How do you transfer an OEM licensed Windows copy from an HDD to an SSD?

I would like to buy an SSD for my system based on the recommendations of seemingly everyone, but the problem is that I have an OEM copy of Windows currently on my HDD and I'm not sure how to go about the transfer to an SSD. And would I be correct in assuming that there is no way to keep my installed games and programs installed during this transfer?
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  1. if the only thing you are swapping out is your HDD to SSD, then you should be able to install Windows fresh on your SSD and then enter in your OEM license when prompted for a product key.

    It's possible to keep all your installed games and programs on your old HDD and they will work fine, the only difference will be that the registry entries will be missing since they were not properly installed on your new OS, so you'll have to manually open them.
  2. With windows 7 OEM the license is tied to the first motherboard it's installed on.With Windows 8.1 you can move it to another build when you are done with this one , but only one computer at a time.With Windows 8.1 you can change all the hardware you want including the motherboard.

    OEM versions of Windows 7 are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:

    - OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel

    - OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on

    - OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard

    - OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system ^

    OEM vs. Retail

    OEM Windows 7 comes preinstalled on computers. This is the cheapest way to buy windows. Large PC manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. (collectively called royalty OEMs) install windows on millions of such PCs. The main characteristics of such systems are:

    The license agreement and support agreement is between you and the PC maker, not MS.

    Activation by the end user is not required. Windows is preactivated at the factory by the OEM using images and standard SLP keys.

    Your copy of windows is locked to that PC. The license is not transferable.

    OEM system builder is what you get when you buy from say Newegg or from a local "white box" vendor. It too has the characteristics of Royalty OEM windows. Although it is possible for an individual to buy a System Builder copy, the license requires that the software be installed using the OPK (OEM preinstall kit) and then resold.

    Retail version is what you buy from a retailer like Amazon or Bestbuy. Its a full price version that comes packaged in a retail box with a retail product key. It has to be activated online via MS servers using the key on the box, it is not tied to the PC it was first installed on, though it can only be used on a single computer at a time. And, MS directly provides the support for it. It is also more expensive than OEM copies.

    As far as functionality is concerned, theres no difference between any of the versions above, given any specific edition (i.e. between OEM pro and retail pro, or between OEM ultimate and retail ultimate).

    Windows 8 is a whole different ballgame.

    License agreement for the transfer of a Windows 8 license
  3. It is best to re-install on a SSD since they are handled differently by the OS. It helps to prevent problems.
  4. I have three computers in my home office - two desktops and a laptop. I installed Microsoft Window 7 Pro 64 OEM on all three pc's. I used the same installation disc for all three pc's. Each pc had a different motherboard. I was able to activate the OS without any problems of any kind. I've also done four data storage upgrades to my personal pc - hard disk to Kingston SSDNow 200, to Samsung 470, to Samsung 830, to Samsung 840 EVO. Each time I did a fresh clean install using the same installation disc. I did not experience any problems activating the OS. Finally, I've done a couple of "secure erases" and fresh clean installs using the same installation disc. Again, activation was not a problem.

    Three months ago I decide to upgrade my personal pc. The upgrade included a new motherboard, cpu, memory, and ssd. I used the same installation disc. Microsoft would not activate the OS. I had to purchase a new installation disc. Looks like I'm good to go for two more motherboard upgrades.

    I just read Microsoft's policy for Windows 8 and 8.1. Things have changed quite a bit.
  5. I am aware that I can reinstall from scratch on an SSD and it seems that it is the most reliable option, but I was honestly looking for a short cut so I didn't have to reinstall all my programs.

    If I do reinstall on my SSD, is it necessary to reformat my HDD to remove windows from it?

    Oh and ps, I am rocking windows 7.
  6. Best answer
    If I do reinstall on my SSD, is it necessary to reformat my HDD to remove windows from it? Yes
  7. Well it seems my hopes of an easier method of transfer have been crushed. I suppose I'll have to take out my good ol back-up drive when I get the SSD.
  8. It's the best way to proceed to avoid issues.
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