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How To Move System Drive To Different PC

A little while back I bought a brand new PC. I didn’t really need it but my existing machine is getting a bit long in the tooth (around 8 years old) and it was too good of a deal to pass up. The new PC came with Windows 10 Home pre-installed and, seeing how it was such a bargain, I thought that paying $99 to upgrade to Pro would still bring the total price in at a reasonable amount. Wrong! As it turned out, the price to upgrade from Home to Pro (via the Microsoft Store) is $169AU. I don’t know where I got the $99 from but I’m assuming I had been seeing the price in US dollars.

Anyway, long story short, my existing machine included two connected SSDs, both with an identical copy of Windows 10 Pro installed, so I decided to transfer one of those SSDs over to the new PC and see what happens. That was a few days ago and, after several bumps in the road, Windows 10 Pro is now up and running and fully functional. Just in case you might want to try the same thing, here are the issues I had to overcome:

Note: before you start, the first and most important step is to back up everything on the drive you are transferring over

Converting MBR to GPT

MBR2GPT Conversion

The SSD from my existing machine was using the older MBR partition format running under BIOS while my new machine demanded a GPT partitioned drive to run under a UEFI system. So, I needed to convert the SSD containing Windows 10 Pro from MBR to GPT without any data loss. Fortunately, Windows 10 includes a built-in tool to perform the conversion, appropriately named “MBR2GPT”. It is very easy to do, just involving several simple commands, and is also very quick.



Activation

Activate Windows10 Pro

First off I must say, Windows 10’s hardware and driver recognition is second to none. I can’t imaging trying to transfer a system drive to another PC running completely different hardware on earlier Windows operating systems. Of course, because of the differing hardware, I soon received the message that Windows 10 was not activated. I set up all my machines to sign in via a Microsoft Account. So, I went through the activation options via the Settings menu and came across a section that lists all machines attached to my digital license and simply enabled the option to associate my older existing machine with the Windows 10 Pro installation and… success… Windows is activated. Well, at least for now, whether or not that comes back to bite me on the bum remains to be seen.

I experienced a similar situation with Microsoft Office. Every time I’d open a Word or Excel document I’d receive a message that, because of the differing hardware, Office required activation. In the end, I merely clicked an Activate button within the message window and it activated fine.

No Audio

Audio Not Working

I spent literally hours on this. As usual, there are 101 different solutions online, including the usual uninstall and re-install audio drivers, none of which made a scrap of difference. I ended up comparing the listing in Device Manager in the new Windows 10 Home operating system with the same list in the older Pro operating system and saw that there was one major difference — the Display Adaptor in Home was listed as “Intel UD Graphics 750” while in Pro it was listed as a “Basic Microsoft adaptor”. I downloaded the Intel UD Graphics 750 driver from Dell and installed it… bingo, audio is now working fine. What a display adaptor has to do with audio is beyond me but there it is.

The important message here is to check through the Device Manager listing and make sure there are no items with a yellow exclamation mark or items installed using a generic Microsoft driver. If there are, visit the device manufacturer’s online support and locate and install the correct driver. Please ignore sites that offer drivers other than from the official manufacturer’s website.

Aomei Backupper Pro Not Working

Aomei Backupper Pro

I first purchased Aomei Backupper Pro back in 2015 when I was already using the Standard (free) version and came across a deal for a lifetime license covering three PCs at a ridiculously good price. However, when I ran the software in Window 10 Pro on the SSD, now connected to the new Dell PC, it came up as a Trial edition that had expired, and imputing the original license code I received at the time of purchase was rejected as “Invalid”.

How this could even be possible is totally beyond my comprehension. Naturally, I was not a happy backupper. Fortunately, I had saved all the proof of purchase documents which I forwarded on to Aomei support with an email explaining what had happened. Aomei support responded around 24 hours later stating that the license code had been reset and should now work, which it thankfully did, no problem.

All of my other Premium software worked fine but I guess the message here is to make sure you have all license codes and proof of purchase documents for Premium software you’ve paid for and installed on hand, just in case.

BOTTON LINE:

You should only tackle this using a “spare” system drive and, even then, make sure to back up everything on that drive. I was fortunate to not encounter too many issues but also that none proved too difficult to overcome.

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