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How to Move Your Windows Drive to a Brand-new PC

Required to move your Windows setup to a brand-new PC? It’s technically possible, and Windows 10 improves the procedure, however there are cautions.

Purchasing a brand-new computer system can be enjoyable, up until you need to slog through moving all your old apps, choices, and files. Would not it be much easier if you could simply pop your old hard disk drive into the brand-new PC and get where you ended?

Windows 7 presented chauffeur disputes that led to a blue screen as quickly as the computer system booted. Microsoft’s sysprep(Opens in a brand-new window) tool might in some cases assist, however it wasn’t actually indicated for this function, and it had its own problems. You were often much better off doing a tidy set up. Because Windows 10, the OS is better about dealing with these disputes. It’s technically possible, though it includes some cautions.

When you toss an existing Windows setup at a brand-new PC, it’ll perform its newbie setup as if it were a brand-new computer system, get motorists for your brand-new hardware, and ideally drop you onto the desktop without much problem. You’ll need to do a couple of things yourself, however in general, it ought to work.

I moved my drive from an AMD-based maker to an Intel/Nvidia maker with hardly a misstep. Windows Update was even able to download brand-new spots. However that’s not to state you will not encounter any issues. This might all differ from PC to PC, and you never ever understand what chauffeur disputes or efficiency problems might lay below the surface area of an apparently great setup.

All informed, I would still advise doing a tidy set up if you’re moving completely to a brand-new maker, however if you require something fast and unclean—like if your old PC passes away and you require to access some information from your old setup—this need to work all right.

Back Up the Entire Drive


Prior to making any considerable modifications, it’s constantly a great concept to support your information—which goes double when you’re tinkering hard disk drives. If you have a backup tool you actually like, proceed and utilize that. Nevertheless, for this specific case, I advise cloning the whole drive. That method, if something fails, you can bring back a specific picture of the initial drive and attempt a various technique.

Additionally, if your brand-new PC takes a various type of drive than your old PC—state, you’re moving from a PC with a 2.5-inch drive to one with an M.2 slot—you can clone the old drive to a brand-new drive with the proper kind element, then plug that drive into your brand-new PC.

Keep in mind that this might suggest purchasing a brand-new SSD and plugging it in with a USB-to-M.2 SATA(Opens in a brand-new window) or USB-to-M.2 NVMe(Opens in a brand-new window) enclosure in order to clone it. Do some research study on which kind of drives your brand-new PC supports prior to purchasing.

Move Your Drive to the New PC


When your drive has actually been securely supported, it’s time to switch it into your brand-new PC, eliminating it from the external enclosure very first (if you utilized one). You might need to search for directions for opening your particular maker and setting up brand-new storage.

Then, turn your PC on. Opportunities are, it’ll attempt to boot from the brand-new drive immediately, however if not, you might require to push a secret at start-up to go into the BIOS settings, like F2 or Erase, and alter the boot order.

Once the PC discovers the ideal drive, you need to be welcomed with the Windows logo design with the spinning wheel. It’ll likely state something like “Getting Devices Ready,” and you’ll need to let it do its thing—in my experience, this is quite fast, though others have actually kept in mind that it might need several restarts.

Install New Drivers (and Uninstall Old Ones)

hidden drives

Windows will likely set up a great deal of the essential motorists for you, specifically when you link your brand-new PC to the web. You might discover some flickering as it downloads the screen motorists, so offer it a long time to go through its procedure. You might likewise discover you require to download some motorists by hand, if Windows does not do so by itself or downloads generic motorists rather of manufacturer-supplied ones.

To be safe, I advise heading to your PC producer’s site and downloading the chipset, audio, and other motorists yourself. If you constructed the computer system, go to the motherboard producer’s site rather. You can likewise head to Nvidia, AMD, or Intel’s site for graphics motorists, though Windows set up the non-generic variations for me without my intervention.

Lastly, if you wish to keep things tidy, you can uninstall the old motorists left on your system by looking for “Add or Remove Programs” from the Start menu. For graphics motorists, you might wish to utilize a tool like DDU(Opens in a brand-new window) to actually clean them out.

For whatever else, browse the Start menu for Gadget Supervisor in the Control board, click View > Program Hidden Gadget, and right-click gadgets you no longer usage to uninstall their motorists.

Re-Activate Windows

reactivate windows

There’s one last drawback to this procedure: when you toss your drive into a brand-new computer system, Windows will acknowledge that the hardware has actually altered, and possibly—depending upon the kind of license you have—de-activate itself.

If this setup is short-term, and you’re just utilizing it to get a couple of things off your old PC, you do not require to fret about activation—Windows ought to keep working as typical, with an activation watermark in the corner and a couple of functions handicapped. If you intend on utilizing this setup completely, however, you need to re-activate Windows.

You can attempt getting in the very same item secret you utilized prior to, however this might stop working if you have an OEM license that isn’t indicated to move to brand-new hardware. I advise attempting the activate-by-phone choice, however, as in some cases that will prosper when online activation stops working.

Once again, this entire thing is not a sure-fire procedure—there are lots of small things that might journey things up, so you might need to do a bit of repairing if something does not work correctly. And even then, there’s no warranty you’ll be getting ideal efficiency if the system isn’t set up correctly for your brand-new hardware.

If you can put in the time, a tidy set up is best—however when you require to get up and running today, it’s great to understand Windows 10 has structured the procedure enough to make it functional.

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