I have a lenovo T530 laptop. It currently has 2 SSDs: one in the easily accessible CD/DVD/HD bay, and one somewhere else inside the case which has the operating system installed.

"My computer" reports that the Operating system SSD is 108GB capacity, while the other SSD is 111 GB capacity. Both of the harddrives are filling up and it's a struggle and a juggling act to keep a little free space available.

I had a geeze at the prices of SSDs these days and was delighted to discover that they have come down in price dramatically since I last was shopping around. I would like to upgrade the operating system SSD so that it has between roughly 0.5TB and 1TB space.

Now, my question is: How can I move my operating system to the new harddrive? Is there some software that can mirror the entire contents of my current Operating system harddrive over to the new one? or do I have to completely start from scratch, reinstall windows etc? If the latter, I can't afford to pay for a new windows 10 license, so how would I go about transferring my existing license over to the new install?

I'm not opposed to just starting with a fresh install, but as mentioned, I can't afford a new windows 10 license. So how would I go about transferring my existing license over to the new hard drive?

edit: I should note that my laptop originally came with windows 7 installed, and I upgraded to windows 10 for free back in 2016.

edit: this isn't a duplicate. The linked question has absolutely nothing to do with this question

edit: as mentioned, I am open to a fresh install, but my worry is that i will be barred from activating the operating system and won't be able to transfer my license. I read on another question that these days windows will autoactivate after installation if it recognises your motherboard. Can someone confirm this or provide more information?

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    Replacing your system drive absolutely does not require you to purchase a license. Windows 10 will automatically activate when installed on the new drive. Without external storage large enough to store a image of your current disk, creating a copy of your current disk, will be difficult due unless you get a USB M.2 adapter. Both NVMe and SATA USB M.2 adapters do exist but you should read the descriptions of those products carefully. Installation of a Windows is as simple as booting to the installation disk and installing Windows on the new drive. Honestly I am not sure what your question is – Ramhound Jun 13 '19 at 3:36
  • @Ramhound I haven't reinstalled an operating system since the xp days (with the exception of some fooling around with linux). I'm not sure how it's done these days. does windows install from a live CD/usb? – TheIronKnuckle Jun 13 '19 at 3:42
  • You install Windows exactly the same way you install Linux or Windows XP, from an installation medium, that can be a removable USB flash drive or an optical disk. So exactly the same way you installed Windows XP – Ramhound Jun 13 '19 at 3:44

You can certainly move the hard drives to bigger ones as is, this is called cloning.

Some SSDs will come with their own (or a license for a) Cloning Software. Otherwise, you can use a free one like Macrium Reflect Free.

One thing that you will need to mess around a bit (not the complete simplest thing but also not very complicated) is while doing the clone to resize the partition to fill the whole bigger drive (otherwise it is going to be a separate partition.)

You can check out this full guide on How to clone your PC hard drive using Macrium Reflect with screenshots, so you can see what it takes.

In regards to your edit with the question about a clean install.

You can very easily create a Windows 10 installation media using the official media creation tool.

It should automatically activate if the only change is the hard drive. (Though no one will be able to assure it for you since there are instances that people have difficulties. But usually, after a call with Microsoft, it is always activated. They even have a page about Reactivating Windows 10 after a hardware change)

  • So would i just plug in my old SDD and the new larger one, and then click "clone" and all of a sudden i would be able to boot from the new one? – TheIronKnuckle Jun 13 '19 at 3:45
  • Almost like this. You will 1) need to have slots to have both plugged in at the same time. 2) Easiest is always to unplugged the old once the clone is done and then boot – Yisroel Tech Jun 13 '19 at 3:50
  • That's awesome I will try this – TheIronKnuckle Jun 13 '19 at 3:51
  • Great. I added some more details in my answer – Yisroel Tech Jun 13 '19 at 3:59
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    Installation of a HDD is absolutely not considered a hardware change and the author will absolutely have no issues with the activation of Windows 10. This is due to the fact they are using an OEM Windows 10 license. – Ramhound Jun 13 '19 at 4:14

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