Upgrading old HDD to new HDD and SSD: Windows 7 license key and other questions

Hey all, I'm upgrading my old HDD to a new HDD and SSD. I want to put Windows 7 OS and my most played games on the SSD. I have a couple of questions that I would appreciate some feedback on:

1. I'm reinstalling windows on the new SSD with a box copy (retail?) version of Windows 7. When I rebuilt my computer and got a new motherboard (but kept the same HDD) I had to buy another license key for Windows. If I reinstall Windows on the SSD with the same motherboard, am I going to have to purchase a new Windows 7 license key?

2. Is there an easy way to move all other applications/programs (besides OS) from my old HDD to the new one? I read reinstalling the OS on the SSD is healthier, but I'm really hesitant about having to reinstall all other programs, applications, game addons and configurations all over again. At the same time, I don't want to risk errors or slow performance if transferring creates suboptimal or inefficient conditions. I don't know much about transferring between drives at all so I could really use some help here.

3. What size SSD do I need? Again, planning on only using it for Windows 7 OS and games like WoW, Skyrim, Diablo 3, and Bioshock Infinite. I would like to keep the price as low as possible without cutting myself short, so I was wondering what the "sweet spot" was.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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  1. 1. Same motherboard, you're fine

    2. Not really. Once an application is installed, parts of it exist in the OS. Attempting to move it to another drive will cause all sorts of issues.
    Games? Steam games can maybe/probably be moved around Look up SteamMover.

    3. 120 or 256GB
  2. 1: if you had a retail copy of win7 before the new motherboard then you didnt have to buy a new license in the first place. Retail is allowed to reinstall on a new motherbd but OEM isn't.

    2: yes but its not free. Its "Migrate OS to SSD" by Paragon Software.
    This will move the OS to the SSD leaving everything else behind and still working without needing to be reinstalled.

    3: Dunno. Most of my SSD's are small (OS only) or big - so I will defer to USAF

    But as always, before messing with your drives make sure you have important files backed up
  3. Hmm, all I know is that when I tried installing my old copy of windows when I built a new computer with a new mobo it said the key had already been used and I had to buy another one... now I'm not sure where the "new key" is and I'm concerned I'm going to have to buy another one if I didn't write it down somewhere.

    Popatim, do some SSDs come with transfer software like that? Is that a optimal option or will moving the OS instead of doing a clean install give me suboptimal performance?
  4. Also, 120 and 250 are the sizes I'm trying to choose between. I'm pretty confident I want Samsung, but I'm having trouble deciding between 250 EVO, 128 Pro, or 120 EVO.

    If I decide I definitely need 250 GB, then the decision is obviously made. Especially if SSDs get slower the closer they are to full capacity. But if 120 is enough then I'm trying to decide between Pro and EVO, which I'm not sure Pro will be actually faster even though it shows in benchmarks.

    Just want to be careful abotu the decisions I'm making before I drop money into my system just to break it :D
  5. Quote:
    now I'm not sure where the "new key" is and I'm concerned I'm going to have to buy another one if I didn't write it down somewhere.

    D/L and install "Belarc Advisor" and it will provide you with all of your product keys and serial numbers for Windows OS and installed programs.

  6. Best answer
    The evo is not noticeably slower than the pro from a users perspective but the pro has a much better warranty. (5yr vs the evo's 3)

    Personally I would go with a 256. Once you subtract formatting and overprovisioning losses you will have about 200gb to use.

    as for migrating the OS, that is the only program I know of; its $20 but often you can find a code online for another $5 off.

    All SSD's come with cloning software but they cannot separate the OS from the rest of the stuff so you will have to uninstall things until whats left on the hdd is small enough to fit on the ssd. (keep the losses I mentioned in mind)

    And as I always recommend, make sure you have a recent backup done before you begin messing with your drives; at least of the important files like family pics, tax documents...
  7. Yogi: thanks for the tip about Belarc, that's very useful to getting my Windows key :)

    Ok I think my current plan of action is to buy a new 1 TB HDD and either the 250 or 120 Samsung EVO (definitely leaning to the 250 after I convince myself it's not overkill), get product and OS keys with Belarc, backup important files from my old HDD, remove it, put in the SSD, install Windows 7 and update it, set BIOS to boot from SSD, put new HDD and backup drive in, move files I want to HDD, then reinstall games on SSD.

    Am I missing anything? Also, what is setting BIOS to ACHI and is that something I need to do?

    Note: Probably not using my old HDD just because it's aged and seems risky.
  8. The cloning software is intriguing, but I honestly don't have THAT much on my computer to clone, seems cleaner to just save data and clean install everything else.
  9. Looks good. If I were buying today, I'd definitely get a 250GB drive instead of a 128.
  10. Grr didn't get that edit in in time,

    What is setting BIOS to ACHI and is that something I need to do?
  11. Bast said:
    Grr didn't get that edit in in time,

    What is setting BIOS to ACHI and is that something I need to do?

    Yes, most definitely!

    Look under your SATA settings in BIOS, and it is AHCI.

  12. Thanks everybody for the help :) I'd pick all as answers if I could! Great info, cheers.
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