one, not even in safe mode. The processor is different and I'm sure it doesn't have the driver for it. How do I fix it? – bgmCoder Mar 6 at 20:21
@bgmCoder Does windows start booting and then crashes or boot sequence not even starting? – Alec Istomin Mar 9 at 4:10
@AlecIstomin Ah, I ended up doing a fresh install and moving everything manually; took me all night. But yes, windows would start booting and then crash. – bgmCoder Mar 9 at 16:44

Connect the new PC's hard disk to your old PC and mirror the old hard disk using GParted. I think it even allows mirroring over networks, but I don't have any experience doing that. Once done, move the hard disk back to your new PC. The system most likely won't boot up properly, so use Windows 7's restore console. It should be able to fix the issues during two or three attempts.

Important: Don't try to mirror your old hard disk using tools such as Norton Ghost. I've done this in the past and it will modify your old hard disk trying to add bootup entries for the new disk (which never worked for me; i.e. I've been sitting there with an unbootable source disk). So it didn't even do a proper backup.

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I don't know... if you were trying to grab an image from a disk and ended up messing up that disk, I think you may have done something wrong. I've used Ghost in the past and have never seen it modify the source image like that. – trpt4him Sep 13 '13 at 12:46
Just used it's "mirror disk" function or whatever it's been called. It tried to add the new disk to the old disk's boot manager for whatever reason. – Mario Sep 14 '13 at 16:02

Use applications like:

  1. Paragon Drive Copy 14 Professional
    Features: Upgrade your hard drive to a new one, Migrate to new hardware and more.
  2. FarStone TotalRecovery Pro & Server
    Features: Disk Imaging (backs up files, Windows, and partitions) and more.
  3. KLS Backup 2013 Professional
    Features: Backup of databases (Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL) and application data (Outlook, Thunderbird) and more.
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