I have an activated Windows 7 installation on a HDD atm that I want to move to an SSD. I want to use the Windows backup function, but I'm not sure about a few things.

  1. Do I have to create a bootable disc? Or can I just create the backup file on an internal HDD? How would I "execute" this backup file on the HDD if doing a fresh restore on an SSD with no OS on it?

  2. After restoring, do I have to reactivate? Or is it already activated since it restores it the way it was when I backed up?

  3. If no reactivation required, then what if I changed some hardware (Mobo in particular) and then restored (using OEM version), would it still function? Or do the activation files keep a log of all hardware at the time of activation?

  1. Yes (called a "System Repair Disk"), or use your original Windows disk. It will give you options to restore/recover from your image type system backup.

    Microsoft offers full instructions on making/restoring a system image backup here. Also, if you open Control Panel\System and Security\Backup and Restore and hit F1, the Windows Help has plenty of instruction on how to use the backup and restore system.

  2. If you change just the HDD you probably won't have to reactivate.

  3. I think you are stressing about activation way too much. :) As long as you don't try and (re)activate more than three times within a certain amount of time, it will almost always work across the Internet. And as long as you are legit, you can always call and get it activated over the phone.

  • I've read that OEM keys only work for one motherboard and are tied to it. I kind of want to upgrade my mobo... but then I might need to buy another license. – Jack Nov 25 '11 at 4:50
  • 2
    Upgrading the motherboard (and using an OEM license) would absolutely require a new copy of Windows - at that point, you're changing the main part of the computer essentially replacing the computer. – Multiverse IT Nov 26 '11 at 8:22
  1. Create a system image backup on another hard drive and restore it using your Windows 7 DVD.

  2. Because you are restoring an exact copy of all system files on your drive, you should not have to reactivate.

  3. OEM licensing is tied to the motherboard. If you replace your motherboard for any reason other than a defect, Microsoft considers your system to be a new computer not covered under your license agreement. In that case, you cannot reactivate Windows.

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