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Replace Internal PC Hard Drive & Install Fresh Windows 10?

My son's 3-year old HP flaked out yesterday while we has playing minecraft. Monitor suddenly went black with the "no signal" message briefly flashing up. I tried plugging his PC into my monitor and turned the power on, but no signal ever went to my monitor so it stayed blank. He then told me, "Oh yeah, I was seeing an "imminent hard disk failure" message pop up whenever I rebooted over the last month."

I took the PC in today to a local Microcenter and paid $42 for a full diagnostic. Assuming the hard drive is the problem, can I just purchase a new internal hard drive myself, a new copy of windows 10 on a cd, and put the cd in the computer so when it boots up it installs the new copy of windows 10? All of the software he has on the PC (steam for games, Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud) can be downloaded again and reinstalled on a new hard drive. I have a hard drive docking station which I can plug the old one into to retrieve and copy the few files he actually would want to retrieve, assuming it will even spin at all. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

So, my main question is this: is replacing the main PC internal hard drive as simple as installing a new one and having a new windows 10 install disk ready to to insert?
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More about replace internal hard drive install fresh windows
  1. Basically, if it had Windows 10 on before then just skip where is asks you for the product key and it should activate once it is installed and booted up.
  2. First of all, I'm sorry you paid $42 to go to Micro Center (great store BTW, I buy lots of stuff there). HP has a built in diagnostic that can be accessed through the BIOS and scan for hardware failures (unless the HDD is completely shot).

    With that said, yes, it is an easy process. Now if you have Windows 7 on that desktop you can upgrade it for free to Win10. You don't need to purchase an entire new copy of Win10. If you have the rescue/restore disk, it's a simple process of connect the new hard drive up then load that CD. If you do not have that disk, you can order it through HP for $25. I had to do that recently for a hard drive failure of my HP's laptop.
  3. Spectre694 said:
    Basically, if it had Windows 10 on before then just skip where is asks you for the product key and it should activate once it is installed and booted up.


    I'm not sure I was clear in my description of what I propose to do. IF the hard drive is the issue, my thought was I would buy a new internal hard drive and swap it with the dead one. So I will power up the computer with a blank hard drive and I guess whatever firmware is on the motherboard/CPU (not sure where firmware lives). I don't have a windows an original 10 disk/thumb drive, as the computer was purchased with a preinstalled windows 7. If the computer did come with a rescue disk, I can't find it and have never made one. Therefore, I have no bootable windows media or restore disk to use so I need to purchase a new windows 10 license, which apparently only comes downloadable or on a thumb drive.

    So my question still is, given the scenario of booting up the computer with a blank freshly installed hard drive, will booting up the computer with a windows 10 thumb drive inserted result in the software being successfully installed? Thanks, and my apologies if I didn't provide enough information.
  4. 10tacle said:
    HP has a built in diagnostic that can be accessed through the BIOS and scan for hardware failures (unless the HDD is completely shot).


    How can I access the diagnostic tool if nothing shows up on my computer monitor? I have no way to interact with the computer.

    Regarding your suggestion for purchasing the restore disk from HP, I have a question. If I install a new blank hard drive (see my response to other poster above for more detail) will this restore disk reinstall a version of windows? How is it going to know what version of windows I previously had on the PC when it will be dealing with a blank hard drive that has no preinstalled programs on it, including all of the preinstalled HP crapware that would have probably provided that information? Also, I just spent 15 minutes clicking around the HP website for ordering such a disk, and can't find it. All clicks invariable lead me back to the support menu for the specific PC and available downloadable drivers, even when I went to the HP online store. If you could provide a link to where this can be purchased I would appreciate it, thanks.
  5. Best answer
    CincyGuy said:
    Spectre694 said:
    Basically, if it had Windows 10 on before then just skip where is asks you for the product key and it should activate once it is installed and booted up.


    I'm not sure I was clear in my description of what I propose to do. IF the hard drive is the issue, my thought was I would buy a new internal hard drive and swap it with the dead one. So I will power up the computer with a blank hard drive and I guess whatever firmware is on the motherboard/CPU (not sure where firmware lives). I don't have a windows an original 10 disk/thumb drive, as the computer was purchased with a preinstalled windows 7. If the computer did come with a rescue disk, I can't find it and have never made one. Therefore, I have no bootable windows media or restore disk to use so I need to purchase a new windows 10 license, which apparently only comes downloadable or on a thumb drive.

    So my question still is, given the scenario of booting up the computer with a blank freshly installed hard drive, will booting up the computer with a windows 10 thumb drive inserted result in the software being successfully installed? Thanks, and my apologies if I didn't provide enough information.


    No if it had windows 10 you don't need a new key. Download the windows media creation tool and then run it. It will have an option to download an ISO which you can then burn to a DVD/ Flash drive. This will install only windows 10 no extra programs that came with it or anything like that.
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