By Ivy / Last Updated January 6, 2020

User case: can you transfer OS from laptop to desktop?

“I have a Dell laptop using Windows 10, and recently purchase a new desktop computer. I want to keep the original OS, programs, personal data, etc the same as laptop. Is it possible to transfer OS from laptop to desktop without reinstalling? It’s time-consuming.”

Can I transfer laptop license to desktop?

Many users may have this question when they transfer OS from laptop to desktop. Now, I’ll show you the clear idea here.

For license key, there are three common types: Retail (Full Package Product), OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), Volume licensing. Among these license, only the first one can be transferred to another computer and it can be used on a computer each time. The rest of two options is tied to the first machine when you are install operating system.

How do I transfer laptop OS?

Besides clean install, there are two common ways to transfer operating system from one computer to another. One is using disk cloning software to clone system of the laptop and install the cloned hard drive in the desktop, while another way is to use backup and restore software to backup system in laptop and restore to desktop.

Both ways can help you transfer laptop OS to desktop and ensure secure boot. But which one is better? If you want to clone Windows 10 to another PC, you can use “System Clone” feature. By comparison, Windows 10 has a better compatibility than previous version, such as, Windows 7, 8, 8.1, etc. If you are using Previous Windows, especially the desktop has different hardware, you can consider combining “System Backup” with “System Restore” feature.

Trust and reliable software to move OS from laptop to desktop

Whether you are using the latest Windows 10 or Window 7, 8, 8.1, you can use disk cloning software or backup and restore software to transfer operating system. Here, I would like to recommend you AOMEI Backupper Professional. This software can help you move OS from laptop to desktop no matter what operating system you are using.

Here are useful features in this software:

  • “Backup” and “Clone” feature. This software has 3 backup methods and corresponding restore feature, 3 clone methods, including, system backup, disk backup, system restore, system clone, etc.

  • Universal Restore” feature. Sometimes, you will find that the cloned hard drive won’t boot in Windows 7, that is because both of your computer has different hardware. If this is your case, you need to use this feature. It’s used to solve this problem.

  • “SSD Alignment”. If you want to make full use of your SSD, you need to check this feature. It can accelerate the reading and writing speed of your SSDs.

  • “Sector by Sector Clone”. This feature is used to clone all sectors of your hard drive whether used or not, especially usefully when you clone disk to larger disk.

  • “Edit Partitions”. Many users report that the cloned hard drive show wrong size, that’s because the extra space is marked as “Unallocated”. This feature is to help you add unused space to all partitions, or you can manually adjust the size of your partition.

Now, you can continue to see below and learn how to transfer laptop OS to desktop.

How to transfer laptop OS to desktop in Windows?

In Windows 7, 8, 8.1, you’d better use “Backup and Restore” feature to transfer OS. With it, you don’t need to concern the drivers or anything, because it will automatically install the required boot drivers during the restoring process, and neglect the incompatible drivers from the backup.

To restore system from laptop to desktop, there are something you need to do:

  • First off, you need a copy of AOMEI Backupper. Go to its website, download and install it on the laptop.

  • Second, you need to create a system backup or disk backup of your laptop and save it to a removable storage device. Because it’s the premise of restoring image to disk or computer.

  • Third, create a bootable rescue CD/DVD or USB disk, which is to boot your desktop to perform the restore. If you can manage to install AOMEI Backupper on your desktop, you can skip the bootable media.

To transfer laptop OS with AOMEI Backupper:

1. Connect the removable storage device where the backup was saved to your desktop.

2. Boot your desktop from the bootable media.

Power off your computer, restart it and press the specific key (eg: F2, ESC, etc) in the initial screen, go to Boot and change CD/CD to the first boot options via “+”, then press “F10” or “Enter” to exit this window. After that, it will lead you to the intuitive interface of AOMEI Backupper.

3. Under “Restore” tab, click “Select Image File” to select the backup of your laptop.

Select Image File

4. Click “Restore this system backup” and click “Next” to continue.

Restore Entire System Image

5. Select a location on desktop hard drive and then click "Next”. It’s recommended to select the first partition.

Select Backup Destination

Note: If there are any important data, you need to backup files or folders first.

6. "Universal Restore" is checked by default if your desktop has different hardware. If it’s not checked, you can tick this feature manually. Then, click “Start Restore”.

Transfer OS to Desktop with Dissimilar Hardware


  • If your disk on desktop is SSD, you could consider using “SSD Alignment”. It will improve your computer’s performance.

  • “Backup and Restore” feature is also applied to Windows 10. Why do I recommend you using “Clone” feature? It’s much easier.

How to clone one computer to another in Windows 10?

Owing to good compatibility of Windows 10, you don’t need to worry about your desktop has incompatible drivers or hardware, etc. So, you can use “System Clone” or “Disk Clone” to transfer all contents from one hard drive to another, then use it on your desktop or other computers. After cloning, the target drive will has exact the same data as the hard drive of your laptop.

To clone Windows 10 to another PC, use the following method:

1. Connect an external hard drive to your laptop as storage device.

2. Launch AOMEI Backupper, click “Clone” and “System Clone” subsequently.

Choose System Clone

3. Select the external drive as destination path. By default, AOMEI will select the system partition and boot related partition, so you don’t need to select it manually.

Select External Drive

4. Tick “SSD Alignment”, “Edit Partition”, “Sector by Sector Clone” based on your needs. Then, click “Start Clone” if there is no problem.

Clone One Computer to Another

After cloning, you need to install the cloned hard drive in desktop and change boot order in BIOS. Then, see if your computer can boot successfully.

In the end

Speaking of transferring OS from laptop to desktop, you may think of clean install. But it’s a waste of time. So, you could consider using backup and restore software, or disk cloning software.

Owing to drivers or other hardware issues, the cloning process may fail. So, if you are using Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, you’d better use backup and restore software. Its “Universal Restore” feature can help you solve this problem. For users using Windows 10, you can use both way, but the clone process is simpler.

The Professional version only support Windows 7, 8, 10, etc. If you are using Server 2008, 2012, 2016 or its R2 version, you can use AOMEI Backupper Server.

If you don’t have AOMEI Backupper, just download it and try it yourself.