Re-using laptop hard drive on new desktop

Hi, I recently put together a new desktop but forgot to purchase a harddrive, so I took out the harddrive from my laptop and was planning to use it for the desktop (temporarily). I read on other posts that the OS (windows 7 in my case) is tied to the motherboard that it is originally installed on; therefore, when I turn on my new desktop it doesnt exactly boot up, but stops at the start screen.

I was wondering if there is a way to install windows 7 where it will replace the previous windows 7, but not harm any of my personal files in the hard drive.
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    1. You'll have to buy a new OS copy in any case. The OEM key from your laptop will not work in the desktop.

    2. Reinstalling Windows may keep all your personal data, but it is always advisable to save it elsewhere, just in case. Either the install gets screwed up, or you selected the wrong option, or any of a number of other conditions.
    Then you'll be back in here, asking how to "find your personal data after a drive format and Windows installation". That is not an uncommon question in here.

    Save your stuff elsewhere first.

    But rather than screw up the laptop drive, just wait until you get an actual drive for the new desktop.
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