Solved How do I run windows from an external HDD?

March 16, 2019 at 18:32:14
Specs: Windows 10
Hi I have an HDD that I took out from a laptop that died recently. The HDD has lots of important software on it with much data.I have put this HDD in an external case that connects to my new laptop with a 3.0 usb. The HDD shows up as an external but I want to know is there a way I can make this a bootable drive where once I plug it in, it can turn into the windows that used to load up on my old laptop?

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✔ Best Answer
March 16, 2019 at 21:47:56
Yes, you can transfer files between computers but software needs to be installed so you are going to have to have or get the installers for each one. Once installed, you can possibly get some of its history by copying the appropriate folder over from one machine to the other but which folder will depend on the program. You will probably have to get in touch with their tech support or their community of users. Saved files in many non-game programs are typically in the Documents Folders. Game levels, statistics, etc. are in their folders like many programs.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.



#1
March 16, 2019 at 19:05:35
"The HDD has lots of important software on it with much data"
Put all of that onto your new laptop, before trying anything else.

"I can make this a bootable drive"
It will already be bootable, but it will probably not boot, particularly if it is W8 or earlier.

To test, you must remove the drive out of the new laptop.

message edited by Johnw


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#2
March 16, 2019 at 19:05:48
There are two issues here:

Windows activation ( the 'Key") is tied to the motherboard (and associated hardware) used to install the OS. Thus you can't take a drive from one computer and get it to boot up in another; even via a usb connection.

The hardware profile of the computer is part of the setup and is checked when the disk boots up. If what was there when the OS was installed has changed to whatever degree - then it won't boot up.

The best you can do is access the drive (via usb connection) and copy the data from it to wherever.

A long shot - and it is just that... - a possible windows repair install "might" work; but the installation would have to be re-activated as the hardware profile in the new computer will be radically different from the old laptop.

Unfortunately however - it's quite likely that the old laptop had an OEM installation.. and that is tied to that computer; which means that windows key won't work on another system. You can't transfer/use an OEM key from one computer to/on another. Only Retail windows installation keys are allowed for that.

In the early days of the NT family - NT3x/4x and I think even Win 2000 - one could take a drive from one computer and put in another and with a little work get it to boot up; and "legally" so.

There was time when one could have two installations of windows (XP onwards) using the same key on two different computers. One would be designated as the desktop and the other a laptop. Although frequently both were of course laptops... M$ allowed that - at least for XP and win-7; not sure about win-8x. Whether or not that's allowed with win-10???

I know that was the case with win-7 as I made use of it a couple of times. I think I used an OEM key on one occasion; certainly a retail key on another.

message edited by trvlr


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#3
March 16, 2019 at 20:08:21
Thank you so much for the detailed reply it helped me understand the issue better. So you are right the windows from the old laptop was OEM "windows 10", originally upgraded from windows 7 I believe. The other issue is that the old HDD was a 2TB HDD this laptop came with a 1TB. I was hoping to be able to just boot the old HDD like a windows but seems like that might not be possible. I originally thought about cloning the HDD to the new one but it won't work Firstly because the old HDD is bigger and Secondly because I don't want to lose all the newer software and OS newer version of Windows 10 that it came with.
So I guess you are saying that it's better for me to just transfer software from one the old HDD to the newer one huh? Thank you so much for your reply.

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#4
March 16, 2019 at 20:13:46
"So I guess you are saying that it's better for me to just transfer software"
No that will not work.
All software will have to be reinstalled.

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#5
March 16, 2019 at 21:47:56
✔ Best Answer
Yes, you can transfer files between computers but software needs to be installed so you are going to have to have or get the installers for each one. Once installed, you can possibly get some of its history by copying the appropriate folder over from one machine to the other but which folder will depend on the program. You will probably have to get in touch with their tech support or their community of users. Saved files in many non-game programs are typically in the Documents Folders. Game levels, statistics, etc. are in their folders like many programs.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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