Move a Windows 10 drive to a new PC as-is?

Brass Contributor

I am in the process of moving to a new DIY PC (Intel NUC). I have an idea that I could just move the C: drive from my old PC to this new one and avoid having to install any applications or go through any customizations. 


License questions aside, will I be able to do this without any functional breakage? I took two internal “data” drives and am moving that data to a larger external hard drive so I am assuming those applications and files are going to be ok. 

3 Replies



This usually works if computer A is the same model as computer B. In this case you're moving to another computer model, so you will with most certainty have alot of drivers that are incompatible. This could be solved, but in most cases this is alot of work. Another aspect of this is how Windows 10 is licensed. Some Windows 10 installations is licensed with OEM license, which basically means that the license is "hard-coded" onto the motherboard of the computer, and if you switch hardware Windows will proably start prompt you with "Please activate Windows 10..."


Conclusion: if the hardware difference is minimal, this may great, if not, don't go that road :)

Good news. I took the jump and went from a 5+-year old HP Proliant Microserver to an 8th-gen Intel NUC and simply inserted my C: drive from the old computer to the new one and except for Windows not being activated, all else worked fine. There were a ton of driver updates but Windows 10 was able to detect all of them and install the updates. I had my Windows 8.1 Pro license key for the previous computer that I was able to use on this one. 

Hello again, glad to hear that Windows did such great work on retrieving all the drivers. 


Have a good one :)