How to transfer an OS from an old hard drive to a new pc build?

So I have a new pc build, this time with a 120gb samsung evo SSD and a 1tb WD Blue. I have an old hard drive from my last build that has a copy of windows 7 on it, but I don't know how to get it to my SSD. Would it be as simple as plugging it in my new build and copy and pasting the OS to my SSD and then throwing my new hard drive in? I have the product key for the copy of windows and everything. Or would I download the ISO onto my laptop and put it on a flash drive and boot from the flash drive through my bios? Sorry I haven't ever had to do this before. Thanks for the help!
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  1. Best answer
    Get the relevant ISO here:

    Burn to DVD or flash drive, boot, and install.
    Activate with your current key.
  2. A few things up front:
    1) Windows OEM (which is what most builders use) is not legally transferrable to a new box as it is tied to your old computer. That said, MS is extremely liberal about what is considered a new computer vs what is considered upgrading an old computer for home builders, so at the end of the day, so long as you only have one computer with your liscence of windows on it, it should be a simple call to MS to validate your 'new' build.
    2) Windows Retail is transferable to a new box.

    Now... as far as transferring the OS to a new build...
    There are ways to do it, but it is not suggested. Software such as Acronis can do it with a fair amount of success, or you can use tools like sysprep built into Windows which can prep your computer for major hardware changes.
    However, every time I have done this I have ended up with performance issues when moving to new hardware and have ended up doing a fresh install every single time. Now, whenever moving to a new motherboard I simply do a full fresh install of OS and programs and simply transfer my documents over.
  3. It's not as simple as copying and pasting everything, as there is lots of hidden stuff windows does when you install it. And since you're doing a hardware change, windows will freak the f--- out when it sees you have a new motherboard and it wasn't properly installed.
    You CAN do a reinstall of windows and just enter your product key though.
    Like what USAFRet said to do.
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