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How to use old hard drive with OS on new PC?

I'm reusing my old hard drive in my new build, the donor PC was a pre-built, so I don't have a windows key. Is it just plug and play, or do I need to do anything before taking it out the donor PC? Is this even possible?

Money is very tight right now so I'd rather not buy a windows key.
Reply to infectedp0tato
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  1. Best answer
    not a good idea for a few reasons.
    1. the prebuilt license is locked to that mobo.
    2. you need to remove references to the old hardware before moving, it's not guarenteed to work.

    you can however just use the win 10 download from ms, without inputting a key, and it'll be slightly limited, and then buy license later
    Reply to 13thmonkey
  2. The pre-installed versions (which the vendor of your PC paid less for than a full retail version) can't be moved. As far as Windows is concerned, your PC is your motherboard (for the most part, I'm not sure that's strictly true), so you could upgrade a lot of components but if it's on a new motherboard that's a new computer to it. If you have a full retail license you can reactivate it pretty easily on a new PC as you're allowed to move it.

    If this leaves you high and dry, you can always use a free OS like Linux Ubuntu, but that won't be a great solution if you use Windows for gaming or need Windows-only software for work, but you'll have a working PC until you save some more money. Still, you can play some Windows games and use some Windows software on Linux systems using WINE, but if it's work-critical I wouldn't rely on it.
    Reply to usr1235
  3. infectedp0tato said:
    I'm reusing my old hard drive in my new build, the donor PC was a pre-built, so I don't have a windows key. Is it just plug and play, or do I need to do anything before taking it out the donor PC? Is this even possible?

    Money is very tight right now so I'd rather not buy a windows key.


    1. When you refer to a "donor PC", are you referring to an OEM machine?

    2. Is your "new build" a self-built" PC with non-proprietary components? Or is it another OEM PC?
    Reply to ArtPog
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