Complete Guide to Move Windows 10 to a New Computer

If you want to move Windows 10 to new computer easily without messing it up, continue to read on in this article for all the details and instructions about Windows transfer to a new computer.


By Ivy Updated on April 24, 2024

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Hi, my current computer is Windows 10 but it's old and I want to transfer my Windows 10 copy from my old pc to my new one which is faster. please help whoever can.”


🌟 Video Guide: How to Move Windows 10 to a New Computer

(*This video shows you how to move Windows 10 to a new computer with dissimilar hardware. If your new computer has the same hardware as the old computer, try the disk clone method offered below.)

These days, lots of folks want to move Windows 10 to a new computer. Maybe your old one's sluggish, or it crashes without a backup. Or perhaps you've got a brand-new machine. Can it be done? If yes, how? Find out in this article how to make Windows transfer to a new computer.

👉 Can I move Windows 10 to a new computer?
👉 Are Windows 10 license types transferable?
👉 Is it safe to migrate Windows 10 to a new computer?
👉 Best OS migration software for Windows PC
👉 How to move Windows 10 to a new computer
👉 How to transfer Windows 10 license to a new computer
👉 Written in the end

Can I move Windows 10 to a new computer?

Someone asked on Reddit: "Hello everyone, I have a question: I am building a new PC and I want to sell my old one. But I want to keep the HDD of my old PC with Windows 10 installed. I was wondering if I can move Windows 10 to a new computer with dissimilar hardware, will it automatically run Windows or do I need to purchase a new product key? Thanks in advance."

Move Windows 10 to New Computer

You can definitely move Windows 10 to new computer, and boot from it successfully, but with some caveats. Please read this article to learn more about this and the operating steps. In the following content, you will get to know the common knowledge about Windows 10 license transfer and step-by-step instructions.

Are Windows 10 license types transferable?

In fact, there are 3 different license types in Windows 10, some of them can be transferred, and it is usually tied to the important hardware of your computer, motherboard, for instance, and some can't. Thus, if you want to transfer Windows 10 to a new computer permanently, you need to check your license type and if it's transferrable. 

  • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer): This license comes preinstalled on the hardware (ie, motherboard) of your computer and it's tied to the first computer, so you cannot transfer Windows 10 license to new computer. Note that you can transfer Windows 10 OEM license to a new hard drive and your system will be activated once you connect it to a network.  

  • Retail: This license is purchased online and can be transferred to another computer once. If you free upgrade from a retail copy of Windows 7, Windows 8, or 8.1, the Windows 10 license still keeps the retail rights from which it is derived.

  • Volume: This license is used in large organizations, such as businesses, universities, or governments, and you can use one single license key to activate numerous installations.

Is it safe to migrate Windows 10 to a new computer?

In most cases, moving your system to a new computer can be safe if you follow these steps:

  • If your new computer is similar to your old one, then the process of moving Windows 10 to another computer is extremely simple and safe. You can simply install the old hard drive to the new computer, and boot from it.  
  • If your new computer has different hardware, which is more common, things get a bit trickier. You might run into compatibility issues and boot failure because of missing drivers.

From above, you may clearly get the first situation is simpler and the easiest way is to find a reliable disk cloning software and clone Windows 10 to a new computer with it.

But the second can be a little different and may result in to an unbootable device, in this case, you may need to turn to a professional backup and restore software that supports dissimilar hardware restore. And I'll introduce you to one such software.

Best OS migration software for Windows PC

Migrating Windows 10 to a new computer can be smooth and secure with the help of specialized OS migration software like AOMEI Backupper Professional. This software offers two effective methods for transferring your operating system: Disk Clone and Dissimilar Hardware Restore. With these tools, you can ensure that your OS migration is successful and hassle-free, regardless of the differences in hardware between your old and new computers.

✦ Disk Clone

It copies everything from the old computer's hard drive to the new computer hard drive, including the OS, programs, and user files. It requires the two computers to have identical hardware, or you may encounter boot issues after cloning.

✦ Dissimilar Hardware Restore

It restores a disk image or system image to a new computer with different hardware. At the same time, it ensures a successful boot after recovery.

