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Removing a hard drive with windows and puting it in a custom build?

Last response: in Windows 7
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July 27, 2012 2:52:36 AM

Hey just have a question that I have not been able to find a straight answer for. Is it legal to buy a pre-built computer store bought and remove the hard drive with windows 7 already on it and put it into a custom built computer? Does it even work? I was wondering because I don't want to pay 200+ dollars for just a hard drive and operating system. kinda ruins the whole idea of a "budget" build.
July 27, 2012 3:07:27 AM

If you want windows to work and be legal then, no, it will not work. OEM copies of windows are tied to the motherboard and cannot be installed onto one that is different from the one that was originally used and activated with it.
July 27, 2012 3:15:35 AM

You can use the Hard drive but you are going to have to do a fresh install of Windows on it. Some might tell you to use Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image but the best way is to format the HDD then install Windows. But you just can't take a hard drive out of one PC, put it in another and expect the operating system to work.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 3:35:13 AM

No, prebuilt computers are usually tied to the motherboards they are built on
July 27, 2012 4:05:18 PM

Ah alright. Thanks for the input. Would a bare bones DYI kit work? Like with all the parts separate?
July 27, 2012 5:17:16 PM

Edit: Is there any barebone kits with windows 7??
a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 5:25:19 PM

barebone kits usually do not have windows with them.
a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 5:37:04 PM

I'm not advocating you use a less than legal version of windows, but there is a good possibility that just swapping the drive to a new PC will work. I have done it with decent success, but I think it matters which motherboards are in each machine. If they are similar enough, it usually works. I've used various Intel motherboards to do this. p45 win 7 install worked fine on a p67 board. Definitely not ideal, but possible, legalities aside.
a c 374 $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 5:39:20 PM

My work but will become non genuine ^
a c 374 $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 5:40:07 PM

Prebuilt to custom is illegal and will make install not genuine.
July 27, 2012 5:46:25 PM

i do this all the time. all you have to do is contact microsoft support and explain that you upgraded the motherboard (which is effectively what you are doing) and they will give you a new serial
a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 6:01:11 PM

humphreybot, have you done this with an OEM version of windows? It is explicitly stated in the license that an OEM version, once it is installed and sold to the customer, is tied to the original hardware. Changing hardware breaks the license.

But I ask since MS does things for people versus following their own rules.
July 27, 2012 6:10:32 PM

What if I don't even start up the computer with the hard drive and just immediately put it in a custom computer? Like I install it on the custom rig.
July 27, 2012 6:14:09 PM

Is the pre-built computer already tied to the hardware? Before anything is touched?
a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 6:17:23 PM

hunter387 said:
What if I don't even start up the computer with the hard drive and just immediately put it in a custom computer? Like I install it on the custom rig.

Most pre-built computers already have Windows activated, so yes it is already tied to that motherboard.
a b $ Windows 7
July 27, 2012 6:20:46 PM

hunter387 said:
Is the pre-built computer already tied to the hardware? Before anything is touched?



Hi :) 

Yes...so what you are considering is ILLEGAL and you WILL have to buy another copy of Windows.... so pointless...

All the best Brett :) 
July 27, 2012 6:42:58 PM

Well if it is illegal than I will not do it lol I guess I'll have to suck it up and buy a new hard drive and windows. Sad story.
!