Can I Transfer Windows 7 from One Computer to Another?
My old computer was originally xp, then I upgraded to WIN7 and now it's finally dead. I want to install the windows 7 disk I bought on my daughter's computer because my computer is xp. How do you transfer the license from one computer to another? I entered the product key on the box, but I got an invalid message. Fair enough, the old computer is still registered, so how do you unregister and then re-register. Thanks!
- Question from answers.microsoft.com
It is not surprising that many users want to copy Windows 7 from one computer to another, but you may encounter license problems like the case above. And there are different types of license key, some of them is transferable, but not all. To learn more about it and transfer operating system from one computer to another successfully.
About the License Key You Need to Know
In general, there are three license types for all computers, you can check the following content and see if it's transfterable.
OEM Version: It's provided by computer manufacturers, such as Dell, Lenovo, Samsung etc and tied to the first computer where the operating system installs and activates.Thus, it is not transferable, even to a new motherboard.
Retail Version: It's provided by Amazon or similar platforms and has to be activated online via Microsoft (MS) servers using the key on the box. It is transferable but limited to only once.
Full Version: This is the version you got from Microsoft directly. It can be transferred to other computers.
Please note that, according to Microsoft’s rule, one license can only be installed on one computer at a time, regardless of the license type.
Situations to Copy Windows 7 to New Computer
In fact, many users use Windows 7 still, because they are familiar with this operating system and feel it is more convenient at the same time. Sometimes, they jsut need to upgrade old disk by cloning Windows 7 to new hard drive. However, in the following situations, you need to move Windows 7 to another computer.
Upgrade older version of operating system to Windows 7.
Built a new computer without operating system.
Replace old computer when it's dying, or the motherboard is failing.
Migrate Windows 7 installation from one virtual machine to another.
Surely, there should be other situations when a user would like to transfer operating system from one computer to another. But it is more important to start working on how to complete the task.
Transfer Windows 7 to Another Computer Safely Even Dissimilar
In most cases, you won't be able to find a computer with the same hardware as your old one, or you don't want one, because computer manufacturers are constantly upgrading their hardware to give you better performance.
And this is a big reason why many users replace their computers or migrate their systems to new ones. The safest way is to use a powerful backup and restore software like AOMEI Backupper Professional.
- You can create system image for the operating system only or disk backup for the entire disk.
- You are able to create recovery disk (USB or CD/DVD) to boot the new computer if it's a bare metal one.
- You are capable of restoring system or disk to dissimilar hardware and booting from the new computer successfully.
- You can use this software on all the Windows systems, not only Windows 7, but also Windows 8/8.1/10/11. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.
To get started, please download this software on the old computer and then follow the steps below to transfer Windows 7 to new computer without reinstallation.
Part 1. Create System Image for Windows 7
To transfer Windows 7 to another computer, you need to create a system image or disk image and it's indispensible for system migration.
1. In AOMEI Backupper, click “Backup” and then “System Backup”.
2. The system related drive is selected by default. You just need to edit the task name and choose a destination path to store backup image. You have two options in the following. And then, click “Start Backup” to create a system image in Windows 7.
- Select a local path: It helps you to backup Windows 7 to internal or external drive (HDD or SSD) and USB drive.
- Add Share or NAS Devices: It allows you to backup Windows 7 to network drive, or NAS device. It requires you to type the network path and select the shared folders on it.
Part 2. Create a Bootable Device for New Computer
If the new computer does not have the operating system, or it's not botable, you need to create bootable media (USB or CD/DVD at least 7.16GB) to boot it.
1. Switch to “Tools” and then select “Create Bootable Media”.
2. Select a bootable disc type - “Windows PE”(Recommended) or "Linux". Click “Next”.
3. Specify the storage media - USB flash drive, CD/DVD or ISO file and click “Next” to start creating bootable media immediately. Before that, you can click “Add Drivers” to add specific drivers to the new computer if you want.
Part 3. Restore Windows 7 Image to New Computer
🔍 Important: The selected destination partition (or disk) will be overwritten after this behavior. Back up data that matters to you in advance.
1. Connect the bootable device to the new computer and power on. Press F8 key (Del or F2) to enter into BIOS. Change boot priority to the bootable device. Press F10 to save the change and exit.
2. After loading files, you will see AOMEI Backupper Professional again. Click “Restore” and "Select Image File" to find the backup image.
3. Select "Restore this system backup" and "Restore to other location", then click Next.
4. Select the hard drive on the new computer to restore the system image. Then, click Next.
5. Make sure the“Universal Restore” is checked and click “Start Restore” to copy Windows 7 from one computer to another. If you are restoring Windows 7 to SSD on new computer, please check “SSD Alignment” to improve its performance.
6. Wait for the process to complete. Then, shut down the computer, disconnect the bootable media and boot from the new PC.
Things to Pay Attention to After Restoration:
✔ Please note that some drivers, such as video/sound card drivers, NIC drivers, and display driver, are not installed by AOMEI Universal Restore, but they don’t affect system startup and can be installed manually in Windows after the successful restore.
✔ You need to reactivate the Windows installation before using it. And every license key can only be used on computer at a time.
✔ To restore system to multiple computers easily, you could consider using the AOMEI Image Deploy tool. It's supported by technician or techplus edition of this software.
You can easily copy Windows 7 from one computer to another with the help of AOMEI Backupper Professional even dissimilar as long as you are sure the license key is transferable. Please note that one available backup is important for system migration, preferably the latest one.
To always keep it, it's suggested to create a schedule backup in Windows 7 and delete old backup automatically to free up more space. And then, you can easily restore system to new hard drive or computer even in the worst situation. Besides, you can use it to clone Windows 7 to multiple computers as well.