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I mostly work at home on my desktop computer, but I often got to journey somewhere for a few months and be able to continue working during the trip. Every time I copy many things and setup many programs first from my desktop to the notebook, and when I get back - from the notebook to the desktop. This is a very boring and time consuming task. (This is in case someone offers a better option for my task).

So, currently my desktop is Windows 7 x64, Intel Core2 duo E8400, RAID0 2 HDD + 3rd HDD (all 3.5"), 4Gb RAM.
My notebook is Acer Aspire 5742, Windows 7 x64 on Intel Core i3-380M, 128 GB SSD for system + 2nd HDD instead of the DVD drive, 6Gb RAM.

What I have in mind is to install 128 GB SSD for system + 1 TB (for example) 2.5" HDD into my desktop, work on it at home and when I need to move the system to the notebook - I just take SSD + HDD from the desktop and install them into the notebook (and when I get back - put them back into the desktop). Will Windows 7 be able to continue running on a new hardware?

Or do you have better options?


Some update for better explanation of the situation: I run heavy software, like Visual Studio and RDBMS. Outside home I also work at places where is no Internet.


Latest update: Well, moving my system SSD from the laptop to the desktop went almost ok (there were some problems, don't remember exactly which), but I solved them. But after 3 months, when I decided to move my system SSD back to the laptop - Windows starts loading and then shows a blue screen. I tried a few things (like trying to restore windows, etc.), but they didn't help. So, at the moment I am restoring my old backup (which I made with Norton Ghost before moving the SSD from the laptop to the desktop) to the SSD hoping it will work on the notebook after that. If restoring from backup helps, I will only have to restore my changes/updates for the last 3 months.

So, if anyone thinks they can safely move system drive with Windows 7 from one PC to another - be careful, there is no guarantee you will succeed.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, CharlieRB, Heptite, Dave, Raystafarian Mar 10 at 14:00

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
    
Not a duplicate question - moving the harddisk is only one suggested answer in this case, and quite possibly not the best answer. –  MSalters Mar 7 at 19:38

5 Answers 5

Or do you have better options?

Yeah, either virtualize or start storing your data in the cloud. Moving HDDs between two devices is not a good solution.

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I run heavy software, like Visual Studio and RDBMS. Outside home I also work at places where is no Internet. –  Junior1993 Mar 7 at 20:41
    
The fact that you run heavy software should not be a problem. The only criterion for those virtual machines is: do you have enough RAM in the machines. Now that is exactly what you don't specify in yoir question, so it's hard to give a definitive answer. But virtual machines is the way to go, together with as-strict-as-possible separation of programs and data. –  Jan Doggen Mar 7 at 20:47
    
VMs would be the way to go. I use Visual Studio and MSSQL installed on a VM and move it around as needed. The drawback of using a VM is that you have to physically move the VM from machine to machine. A eSATA mounted external SSD is what I opted to use to make it as fast as possible. –  MikeAWood Mar 7 at 23:06

Windows ties activation to the original board it was installed on. Generally when I've tried this, Windows alerts me that there's been a hardware change and that I'll have to reactivate the product. Sounds fun, until Windows freezes activation because they feel your license has been activated one too many times.

There are more elegant solutions I would think. Since you need to be able to use your programs, I would suggest using something like Teamviewer where while away you could just remote in to your computer from your laptop. That way you could keep all your files\programs on the one computer and access them from anywhere via your laptop.

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With laptops now having such powerful processors, RAM and many of the features of desktops, I'd suggest getting a high end laptop and use a docking station to use all your normal peripherals at home. When you need to travel, un-dock and you have everything with you.

Many business people use a similar configuration to the one pictured.

enter image description here

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It should, I can't see problem in switching hard drives, however you may have problems with Windows license.

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It didn't :( see my updated question. –  Junior1993 Jun 24 at 0:54

It depends on the desktop's and notebook's storage controller, or more specific the driver which windows uses to access the harddisks. If the driver is the same there should be no problem. The driver is installed at installation time and a crucial part of the customized HAL.

If windows would need different drivers for your desktop's and your notebook's harddisk controller then you could install them manually every time before you switch.

Maybe a different solution would be to install a small linux on both desktop and notebook and install virtualization-software (like VirtualBox, Xen, KVM or something like that) and keep the virtual machine on the 1-TB-drive. But performance is expected to be a bit slower, most notably considering graphic-intense programs.

Also keep in mind that Windows needs to be re-activated every time the hardware is changed to a certain point, which may fail if hardware is changed too often.

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