Two computers with activated Windows 10 - swap hard drives?

Discussion in 'Windows 10' started by Hellberg, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. Hellberg

    Hellberg MDL Novice

    Dec 8, 2016

    I have two different computers, both with Windows 10 Pro installed. One was upgraded from a retail upgrade version of windows 8.1 and the other one was upgraded from an OEM Windows 7 license.

    Now I need to swap the main harddrives between these two computers and I'm not sure if I can do that without having activation problems with Windows. Has anyone here done something like this?

    I'm guessing since both machines are activated and has a licensed tied to the hardware, they should both be able to activate after changing the harddrives. But I'm not really sure.

    It would be nice of course if I can keep the installed windows with programs and everything on each computer after swapping the harddrives, but I'm guessing that Windows might not want to run properly when the installation is booted on different hardware, so I'm prepared that I might need to reinstall both machines anyway.

    Do I need to deactivate and/or uninstall the product key somehow before changing the harddrives? Since the product key installed on harddrive A is tied to computer A and the harddrive will now be moved to computer B, and vice versa.

    Not sure if I'm making any sense at all here, but I would be very happy if anyone has any ideas on how to make this switch as smooth as possible.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. 2hot6ft2

    2hot6ft2 MDL Novice

    Nov 18, 2016
    If you have an external drive or network location with 80+GB of free space here's what I would do to be safe.

    Create 2 folders 1 for each pc on the drive for backups. Go to Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and select "Create a system image" save it to the drive. You may want to create the repair disc if you haven't already. Then MOVE the image to the correct folder. Do the same for the other pc.

    You can only have 1 image on the drives root otherwise the next 1 will overwrite it so you must move the first 1 into a folder to protect it.

    Swap the drives then restore the correct image to the correct pc. The drives are swapped but each pc has the apps and drivers it had before the swap.

    If you have 2 external drives you could cut the time in half by just leaving them connected to the same pc they save from/restore to. Time involved with 1 drive ~ 2hrs. Time with 2 drives ~ 1hr. Not counting the drive swapping time.

    Plus you have backup images of each pc just in case for later.
  3. Enthousiast

    Enthousiast MDL Tester

    Oct 30, 2009
    Both should have the same key if they have the same win 10 edition (ending on 3V66T), but it's not about the key, it's about the Hardware, why don't you just try and see what happens?

    In general I would never advise to use a drive with a windows install on it on other hardware, i always do a fresh install.