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[WIN 10?] Transplanting an actively-used laptop’s HDD to another of exact same model?

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Old 16-03-2019, 11:13 PM   #1
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[WIN 10?] Transplanting an actively-used laptop’s HDD to another of exact same model?

Trying to summarise it as best I can ...

- Laptop #1 issued to Staff A.
- Staff A left recently.
- Laptop #1 taken over by Staff B.
- Staff B is employed by S’pore office but stationed overseas, left with the laptop already.
- Laptop #2 issued to Staff C, who joined shortly before Staff A left.
- Staff C now needs to handle Staff A’s duties, and everything including the setup (email, productivity programs which company pays subscription for, etc) in Laptop #1 is needed.
- Staff B doesn’t need all the things in the HDD actually.
- Staff B has suggested taking out the HDD from Laptop #1 and courier-ing it back to S’pore so Staff C can put it into Laptop #2, because courier-ing the whole Laptop #1 back to S’pore (+ couriering Laptop #2 over to Staff B since he’d still need a laptop) is not very practical

Anyone think this would be workable? I assume the HDD from Laptop #1 would work fine in Laptop #2 without any glitches / driver problems and whatnot given both laptops are the same model with the exact same specs. But what about the Windows 10 licence? Since Windows 10 licence is tagged to the motherboard ... will the licence automatically switch to Laptop #2’s licence? Or will it reject and turn into an ”unlicenced copy”? Anyone knows?
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Old 16-03-2019, 11:29 PM   #2
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What is the windows version sku?
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Old 17-03-2019, 09:58 AM   #3
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What is the windows version sku?
Both are Windows 10 Pro. They are Lenovo Thinkpads, if it matters.
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Old 17-03-2019, 12:10 PM   #4
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Both are Windows 10 Pro. They are Lenovo Thinkpads, if it matters.
What I mean is if the Windows OS from OEM or self installed?
Do you have customised WIM files?
How is it activated?
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Old 17-03-2019, 12:15 PM   #5
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What I mean is if the Windows OS from OEM or self installed?
Do you have customised WIM files?
How is it activated?
I'd assume these came preloaded with Windows 10 from the vendor ... pretty sure the company didn't buy the laptops without OS then install at our end
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Old 17-03-2019, 12:55 PM   #6
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Trying to summarise it as best I can ...

- Laptop #1 issued to Staff A.
- Staff A left recently.
- Laptop #1 taken over by Staff B.
- Staff B is employed by S’pore office but stationed overseas, left with the laptop already.
- Laptop #2 issued to Staff C, who joined shortly before Staff A left.
- Staff C now needs to handle Staff A’s duties, and everything including the setup (email, productivity programs which company pays subscription for, etc) in Laptop #1 is needed.
- Staff B doesn’t need all the things in the HDD actually.
- Staff B has suggested taking out the HDD from Laptop #1 and courier-ing it back to S’pore so Staff C can put it into Laptop #2, because courier-ing the whole Laptop #1 back to S’pore (+ couriering Laptop #2 over to Staff B since he’d still need a laptop) is not very practical

Anyone think this would be workable? I assume the HDD from Laptop #1 would work fine in Laptop #2 without any glitches / driver problems and whatnot given both laptops are the same model with the exact same specs. But what about the Windows 10 licence? Since Windows 10 licence is tagged to the motherboard ... will the licence automatically switch to Laptop #2’s licence? Or will it reject and turn into an ”unlicenced copy”? Anyone knows?

Licenses are not transferable. assuming you all had a buy and use model.


The scenario is different if you all used Windows ADK and WinPE to commit the deployment.
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Old 17-03-2019, 01:11 PM   #7
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I'd assume these came preloaded with Windows 10 from the vendor ... pretty sure the company didn't buy the laptops without OS then install at our end
If preloaded you just have to do slmgr command to clear license put it into unactivated mode, clear the activation tokens which consist of Machine's hardware ID, connect to internet and activate it again.
Laptops have license in the BIOS to match the OS it is installed on if the version is valid Win10 Pro license in BIOS and Win10 Pro installed.
Some corps load their own custom image and run their own activation server, or they got a special key to activate from Microsoft Servers so the steps are different.
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Old 17-03-2019, 01:26 PM   #8
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Licenses are not transferable. assuming you all had a buy and use model.


