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I recently decided that I wanted to make some changes to my computer, which included replacing an hdd (not what the os is on, thats on an ssd) and adding in a new m.2 drive. Before doing anything, I reset my entire pc so it was completely bare bones besides the os. I also made sure the hdd that I wanted to put in the system to replace the old one was working. Then, I made the upgrades.

Here comes the important part. The m.2 ssd that I was going to put in my system was from a dell laptop, which also had an os on it. I figured I could just wipe the drive once I boot from my ssd. When I went to turn on the pc, it loaded with the windows os from the laptop. No big deal, right? I could just change the boot priorities to select my ssd first. However, when I did this, the windows boot console gave me an error saying that I hadnt selected a valid boot drive something or other. I messed around with it a little more to the point where I got to a blue screen that said something along the lines of “seems like there is something wrong with the operating system” and it gave me a list of options. I navigated to one that would erase all drives and reinstall windows.

This wasn’t a big deal because I figured it would either go on to the ssd, where I intended it to go, or on the m.2, a fast drive for fast boots. However, when I finally launched into windows, something was off. Windows downloaded to the m.2. I was fine with that but there seemed to be some issues. The first issue I noticed was that windows wasnt detecting my 2nd monitor. I figured that a driver update would do the trick. Then I noticed that I had some dell bloatware and applications for a touch screen, webcam, etc on my computer. Delete them and be fine, although I didn’t want to do this. The 3rd issue was, while looking at the computer name, it was a “Dell Inspirion...”

Of course everything is off about this, and this also means that the previous copy of windows on my ssd is no longer there. Does anyone know of a way to get the key back to install windows? Are there any other solutions to this?

Specs:
CPU - AMD Ryzen 5 1600
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3
RAM - Gskill Ripjaws V 8gb (2x4)
GPU - MSI GTX 1060 Armor 6gb
SSD - Kingston A400 120gb
M.2 - Adata 256gb
HDD - Seagate Barracuda 1.5tb
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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When you say this do you mean that I have to boot windows off of a flash drive and reinstall it that way?
Exactly this. Full wipe and reinstall.

Additionally, the Windows license that came with the laptop may not transfer to a new custom desktop.
 
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Yes, you need to do a full wipe and reinstall of everything on that drive.
There is currently nothing but the os on the drive and that was after a wipe. However, the bloatware and extra apps were still present. The other 2 drives are completely empty. When you say this do you mean that I have to boot windows off of a flash drive and reinstall it that way?

My main issue is that I lost the os that I wanted to use and it has the apps that I dont want.
 

USAFRet

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When you say this do you mean that I have to boot windows off of a flash drive and reinstall it that way?
Exactly this. Full wipe and reinstall.

Additionally, the Windows license that came with the laptop may not transfer to a new custom desktop.
 
Try removing the M.2 ssd and your system should boot from the original drive. After that, you may need to to purchase an exterior M.2 enclosure to wipe the drive so you can use it. Once Windows decides it wants to boot from a particular drive, it will likely not allow you to boot from another drive unless you remove the drive you don't want to boot from.
 
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Try removing the M.2 ssd and your system should boot from the original drive. After that, you may need to to purchase an exterior M.2 enclosure to wipe the drive so you can use it.
I’ll be sure to try that. However, there is no longer any windows install on the ssd because I wiped it, so I’m not sure that’ll work.
 
I’ll be sure to try that. However, there is no longer any windows install on the ssd because I wiped it, so I’m not sure that’ll work.
It sounds like you really don't know what happened. Usually windows will only wipe a drive it is installing windows on, and it seems questionable what actually happened. If possible boot windows and post a print screen of your disk manager.
 
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You must not have completely wiped and reinstalled windows properly. You probably clicked an incorrect option in the installer.

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/how-to-do-clean-installation-windows-10,36160.html
Follow this and make sure to select custom installation and delete all partitions.
I wasn’t installing off of a flash drive or anything like that. Windows was already on the m.2, and all I did was delete all files and reinstall windows. However, I didn’t want the windows that was previously on the laptop because its oem and has the extra applications. I’m just trying to get around having to do a reinstall of windows and get another key or having to deal with the watermark. If possible, I’d like to find a way to get the os that I previously had on my ssd.
 
It doesn't work that way. Even without a fresh install, Windows will sense you took an SSD out of one machine and put it into another machine and go unactivated. Eventually, the watermark will turn up.

You MUST install windows fresh using the steps in that link.
 

USAFRet

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I wasn’t installing off of a flash drive or anything like that. Windows was already on the m.2, and all I did was delete all files and reinstall windows. However, I didn’t want the windows that was previously on the laptop because its oem and has the extra applications. I’m just trying to get around having to do a reinstall of windows and get another key or having to deal with the watermark. If possible, I’d like to find a way to get the os that I previously had on my ssd.
The OS license is different from the OS install.

The license belongs to the laptop, and almost certainly won't fully transfer to this new desktop.

The fresh install in this new system needs to be done, no matter what the license does.
 
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It sounds like you really don't know what happened. Usually windows will only wipe a drive it is installing windows on, and it seems questionable what actually happened. If possible boot windows and post a print screen of your disk manager.
I did select the option to erase all drives (in retrospect, I probably shouldnt have). I did this because I didn’t think it would install the windows that the m.2 had on it because I didnt have that listed as a boot option.

View: https://imgur.com/a/hUQyfSf

Here is the disk manager
 
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The OS license is different from the OS install.

The license belongs to the laptop, and almost certainly won't fully transfer to this new desktop.

The fresh install in this new system needs to be done, no matter what the license does.
So now that the windows I had on the other ssd (not laptop one) is gone, there’s no way to get it back? If I understand what you are saying correctly, then I had the license to the windows install on the original ssd ans i had it installed on the ssd. Now it has been deleted as an install, but I still own that windows copy license. I do not want the os from the laptop.
 
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So now that the windows I had on the other ssd (not laptop one) is gone, there’s no way to get it back? If I understand what you are saying correctly, then I had the license to the windows install on the original ssd ans i had it installed on the ssd. Now it has been deleted as an install, but I still own that windows copy license. I do not want the os from the laptop.
I think my wording was off there. So it will deactivate because it saw that there was windows on 2 drives, right? Is there a way to get my product key or the os that I had on my computer before adding the m.2? Or will I need to purchase another copy of windows/just handle the watermark?
 

USAFRet

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It will 'deactivate' because it is in a different system.

There are certain conditions where a Windows license (NOT the install) may be transferred to different hardware.
An OS preinstalled on a laptop, going to a new custom desktop is not one of those conditinos.
 
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It will 'deactivate' because it is in a different system.

There are certain conditions where a Windows license (NOT the install) may be transferred to different hardware.
An OS preinstalled on a laptop, going to a new custom desktop is not one of those conditinos.
It wasnt my intent to keep the laptop os. Before adding the m.2, I already had windows on my system. That is the license I intended to use, not the one from the laptop.
 
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If you're seeing reference to the laptop OS, then you are somehow booting from that drive.
Right, I don’t know what caused that but there isnt anything on any of my other drives now to boot off of. If I were to do a fresh install of windows via usb flash drive, would I be able to use the license key from the previous os that I had on my system before all the mishaps?

If the answer is yes, where could I find the license key again, if possible? Would it be connected with a microsoft account?
 

USAFRet

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Right, I don’t know what caused that but there isnt anything on any of my other drives now to boot off of. If I were to do a fresh install of windows via usb flash drive, would I be able to use the license key from the previous os that I had on my system before all the mishaps?

If the answer is yes, where could I find the license key again, if possible? Would it be connected with a microsoft account?
Where did this license come from?
Disconnect ALL drives except the one you have the OS on.
Boot up
Does it boot correctly?
Does it show any trace of "laptop"?
 
If I were to do a fresh install of windows via usb flash drive, would I be able to use the license key from the previous os that I had on my system before all the mishaps?
This has already been explained.

When you put your SSD into the new system, windows sensed the hardware change and went unactivated. It will be unactivated whether you reinstall OS or not.
 
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Where did this license come from?
Disconnect ALL drives except the one you have the OS on.
Boot up
Does it boot correctly?
Does it show any trace of "laptop"?
I bought this license.
Booted perfectly with the same laptop-like qualities as befoee.
 

USAFRet

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Correct. With all the other files wiped from all drives, including that one. So only the OS.
"All other files" leaves the OS, hence the laptop identification.

As said early on...this needs a full wipe and reinstall, then apply whatever license you have.

 
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"All other files" leaves the OS, hence the laptop identification.

As said early on...this needs a full wipe and reinstall, then apply whatever license you have.

Forgive me for all the confusion. I do plan on doing this. However, as its been many years since I’ve purchased the lisence, I no longer have the code required. As I’ve asked before, is there any way to find this info?
 

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