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How to move your Windows drive to a new PC



Need to migrate your Windows installation to a new PC? It's technically possible, and Windows 10 streamlines the process, but there are reservations.

Buying a new computer can be fun until you have to migrate all your old apps, settings, and files. Would not it be easier if you could simply plug your old hard drive into the new PC and continue from where you left off? It is technically possible, although there are some limitations.

Under Windows 7, this was less durable. This has led to driver conflicts, especially with lower hardware such as the SATA controller of your hard drive. As a result, a computer screen often displays a blue screen so that you do not even get to the desktop.

Sometimes Microsoft's Sysprep tool could help, but it was not intended for that purpose, and it came with many reservations of its own. You were almost always better off doing a reinstall.

Windows 8 and 1

0, on the other hand, can handle these conflicts much better. When you install an existing Windows installation on a new PC, the initial setup is done as if it were a new computer. You can get drivers for your new hardware and, hopefully, transfer them to the desktop without too much trouble.

] You need to do some things yourself, but on the whole it should work – I moved my drive from an AMD-based computer to an Intel / Nvidia machine without any problems. Windows Update could even download new patches.

That does not mean that you will not have any problems. This can vary from PC to PC, and you never know which driver conflicts or performance issues can occur below the surface of a seemingly error-free setup.

Overall, though, if you permanently migrate to a new machine, I would recommend doing a clean install, but if you need something quick and dirty – like if your old PC goes down and you need to access some data from your old installation – you should this work well enough.


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