A Simple Way to Move Windows 10 Hard Drive to New Computer

July 19, 2019

You’ll learn how to move old hard drive to new computer in Windows 10 and with secure boot and activation ensured in this article. No need to reinstall Windows.

Need to move hard drive to new computer in Windows 10

"I bought a new computer a couple of days ago. Every time I try to move a hard drive to a new computer, I always get boot errors, or Windows 10 not activated. That always bothered me. How do I move a Windows installation to a new PC without having to format it? What’s the proper way to do this? Any advice would be appreciated."

That is a help post on how to move old hard drive to new computer in Windows 10. Unlike moving Windows 10 to SSD on the same computer, there are many other important issues like activation license and hardware type you need to concern when it comes to a new computer.

Can you move Windows installation hard drive to new computer?

When you buy a new computer, like most users, you probably prefer adding old hard drive to new computer in Windows 10 to doing a fresh install. A fresh install is not complicated, but you have to spend much time reinstalling Windows and applications. However, moving old HDD to a new one allows you to migrate your entire installation in one fell swoop.

Some users may think it seems easy to move Windows 10 and its hard drive to another PC. However, that is not true. You may meet some obstacles like hardware problem and license problem:

Different hardware types

When it comes to moving Windows installation hard drive to another computer, the first thing you should consider is the compatibility of the driver. If you have the same hardware with the new computer, it is quite easy. You just need to add the old hard drive to the new computer without worrying boot issue.

However, if it is a dissimilar hardware with the new computer, you may encounter “move hard drive to new computer in Windows 10 won’t boot” trouble.

Different license types

Windows activation is another obstacle in the process. Even if you have solved hardware issue, you still have to consider if you can transfer your Windows 10 license to the new computer.

There are three types of Windows license key, OEM, Retail, and Volume. If your license is retail or volume, then Windows will automatically get activated when you connect to the internet. But under Microsoft’s rules, you are only entitled to a one-time transfer.

However, OEM copy is designed to be locked to the hardware they were originally installed on. Microsoft doesn’t enable you to move those OEM copies of Windows to another computer. If you have to move OEM license to another computer, you can call support staff of Microsoft to activate the license for you. Otherwise, you’ll get into “move hard drive to new computer in Windows 10 not activated” issue.

Move hard drive to new computer in Windows 10 without hardware issue

Are you looking for a way to move old hard drive to new computer without hardware and license issue? Fortunately, lots of powerful third-party software can take care of those issues and make this work easier.

If the new computer has dissimilar hardware, you can use Universal Restore feature of AOMEI Backupper to transfer Windows and all data to a computer with dissimilar hardware. You can also transfer Windows 10 license to new computer.

Software to move hard drive to dissimilar hardware

AOMEI Backupper Professional is an almighty backup and restore software designed for Windows 10/8/7. It allows you to create system backup, disk backup and partition backup with a few mouse-clicks. And then you can restore the backup image if needed.

The Universal Restore (also called Dissimilar Hardware Restore) feature allows you to restore a backup image created on one computer to another computer, or restore images to a new computer that has dissimilar hardware installed.

With this feature, you can move hard drive from one computer to another without reinstalling Windows. Also, you do not have to worry dissimilar hardware problem and license issue.

How to move hard drive with Windows 10 to new computer step by step?

Let’s take a closer look at how to move Windows 10 hard drive to new computer. Download the free trial of AOMEI Backupper Professional and open it.

Free Trial

You need to create a disk backup on the old computer first and then save the backup image to a place where the new computer can access. AOMEI Backupper supports to backup Windows 10 to USB drive, HDD and SSD, etc. If your new computer is a bare machine, the create a bootable CD or USB feature in AOMEI Backupper will be helpful to boot your new PC.

Now follow the steps below to do dissimilar hardware restore:

Step 1. Boot the target computer by AOMEI bootable media. It will bring you the main interface of AOMEI Backupper. Click "Restore".

Step 2. Click “Select Image File” and locate the disk image backup you created. Note that the drive letter may change under AOMEI PE environment.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 3. Choose a backup image and click "Next" to continue.

Select Backup Image

Step 4. Select to restore the entire disk or a part and then click "Next".

Restore Entire Disk or Partition

Step 5. Select the destination path to restore the disk image and click Next. Then, preview the summary and click Start Restore.

Select Destination


  • Edit partitions on the destination disk: you can edit the size of the partition by clicking this option.

  • Align partition to optimize for SSD: if the storage device on the computer is SSD, you can enable this feature.

  • To make sure the restore process is successful, you had better check image files first to see if the backup image is intact or damaged.

After restoring, you can boot the new computer normally with the same operating system, programs, and data as the old computer. Then, the hard drive transfer to new computer is completed. You can backup Windows 7 and restore on another computer with above steps as well.


That’s it! See how simple it is to move hard drive with Windows 10 to new computer by AOMEI Backupper. With it, you actually save much time compared with reinstalling Windows, and you can get out of hardware and license troubles. As a matter of fact, the software is also a good assistant when you want to clone hard drive in Windows 10 to new hard drive or SSD.

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.