Question How do you move existing SATA SSD with Win10 and all programs to new PC build?

Jan 7, 2022
15
2
15
0
Hello all. I am new here and want to say thank you ahead of time. I am preparing to build my first PC. I have an existing custom build, done by a local PC shop from Circa 2014. It is currently running Win 10 with all updates. The setup is a SATA SSD of 128GB (drive C), which contains the OS and all the program files that have been installed over the years. Much of this stuff would be hard to rebuild and find again I would think. Not to mention a ton of work and setup. I have a second 1TB SATA HDD (drive E) that I keep all my regular files on, such as pictures and word documents.

My new system is planned to be an I5-12600K based setup with an MSI Tomahawk Z690 MOBO. I plan on doing the same dual drive setup and was wondering how I get my existing SSD (which contains the OS and programs) over to the new PC. I have read a 100 different replies regarding this issue and there seems to be no direct path or answer (or at least one that I understand). Of note too, is that the old system started life as a Windows 7 unit with a retail copy of Win 7 that I still have to this day (including the product key). A few years back, when I knew even less about PC's than I do now, Microsoft snuck in overnight (like they did to most) and upgraded my system without my permission. I don't know what consequences this will have as far as moving to another machine and the product key (did it keep the old key?).

Keeping in mind that I am a beginner, what is the best route to take. Also keep in mind that because the existing SSD is only 128 GB and only has about 20 GB left on it, I am going to have to ultimately get a larger SSD, but I don't want to lose my programs that I already have. I greatly appreciate anyone in the know who would generously take the time to educate me on this process. I am not clueless, but I am a beginner and work well when given very detailed instructions. Thank you in advance to any that could help.
 
Last edited:

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
153,519
10,963
175,990
24,029
How do you move existing SATA SSD with Win10 and all programs to new PC build?
Mostly, you don't.
Especially starting with an 8 year old system.

A Windows install is not modular. We'd all like it to be, but given that level of hardware change....this will not work.
 
unless you are using the exact same motherboard you cannot properly do this.
you will have serious conflicts with the previous board's already installed drivers and settings.

if your Windows 10 installation is tied to a Microsoft user account you will go through the process of contacting MS and having this license transferred to a new system.
through Settings > Update & Security > Activation you should find the necessary info to complete this task.

for your applications and settings you would need to make a list of what you have installed, make sure you have all of your serial and product registration info available, and reinstall on the new system.
 
Last edited:

punkncat

Distinguished
Ambassador
W10 activation is tied to hardware ID and/or your MS account. You can check that on MS site under "my account". When you transfer the old OS to the new system it will likely de-activate the license. Sometimes you can fix this with a call, and sometimes not.

It is inadvisable to take an operational OS disk from one system and put it inside a new system. Where it may seem to work, you would be introducing a variety of possible issues and "gremlins". Best practice is to perform a clean install to the new system and then pursue transferring OS license or procuring another.

I would suggest leaving the old system up and running, build the new one, and then dig through the old one to see what is really important for you to keep and reinstall to the new.
 
Jan 7, 2022
15
2
15
0
unless you are using the exact same motherboard you cannot properly do this.
you will have serious conflicts with the previous boards already installed drivers and settings.

if your Windows 10 installation is tied to a Microsoft user account you will go through the process of contacting MS and having this license transferred to a new system.
through Settings > Update & Security > Activation you should find the necessary info to complete this task.

for your applications and settings you would need to make a list of what you have installed, make sure you have all of your serial and product registration info available, and reinstall on the new system.
I probably should have clarified that the actual Windows 10 transfer is the least important of all. What is really important is the program files. Things like Microsoft Money (which is not available anymore, but works great), all my various security cam apps, etc. I would spring for a new copy of Win 10, but is there a way then to just do the programs?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
153,519
10,963
175,990
24,029
I probably should have clarified that the actual Windows 10 transfer is the least important of all. What is really important is the program files. Things like Microsoft Money (which is not available anymore, but works great), all my various security cam apps, etc. I would spring for a new copy of Win 10, but is there a way then to just do the programs?
And those will need to be reinstalled.
Can't transfer the vast majority of applications between systems and OSs.

Document all the settings, save/export whatever data is needed (MSMoney).
Import that data (not the application) into the new system and its newly installed applications.
 

punkncat

Distinguished
Ambassador
I probably should have clarified that the actual Windows 10 transfer is the least important of all. What is really important is the program files. Things like Microsoft Money (which is not available anymore, but works great), all my various security cam apps, etc. I would spring for a new copy of Win 10, but is there a way then to just do the programs?
Not without the installer .exe, and even then if it was an old, discontinued program it likely wouldn't install anyway.
 
too many applications use specific registry entries, system and user files that can be randomly placed all over the OS system partition, and specific drivers installed into the OS.
this would be possible for some simple portable programs and others but the majority will not function properly, if at all.
 
Here's a crazy idea: It seem you will have both systems available, so you can afford to "play" with the new setup.
  • Download Microsoft' "Disk2VHD" app, and make an image copy of your system' old drive;
  • On your new system: Install Windows Pro, and Hyper-V. If you're lucky, you'll be able to start thatVHD file on the new system as a virtual machine. It will go unactivated, and it is up to you whether ti reactuvate. Once that VM is alive - uninstall all apps you can reinstall on the new PC, all hardare apps etc.
  • Whenever you need MS Money - fire up that VM.
I did that twice in last couple of weeks, one 11-year old Dell (I7-920) went into ProxMox, another generic box (I3-xxx) went to Hyper-V - I really need that Delphi 2006...
 
Reactions: einheriar

Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
Here's a crazy idea: It seem you will have both systems available, so you can afford to "play" with the new setup.
  • Download Microsoft' "Disk2VHD" app, and make an image copy of your system' old drive;
  • On your new system: Install Windows Pro, and Hyper-V. If you're lucky, you'll be able to start thatVHD file on the new system as a virtual machine. It will go unactivated, and it is up to you whether ti reactuvate. Once that VM is alive - uninstall all apps you can reinstall on the new PC, all hardare apps etc.
  • Whenever you need MS Money - fire up that VM.
I did that twice in last couple of weeks, one 11-year old Dell (I7-920) went into ProxMox, another generic box (I3-xxx) went to Hyper-V - I really need that Delphi 2006...
This is a good idea, VM is best choice really :)
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY