I’ve had a laptop fail (CPU failure according to the blinking LED) and was wondering what steps I could take to transfer its hard drive to a new machine and have it boot. It currently has Windows 10 installed (upgraded from Windows 8.1, Windows 8 before that, and originally Windows 7).

I’ll probably start by taking a backup image of the disk. The replacement laptop hasn’t arrived as yet, it’s of a similar vintage. The old machine was a HP ProBook (don't recall the model off the top of my head), and the replacement a Dell Latitude 6420.

I of course want to avoid having to reinstall and reconfigure all the applications on the drive.

3 Answers 3


If the old machine is truly dead, and will not boot at all, then the only course would be to remove the hard drive from the old machine. Unfortunately installing the old drive in the new machine as a boot drive will not work. Windows will not be activated for that machine, and since they are different hardware platforms, most likely will not boot at all. Some individual programs will also detect the change and won't run, as they are licensed for the old machine (OEM software usually is only licensed for the machine it came with, and cannot be installed on a different machine).

If it were my machine, I would install the old drive in a USB carrier and copy all the files over to the new machine. You will of course still need to reinstall everything.

If you can get the old machine to boot one time, you can use the file and transfer settings program. It works quite well, however it does not install the programs, it just copies their settings, so you are still going to have to reinstall your software.

  • This is of course not the answer I'm looking for, but I expect this is what I'll end up doing.
    – Alister
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 22:34

Eventually (after taking a backup), I just put the drive in the replacement machine. It booted fine, detected drivers, etc. I did have to reactivate with a new serial number - as Kevin stated I would, however this was not a big issue as I have an MSDN subscription. Even without a handy license, buying a new one would have been worth while. Also the laptop came with a Windows 7 pro license, and I could possibly installed that, upgraded to 10. I didn't have any trouble with any other software.


It happend for me too, my PC's power supply broke, motherboard also. I was wandering what to do with windows 10 pro boot disk (SSD)? I did buy totally new parts, everything exept SSD -boot disk and the case. When I first booted with old SSD, Windows did boot and start normally. But now I do not dare to set wi-fi card, because I suppose MS would soon tell me that windows booted in another computer than it was installed first time and windows will de-activate.

So, answer: windows 10 seem to boot in another computer.

  • Question: I did also buy new windows 7 upgrade licence. Is it now possible to activate windows 10 with this new hardware and with this new windows 7 licence? Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 15:25
  • This is not an answer to the original question. If you have a new question please ask your own question (referencing this one for context if it helps).
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 15:49
  • If the hardware is sufficiently similar, you can sometimes get away without reactivation.
    – Alister
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 22:25

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