Do I have to clone or will windows activate new SSD on it's own

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by 0blivious, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. 0blivious

    0blivious Ancient Guru

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    I just bought a laptop with a 256gb nvme. I plan to upgrade it to 1tb sometime. Do I have to clone the drive?

    ....or can I just swap a new, bare drive into the laptop (replacing original drive) and install a vanilla copy of Windows 10 Home (fresh from microsoft) from a USB port? Then once online, windows will see my laptop and re-activate automatically?

    Seems to work that way with previously activated desktop motherboards. I'm hoping it works with laptops too.

    Laptop is a Lenovo Flex 5 14" (4500u)
     
  2. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    You likely have an OEM license that needs you to contact Microsoft for reactivation.

    However I'm not sure if changing the boot drive invalidates the activation.

    Cloning is maybe a safer bet.

    Retail licenses reactivate automatically once the system is online.
     
  3. 0blivious

    0blivious Ancient Guru

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    Sounds like cloning is the best option then. Appreciate the insight.
     
  4. tived

    tived Member

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    If you have registered your windows with Microsoft then you can just do a fresh install - been doing this for the past 10 years from Windows 7 to 10

    where I have mixed up 24 different SSD’s

    never had an issue
     

  5. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    ^ depends on the license type again. Retail licenses will reactivate regardless of hardware used but as we're talking about a laptop, it likely uses an OEM license.

    AFAIK hard drive changes don't invalidate the activation but changing boot drive might.
    Cloning the old drive may "fool" Windows into thinking nothing's changed as the clone is a bit perfect copy.

    Btw @0blivious

    if BitLocker or Secure Boot are in use, better disable them before cloning / swapping drives.
     
  6. tived

    tived Member

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    Sorry but changing hard drive and swapping boot, isn’t that one and the same thing?

    unless you have experienced issues like this before I wouldn’t worry about it.

    I bought a windows 10 pro here, for my new workstation and I have swapped my three nvme’s around multiple times to see what works the best.

    I added my new license key to my account, I even renamed the computer multiple times.

    zero issues with Microsoft

    henrik
     
  7. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    Well yeah practically is, but changing a hard drive that isn't a boot drive surely wouldn't matter.

    You bought is the key word = retail license.

    When Windows comes preinstalled in a laptop = OEM license.

    However even in the "worst" case OP just needs to contact MS for reactivation.
     
  8. mbk1969

    mbk1969 Ancient Guru

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    Question is where the key is stored - in BIOS, in files/registry, on MS server. I am no sure files/registry is still used for storing the key, but if it is then without cloning the key is lost for automatic re-activation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  9. Passus

    Passus Maha Guru

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    Is it not simply tied to the motherboard id now?

    I have swapped a few drives in laptops and they activate no problem.

    changing a motherboard will result in no key but if you contact microsoft they will help you out and even give you a new key if it is needed
     
  10. K.S.

    K.S. Ancient Guru

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    Depends if it was a Digital License or not. If not and you know your product key code (it would have came with the laptop) then you're ok not to clone. If it didn't come with that code and was a Digital License, clone it using a duplicator app (diff from "imaging/copying") (MiniTool ShadowMaker works really well)
     

  11. tsunami231

    tsunami231 Ancient Guru

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    if it pre build pc/laptop is stored in the bios for most part, atlest to my knowledge. custom build system are usual not depending on the person building it or company?

    my thoughts are one can clone the disk make sure it active, then you can format, clean install windows, I have done that before with oem keys in windows 10 not sure if it still works it been more then year since i last did that.
     

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