[SOLVED] If I put a cloned HDD in a different system, what will happen?

Wheel in the Sky

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I have 2 systems: "Old Computer" and "Older Prebuilt Computer." They each have only 1 hard drive disk as the storage. They each have their own Windows. Older Prebuilt Computer was a bought at Best Buy in '09, and still runs the original Windows 7. Old Computer is one I built in 2013, and has Windows 7 upgraded to Windows 10 when that free upgrade appeared in our task bars.

What would happen if I...
  1. Cloned the HDD of Old Computer on a spare HDD.
  2. Unplugged the HDD of Older Prebuilt Computer...
  3. And put the clone in its place, then tried to boot! :eek:
I've heard whispers of Windows having issues with hardware changing around the drive the OS is on. Could I boot the clone on Older Prebuilt Computer? I'm guessing not, so I want to know what kind of trouble this would put me in. Does it lock down the clone, so I couldn't even boot Old Computer with the clone? Does it lock down that entire Windows 10, so Old Computer wouldn't even work now? Would I be able to put Older Prebuilt Computer's proper HDD back in and have it function as usual?
 

USAFRet

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Has nothing to do with an internet connection and/or talking to Microsoft. This is all between the OS and the relevant hardware.
The only thing MS gets involved with is the licensing/activation. Which is a whole other consideration.

Building a new PC?
A clean install is strongly recommended, often required.

Yes, there is a bit of brain pain in a reinstall of all your applications. But the current settings for many things can be exported, or found and copied over to the new system.
Browsers in particular, have an export/import feature. All your current settings, etc. Procedures vary among the different browsers.

For your applications? IDE and vid editor? You'll just have to look around and see. Don't blindly copy whole folders from 'Program Files'. That way leads to tears.
 

USAFRet

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Moving a cloned drive to a new system is exactly the same as moving the original source drive to the new system.

3 possible outcomes:
  1. It boots up just fine
  2. It fails completely
  3. It boots up, but you're chasing issues for weeks.
Given that one of these is a 10 year old WorstBuy system...#2 is likely.
 

Wheel in the Sky

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Moving a cloned drive to a new system is exactly the same as moving the original source drive to the new system.

3 possible outcomes:
  1. It boots up just fine
  2. It fails completely
  3. It boots up, but you're chasing issues for weeks.
Given that one of these is a 10 year old WorstBuy system...#2 is likely.
But it never disables the operating system or anything?
 

Wheel in the Sky

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It might. I've seen reports of it trying to boot up in the new system, failing, and then hosing up the install so bad it fails to boot up when placed back in the original system.
People here have reported exactly that.
Well crap. What it if I had no internet connection on Older Prebuilt Computer? Would I be safe from Microsoft disabling stuff, or is it in the copy of Windows itself?


I'm still unclear exactly what you're wanting to do here.

2 (old) systems, each with an OS.
What are you wanting to swap around?
It's a hypothetical to help me understand what I can and can't do with Windows. For one thing, I want to change the PSU, and add a GPU to Old Computer. I'm hoping that much hardware change won't basically disable my HDD. And if that did happen, I wonder if having a clone to boot up in place of that HDD would get me back to where I was when I started, no harm done.

Also, how do you recommend going from 1 computer to a new one? Like if I built a brand new computer. I was hoping to make a clone of my current computer on a spare HDD, then boot the new computer with it, and clone that onto my new storage device, then remove that spare drive I booted from. Otherwise I would have to download all software manually on the new computer. Which isn't terrible by itself, but I'm concerned that I couldn't get things back the way I had them, like my video editor projects, the assets saved by my programming IDE software, etc. Well, maybe I could transfer relevant folders from C:/ProgramData and C:/Program Files.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
113,147
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Has nothing to do with an internet connection and/or talking to Microsoft. This is all between the OS and the relevant hardware.
The only thing MS gets involved with is the licensing/activation. Which is a whole other consideration.

Building a new PC?
A clean install is strongly recommended, often required.

Yes, there is a bit of brain pain in a reinstall of all your applications. But the current settings for many things can be exported, or found and copied over to the new system.
Browsers in particular, have an export/import feature. All your current settings, etc. Procedures vary among the different browsers.

For your applications? IDE and vid editor? You'll just have to look around and see. Don't blindly copy whole folders from 'Program Files'. That way leads to tears.
 

Wheel in the Sky

Honorable
Aug 17, 2013
78
4
10,535
0
Has nothing to do with an internet connection and/or talking to Microsoft. This is all between the OS and the relevant hardware.
The only thing MS gets involved with is the licensing/activation. Which is a whole other consideration.

Building a new PC?
A clean install is strongly recommended, often required.

Yes, there is a bit of brain pain in a reinstall of all your applications. But the current settings for many things can be exported, or found and copied over to the new system.
Browsers in particular, have an export/import feature. All your current settings, etc. Procedures vary among the different browsers.

For your applications? IDE and vid editor? You'll just have to look around and see. Don't blindly copy whole folders from 'Program Files'. That way leads to tears.
Okay, I was beginning to suspect a clean install of Windows was the way to go the more I thought about it. Just the pain of moving to new hardware, I guess. Thanks for clearing things up and addressing all my questions.
 

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