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switched laptop harddrives. can't activate windows.


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#1 Sploog321

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 08:17 PM

I switched the harddrives from one laptop to the other and I can't use windows update cause it says my windows might be invalid and I need to register with the product key, but I don't have the product key/don't know where to get it cause I don't have any of the w7 CDs as I bought these laptops preinstalled with w7.

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 08:24 PM

The Windows installation provided with a computer is licensed for that computer alone, unless it is a full retail version of Windows. If the laptops do not have a COA label containing the product key, the Windows may not be a legitimate installation.

If you really need to use the hard drives the other way around to how they were supplied, the way to do it would be to image each drive and transfer the images between drives. That way the Windows belonging to each computer stays with that computer, and the only hardware change being the hard drive should not trigger activation.

Edited by Platypus, 05 February 2016 - 08:24 PM.

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#3 Sploog321

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 08:42 PM

The Windows installation provided with a computer is licensed for that computer alone, unless it is a full retail version of Windows. If the laptops do not have a COA label containing the product key, the Windows may not be a legitimate installation.

If you really need to use the hard drives the other way around to how they were supplied, the way to do it would be to image each drive and transfer the images between drives. That way the Windows belonging to each computer stays with that computer, and the only hardware change being the hard drive should not trigger activation.

what is CoA label?

#4 Platypus

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 08:48 PM

COA is Certificate of Authenticity, and systems with this should have a small label attached, of this style:
 

HardwareCOA.gif


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#5 Sploog321

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Posted 05 February 2016 - 09:19 PM

it worked thanks, but do you have any idea why this happened? I've never had this happen before while switching laptop harddrives.



#6 Platypus

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 02:55 AM

In one way or another it comes down to the OS being keyed to the hardware. The Compaq I needed to reload last week picked up its code from a BIOS tattoo, Because the HDD had failed & lost the restore partition, I had to load Windows from a DVD. The product key from the CoA sticker didn't match the Windows type, so it could not activate - I needed to do a manual activation by phone, no drama. But even if there isn't a hardware tattoo, exceeding the hardware change "score" by using Windows on a different mainboard will usually trigger activation.


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#7 dc3

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 10:29 AM

There are hardware identifiers related to the motherboard which can result in the operating system malfunctioning.  The operating system recognizes the identifiers related to the motherboard it is installed with.  When the hdd/ssd is moved to a different motherboard the operating system sees the new identifiers and basically becomes confused.  This can result in the operating system not being able to boot.

 

For a future reference please read the following.

 

If you run sysprep on the HHD/SSD with Windows 7 or 8.1 before using it with another motherboard you should be be able to boot from it without any complications. You want to remove all hardware identifiers from the HDD/SSD, this generalizes the drive.
 
Click on the Start orb, then type cmd in the Search box.
 
cmd will appear under Programs above the search box, right click on it and choose Run as administrator.
 
This will open the Elevated Command Prompt.
 
In the Elevated Command Prompt type in CD C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep, then 
use the command: sysprep /generalize /oobe /shutdown.
 
Don't power the drive back on until it's in the other computer.
 
Note: You'll want to install the new motherboard chipset drivers for the new motherboard after moving the drive.

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