Come on download it now to have a wild ride with it!

FREE Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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How to move Windows 10 to a new computer

To transfer Windows 10 to a new computer, you can choose to clone the hard drive in Windows 10 or restore the Windows backup image to a new computer, depending on the computer hardware. Before starting, you need to make some preparations:

  • For method 1, you need to prepare a USB-to-SATA cable to connect the new computer hard drive. If the new computer uses an M.2 slot, you need to prepare an M.2 connector, USB-to-M.2 SATA or USB-to-M.2 NVMe, for example.
  • For method 2, you need to prepare a storage device to save the backup image and a USB drive to create bootable media.

Then, select one of the following methods and learn how to copy Windows 10 from one PC to another.

Method 1: Clone Windows 10 to a new computer with same hardware 

Step 1. Connect the new computer hard drive to your old computer properly. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional. Click Clone > Disk Clone in order. 

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the source disk (Basic GPT) on the Windows 10 computer and click Next. And usually, the disk contains your operating system, installed programs and files, etc.

Source Disk

Step 3. Select the destination disk (Basic GPT) and click Next. 

Destination Disk

Then, you will be told that the destination disk will be overwritten. So if there are any important files, you need to backup them in advance. If not, click OK to continue.


Step 4. Make sure you're selecting the right source and destination disks. Tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading and writing speed if the target disk is an SSD and click Start Clone to start the process of cloning Windows 10 to new computer. 



  • If you don't tick the sector-by-sector clone feature, this software will clone only used sectors of hard drive in the old computer. It's amazing if you want to clone a larger drive to a smaller drive, even for different computers.
  • If the target drive is larger, you need to enable the Edit Partitions feature to prevent the cloned drive shows the wrong size issue. Select Add unused space to all partitions unless you want to extend space for a specific partition, it's automatic and works well. 

Step 5. Cloning can take a long time to complete, depending on the data stored. Wait until the process is complete, and click Finish to confirm it. Then, disconnect the target hard drive from your old computer and install it on new computer. Boot your new computer from the cloned drive. If it doesn't boot successfully, you need to set it as the first boot option. 

Change Boot Order

Method 2: Transfer Windows 10 to a new computer with dissimilar hardware

Furthermore, this software is capable of restoring Windows 10 images to a new hard drive on a different computer, even if the hardware differs, thanks to its Universal Restore feature. This feature ensures that all essential drivers are installed to enable the computer to start up successfully.

  • To acquire chipsets, audio, and other drivers, you can visit the website of your PC manufacturer or motherboard manufacturer and download them from there. Similarly, for graphics drivers, you can navigate to the websites of Nvidia, AMD, or Intel. Now, let's delve into the detailed steps to transfer a Windows 10 hard drive to a new computer with dissimilar hardware.

Here are the detailed steps to transfer a Windows 10 hard drive to a new computer with dissimilar hardware.

Step 1. Create a disk image on an old computer

Run AOMEI Backupper, click Backup, and select Disk Backup to start the process of creating a disk backup image in Windows 10. You will be asked to select the source disk and new drive for the backup task and then click Start Backup.

Disk Backup

Step 2. Create a bootable USB on old computer

Switch to Tools and select Create Bootable Media. Then, you will be asked to select bootable disc type (Windows PE or Linux), and storage device (USB, CD/DVD or ISO file).

Create Bootable Media

Step 3. Restore disk image to a new computer

Step 3.1. Insert the bootable USB into a new computer and restart it, press a special key (eg: ESC, F11, F2, etc) to enter the BIOS mode. Then, set the bootable USB as first boot option, save changes, and boot from it. After loading, AOMEI Backupper will pop up.

Step 3.2. To restore disk image, please connect the drive with the previously created disk image to your computer. Then, click Restore, and click Select Image File to find the external hard drive and disk image on it. It’s an image file with .adi file extension.

Select Image File

Step 3.3. Choose Restore the entire disk, and then click Next.

Restore Entire Disk

Step 3.4. Select the hard drive on new computer to store the disk image. Then, click Next.

