Windows 10 Moving Old Drive to New PC Questions


New Member
Jun 17, 2022
I have built a new PC (Intel Alder Lake) with a new empty drive. I intend to install Windows 10 or 11. I also intend to move two old drives from my old PC to the new one. One old drive has Windows 10 on it, plus some applications. The second old drive has lots of data and some applications. Do I have to reinstall all old applications currently residing on these drives or will they work as they are in new PC? I am thinking they will not, but don't know. I mean, when I open Windows, I would not expect an icon for an old app on an old drive. I expect there may be bigger issues mandating reinstalls, but thought I would ask.


The old apps won't work on your new pc, unless you install them on it after operating system installation, whether win10 or win11. If they are legit, then you should uninstall them first from your old pc when connected to the internet and after that reinstall them on your new pc using the genuine serial numbers. For Microsoft products you should deactivate them on your old pc and reinstall and activate them on your new one. It is possible that some of your apps found on your old drives do not require any installation, so they should work on your new pc when run from your old drives.

You could also try to start your new pc from the old drive that has win10 to see if it works. The results are unpredictable, but if you're lucky and you will be able to start your new pc from your old drive, then you could clone the drive to your new one, load again the pc from the new drive and then install all the new drivers for your new devices (graphic card, sound card, network card, etc.). Then your old apps found on the cloned drive should also work. But first deactivate windows and other Microsoft apps on your old pc because they will have to be reactivated on your new pc. I never did this and I am almost sure it won't work but it is worth to try (loading the new pc from the old drive without reinstalling windows).

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Really depends on the applications. If licensed, they may tie the license to unique identifiers on the existing computer as an anti-piracy measure. I would also recommend uninstalling any licensed software and re-install on the new system. Everything else should be ok.

For Windows itself I would check your licensing. If it is a system builder license (in other words came with the computer) you will need to purchase a new Windows license.
You can determine your product key channel by opening a command or powershell prompt and typing 'slmgr /dlv'
If the product key channel is 'Retail' you can transfer the license or just move the hard drive. If it says something like OEM then the license is tied to that computer and can not be legally moved.
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