The scenario is different if you all used Windows ADK and WinPE to commit the deployment.
If preloaded you just have to do slmgr command to clear license put it into unactivated mode, clear the activation tokens which consist of Machine's hardware ID, connect to internet and activate it again.
Laptops have license in the BIOS to match the OS it is installed on if the version is valid Win10 Pro license in BIOS and Win10 Pro installed.
Some corps load their own custom image and run their own activation server, or they got a special key to activate from Microsoft Servers so the steps are different.
We’re not a tech company, pretty sure the complicated stuff doesn’t apply to us

We’re not looking to transfer the Windows 10 licence from 1 laptop to another, per se ... technically we’re looking to make the Windows 10 in the HDD from Laptop #1 use the licence of Laptop #2.

If I’m not mistaken, the default configuration for the laptops come with a 1TB HDD, someone in the company (who is now also stationed in another overseas office) requested the vendor ”upgrade” them with 500gb SSDs (2.5” not M.2). So the Windows 10 is not Lenovo factory-preloaded but re-installed at the vendor end. Would this complicate things?

Last edited by CCCustom; 17-03-2019 at 01:30 PM..
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Old 17-03-2019, 01:36 PM   #9
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We’re not a tech company, pretty sure the complicated stuff doesn’t apply to us

We’re not looking to transfer the Windows 10 licence from 1 laptop to another, per se ... technically we’re looking to make the Windows 10 in the HDD from Laptop #1 use the licence of Laptop #2.

If I’m not mistaken, the default configuration for the laptops come with a 1TB HDD, someone in the company (who is now also stationed in another overseas office) requested the vendor ”upgrade” them with 500gb SSDs (2.5” not M.2). So the Windows 10 is not Lenovo factory-preloaded but re-installed at the vendor end. Would this complicate things?
If the BIOS has the correct activation code for the correct OS no reason it should not activate.
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Old 17-03-2019, 01:43 PM   #10
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If the BIOS has the correct activation code for the correct OS no reason it should not activate.

The machine IDs are different. I have tried it before and it won't work.


It only works if you perform the ADK and PE-based installation.
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Old 17-03-2019, 01:53 PM   #11
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Okay maybe if I rephrase it (slightly? Pretty sure it means the same thing actually) ...

What we want to do is ...

- Take out HDD from Laptop #1,
- Put Laptop #1’s HDD in Laptop #2,
- Get the Windows 10 in abovementioned HDD to forget it’s registered to Laptop #1’s licence
- Re-register the Windows 10 in abovementioned HDD to Laptop #2’s licence instead

... without having to reinstall Windows and any of the programs currently already in Laptop #1’s HDD,

Possible? Not possible?
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Old 17-03-2019, 02:27 PM   #12
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The machine IDs are different. I have tried it before and it won't work.


It only works if you perform the ADK and PE-based installation.
Did you revert the license to unactivated state? Remove the machine tokens?
Obviously if the token exist it will refuse to activate since the existing tokens are not the same.

Last edited by ArcticCheetah; 17-03-2019 at 02:31 PM..
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Old 17-03-2019, 02:33 PM   #13
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Did you revert the license to unactivated state? Remove the machine tokens?
Obviously if the token exist it will refuse to activate since the existing tokens are not the same.
So this needs to be done while the HDD is still in Laptop #1?
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Old 17-03-2019, 02:51 PM   #14
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So this needs to be done while the HDD is still in Laptop #1?
You have to boot from another operating system to remove the tokens offline. If you don't know how to do this then it is better to assume it cannot be done.
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Old 17-03-2019, 03:33 PM   #15
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Okay maybe if I rephrase it (slightly? Pretty sure it means the same thing actually) ...

What we want to do is ...

- Take out HDD from Laptop #1,
- Put Laptop #1’s HDD in Laptop #2,
- Get the Windows 10 in abovementioned HDD to forget it’s registered to Laptop #1’s licence
- Re-register the Windows 10 in abovementioned HDD to Laptop #2’s licence instead

... without having to reinstall Windows and any of the programs currently already in Laptop #1’s HDD,

Possible? Not possible?
Like others mentioned if your IT asset windows license are through volume license than possible to do it.
But if these are individual licenses tag to each of the machine than no.
You have to reinstall the OS from fresh.
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