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Need Help - HDD failure and Windows 7 Recovery

Last response: in Windows 7
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May 17, 2012 9:11:47 PM

Hello,

This is my first post here.
Here is my situation:

I have two identical Acer Aspire One (722) netbooks each running Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit).

The OS came pre-installed on the netbooks with no Windows 7 disks. There is a Windows 7 product key number on the underside of each computer.

One of the netbooks experienced a HDD crash that I have been unable to recover from. I am not able to boot. I tried several different repair utilities and recovery disks. I am able to see all the files and folders when I view the drive using a SATA to USB adapter cable on another PC.

I am going to install a new SSD to replace the failed HDD.

I created an image of the HDD from the other identical working netbook. (I failed to create an image or back-up of the HDD that failed - my bad.)

I want to install this image onto the new SSD that will then go into the netbook that has the bad HDD.

I assume at this point I need to do something with the activation licenses or product keys, because I don't want to do anything illegal. I also don't want to have to buy a new copy of Windows 7, since I feel I already had bought two working copies as part of the two netbook purchases.

So my question is, do I then have to reenter or change the product key from the newly installed (restored) image file from the working netbook and use the product key that was originally associated with the netbook that had the failed HDD? How do I do this? Will this plan work?

I want to end up with two working netbooks each with their own legal and activated version of Windows 7 with the two product keys that I have, just as I had before I suffered the HDD failure.

I realize I could have avoided all this if I had created an image and back-up of the HDD that actually failed. Unfortunately I did not do this. Lesson learned.

Thank you very much for your help to this newbie.
a b $ Windows 7
May 17, 2012 9:18:50 PM

You may not be asked to enter a new product key as the hardware is theoretically the same. Be aware that each OEM version (that is what is on each system) is intended for that system and using it on another is a violation of the license. If after installing the image you are asked for a key use the one on the failed system as it is the one meant for that piece of hardware. Then if after all this the reinstalled system does not activate you will have to call MS and explain the entire thing to them. They will probably activate the system. I bet you can contact Aspire also and get disks.
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May 17, 2012 9:30:09 PM

Thank you both for your fast response.

I am also now wondering if maybe I won't have to do anything with the product key.

If the product key is linked to the mother board (as opposed to the HDD image) and I am not actually installing Windows 7, just restoring an image file from another identical computer onto a new SSD, perhaps everything will be good?

But I do appreciate knowing how to change the product key if i do need to do this.

I will give it a go.

New SSD should arrive tomorrow - Samsung 830 series. I hope this is a good choice I made.
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a b $ Windows 7
May 17, 2012 9:36:09 PM

Note that you need SATA set to AHCI in the BIOS to get the best performance from the SSD (this may have been done already for the drive you're replacing).

If it was not set, you'll need to google how to enable it in the BIOS and Win7 after you copy the image over.

The absolute best thing you could do to ensure all is well on the SSD is to borrow a copy of Win7 from someone and enter your product key when asked. Then, make an image of it so you're good to go from there.
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May 18, 2012 5:40:56 PM

I did not mean to imply I would do anything illegal or in violation of Microsoft.

I was just thinking that since I have two valid product keys - one on each laptop (motherboard) - and I am just re-installing Windows 7 from an image file from an identical laptop, that perhaps the good, valid, legal product key will already be linked to the restored OS on the new SSD.

Certainly if I am asked for a valid product key or need to change it, I will.

Thank you all so much.

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September 11, 2012 9:38:46 PM

thscott said:
I did not mean to imply I would do anything illegal or in violation of Microsoft.

I was just thinking that since I have two valid product keys - one on each laptop (motherboard) - and I am just re-installing Windows 7 from an image file from an identical laptop, that perhaps the good, valid, legal product key will already be linked to the restored OS on the new SSD.

Certainly if I am asked for a valid product key or need to change it, I will.

Thank you all so much.


Dear thscott,

My PQSERVICE partition destroyed itself (with a little help from me :) ) while I was trying to boot from it in order to install an SSD into my AO722. Such partition is evidently NOT SUPPOSED to start from an external SATA enclosure... moreover and needless to say, I didn't do any backup first...

You said you made an image of the other laptop HD, could you send me (I mean upload it somewhere) just the recovery partition? I'd like to reset this machine to its original state, but I am unwilling to pay 39$ (some sites) or more (Acer) to get a couple of DVDs with that "magic" partition on it.

I can reinstall windows and then change its serial number (already tried that), but would like to put the internal HD back to its original state.

Can you help me?
Thanks, kind regards.

PS I then discovered that KINGSTON SSDNOW V200 series *ARE* *NOT* compatible with this netbook, nor with Apple's MacBookPros from 2009... it might help someone! :D 
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December 14, 2012 4:34:22 AM

If u can access the drive via sata or sata-usb-adapter n c all the files! U can copy all of ur files n/or copy the entire HD 2 another device, run "fdisk" n re-partition n format the drive then it should b good 2 go. If there r other problems with the HD then u mite need 2 run sum other HD utility [look for 1 from the HD manufacturer first unless u can find 1 that supports ur HD. Then u can either copy all of the files bak 2 the HD n re-install it n it should boot up in the same condition b4 the crash if none of the OS files have been corrupted! MIte have 2 run a repair 2 fix problems, or use with adapter as external HD. L8R Daze R
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