By Ivy / Last Updated February 26, 2020

Can I move Windows 10 to another computer with dissimilar hardware?

“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 new computer with dissimilar hardware, will it automatically run Windows 10 or do i need to purchase a new key? Thanks in advance.”

The needs to move Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware

On the internet, there are many users who want to move Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware. And there are some common situations in the following.

  • You have a old computer and want to replace it with new one. As the user case shows, there are many users whose computer does not work properly, so users may want to replace it with a new one. But it’s difficult to find a computer with the same hardware as old one.

  • You have changed the hardware of computer. Owing to certain reason, you may change the hardware of computer before creating a system backup, such as, motherboard, processor, chipset. So, even if you restore image to the same computer, it’s different hardware restore.

  • Your system is crashed but you don’t have a system backup of this computer. If you does not create a system image before system failure, the only chance to restore your computer is to use a system image on different computer. But there is possibility that your computer cannot boot successfully.

  • You don’t want to reinstall Windows from scratch. Reinstalling is a waste of time and energy, because this operation will remove the current system, installed apps and files, and only give you a new system as well as all default apps and settings as instead. So, you need to install the necessary apps and all your files will lose.

  • You have a bare computer. If you use system image to restore bare computer, it’s dissimilar hardware restore. Because the system image is created on another computer and have different hardware with bare computer.

The problems to migrate Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware

Many users report that my system fail to boot owing to hardware issue. Next, I’ll show you the details.

  • The first one is licensing problem. License mainly has two types, including Retail and OEM. If you are using Retail license, you can transfer it to another computer but one license can only be used on a computer. But if you are using OEM license, you cannot move it to another computer and it’s tied the first computer.

  • The second one is firmware (BIOS, UEFI) issue. BIOS use MBR partition style and boot from an active partition while UEFI use GPT and boot EFI system partition. So, you cannot boot from MBR disk by restoring a system image create on GPT disk, and vice versa.

How to migrate Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware?

As you can see from above, it’s not easy to migrate Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware. So, different hardware restore becomes a big headache for many computer users. How to solve this problem? Here are two available solutions.

  • Restore Windows 10 to new computer with “Universal Restore”. Universal Restore is a special feature designed for computer with different hardware and make sure the computer can boot successfully.

  • Clone Windows 10 to different hardware using “System Clone”. Compared with previous version of Windows, Windows 10 has a good compatibility. So your computer is no longer affected by the device driver and you are able to clone Windows 10 to new computer.

During the migration process, you will use AOMEI Backupper Professional, which supports “Universal Restore”, “System Clone”, “Disk Clone”. All of these operations can help you migrate Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware regardless of partition style.

Method 1: Backup and Restore Windows 10 to new computer with dissimilar hardware

Before restoring image to new computer with dissimlar hardware, you need to prepare the following things first.

  • Create a system backup and save it to external hard drive. Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and open it, then click Backup and System Backup and finish the rest of steps according to the on-screen instructions.

To backup and restore Windows 10 to new computer:

Step 1. Boot computer from bootable media. Insert the bootable media and the external hard drive with your system image, press a special key (usually F8) to enter the BIOS mode to select where to boot from, and you will get into the interface of AOMEI Backupper.


Step 2. Select image from external hard drive. Click Restore, and click “Select Image File”, then find your external hard drive and system image on it.

Select Image File Winpe

Step 3. Then, select system backup image and click Next.

Select Backup Image

Step 4. Choose “Restore this system backup” and "Restore system to other location",then click Next.

Restore To Other Location

Step 5. Select a destination path for your system backup and click Next.

Select Destination

Step 6. Preview the summary and tick “Universal Restore”, then click “Start Restore”. Just wait until the process is completed 100%.

Universal Restore Other Location

If you want to restore to a different location, you can tick Restore system to other location in “Step 4” and the select a partition.
If this software does not find the original location of system, you need to manually select a path after “Step 4”.
Logically, Windows 10 has a good compatibility and can avoid driver issue of different computer, so you don’t need to use “Universal Restore” feature. But, for security reasons, you’d better tick this option in Windows 10. But if your computer is Windows 7, 8, 8.1, you must tick this option.

Method 2: Clone Windows 10 to new computer with different hardware

Step 1. Connect external hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected.

Step 2. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional, then Click Clone and System Clone. To clone disk, you can click Disk Clone.

Choose System Clone

Step 3. Select the external hard drive as the destination path and click Next.

Select First Partition

Step 4. Preview the details of both disk and click Start Clone.

Preview Clone

If the external hard drive is SSD disk, please remember to tick “SSD Alignment”. It can accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSDs and make your computer run more smoothly.
If you want to clone all sectors whether used or not, you can use “Sector by sector clone”.
If you want deploy image to multiple computers, you can use the built-in tool AOMEI Image Deploy. But this tool is only available on AOMEI Backupper Tech or TechPlus. You need to upgrade to it first.

Step 5. Install Windows 10 on new computer. After cloning, you need to install external hard drive on new computer, restart your computer, press specific key (usually F2 or ESC) to enter BIOS, go to boot option and move external hard drive to the first boot options by clicking “+”, then press F10 to restart your computer. If you can use your computer as normal, the cloning process is successfully.

Witten in the end

When it comes to moving Windows 10 to new computer with different hardware, many users may feel a little tricky. Because there are many problems during the process, such as, device driver, license, firmware.

But now, AOMEI Backupper can help you realize this goal via “Universal Restore” and “System Clone” or “Disk Clone”. If you are still bothered by hardware issues, you can download AOMEI Backupper Professional and try the given methods in the above.