Select Destination

Step 3.5. By default, this software will check the Universal Restore feature if it detected the new computer has different hardware. Click SSD Alignment to improve SSD disk performance if you are moving Windows 10 to an SSD. Then, click Start Restore to restore Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware. 

Move Windows 10 to New Computer

Step 3.6. Restart your computer, and it will try to boot from the disk with the restored OS. If not, please set it as the first boot option in BIOS and try again. 

Tip: To restore disk image to multiple computers, the easiest way is to deploy system images over the network with "AOMEI Image Deploy" feature. It's available on AOMEI Backupper Technician or TechPlus edition. 

How to transfer Windows 10 license to a new computer

If you are told that your Windows is not activated, you can reactivate it using a Microsoft account. The premise is that you have linked the license to a Microsoft account. If not, you need to deactivate it on Windows 10 and then use it to activate the new computer. 

To check it out, open the old computer, press “Win + I” and go to “System” > “About” > “Windows Specifications” > “Change the product key or upgrade your edition of Windows”, then it will tell you if the Windows is activated, just like the message “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account”.

Reactive Windows 10

Then, select one of the following methods and activate your new computer with a Windows 10 license. 

Method 1: Activate a new computer with Microsoft account 

For the first situation, to reactivate Windows 10 on a new computer, you just need to log in with the same Microsoft account and validate the license with the following steps.

Step 1. Log in to your account on, and navigate to My Microsoft Account page through this option under the user account.

Step 2. Click View All Devices to check devices associated with an account.

View All Devices

Step 3. Scroll down and select the PC you wish to deactivate.  Click Info and Support > Remove this Device > I'm ready to remove this device and Remove.

Remove This Device

Step 4. Search activation, select Activation settings and open it. If you see your copy of Windows could not be activated, please continue to see steps below. If, for some reason, it says it has been activated, just exit this window and enjoy your new computer.

Step 5. Click Troubleshoot and I changed changed hardware on this device recently If it says Windows wad unable to activate. 

Change Hardware Recently

Step 6. Select the new PC you are using, click this is the device I'm using right now , and Activate. Wait a few seconds, you will get the Windows is activated message. 

Method 2: Deactivate Windows 10 and reactivate new computer 

If your license is not linked to Microsoft account, try this method. Below are steps to deactivate Windows 10 and reactivate nea w computer.

Step 1. Search cmd in the start menu and select Run as administrator

Step 2. Typ the following command to uninstall product key from Windows and registry. Please remember to hit Enter in order. 

  • slmgr /upk
  • slmgr. vbs /cpky


Step 3. Enter slmbr.vbs /dli to confirm you uninstall the product key successfully.

Step 4. Now go to the activation settings window again. Scroll down to Change product key and enter Windows 10 license key you previously uninstall. 

Change Hardware

FAQs about Transferring Windows 10 to a new computer

1. Does Windows 10 have a migration tool?
Yes, Windows 10 provides a migration tool known as Microsoft's User State Migration Tool (USMT) for transferring user files, profiles, and settings, also referred to as the user state.

2. Do I need to reinstall Windows 10 with a new SSD?
When upgrading to a new SSD, reinstalling Windows 10 is necessary. Start by removing the HDD, then install the new SSD. Use a USB bootable flash drive and adjust your BIOS settings to boot from the USB. Finally, perform a Clean Install of Windows 10.

3. Will I lose Windows if I replace my SSD?
Replacing your SSD won't result in losing Windows if you switch to a larger one. However, you'll need to reinstall everything, including the operating system and applications. To avoid this, consider cloning your old SSD to the new one, allowing for a seamless replacement without data loss.

Written in the end

Using AOMEI Backupper, transferring Windows 10 to a new computer with different hardware becomes simple. You have the option to either clone the disk directly within Windows 10 or utilize the "Universal Restore" feature to restore a backup image. However, it's essential to consider factors like Windows license keys and hardware compatibility while performing the transfer.

What's more, it's suggested to create a disk backup before you make a major change. To make it easier, you can create a portable version of AOMEI Backupper and run it off a flash drive. It also allows you to deploy images to multiple computers over a network at a time. Learn more on the edition comparison page. 

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.