Can I legally install my original Windows OS on a replacement drive?

Anonymous March 18, 2014
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I have a Dell Inspiron laptop 3.5 year old.  I am using Windows 7 Home Basic genuine version. My hard disk getting noisy.  I want to know if I change my hard disk to new one, can I install the genuine Windows 7 Home Basic version as it was on my previous hard disk on my laptop? Is there any software to improve my hard disk noise problem? Thanks.

  1. Dalsan M
    March 20, 2014 at 8:23 am

    As mentioned, you can install the same Windows 7 on a different hard drive. Usually it will not trigger a major hardware change to where the activation would be problematic. What triggers this is usuallya motherboard change. If you find yourself having problems, follow Oron's advice. Otherwise, purchase a USB to 2.5 inch SATA cable or a 2.5 inch portable hard drive enclosure, about $25USD, and clone or "image" the drive like Bruce suggests. Other than being time consuming, it would be much less of a hassle and you would not lose any information or data, just make sure the new drive is as big or bigger than the old one to make the process easier.

  2. Oron J
    March 19, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    You can definitely do it. Although the Windows activation software checks for hardware changes, the fact that this is a laptop and therefore this is the only hardware change means that Windows will almost certainly continue to work as before. If you do need to reactivate, do so online, and if this fails, call Microsoft and reactivate by phone.

  3. Hovsep A
    March 19, 2014 at 8:44 am

    you can change the hard drive, but i think OEM Windows key cannot activate non-OEM Windows system, in this case you will need to reinstall Windows through A recovery disc perhaps you got it with Dell Inspiron, if not then you have to create with Dell Recovery Utility. Windows OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard. Unless for some reasons the Windows license is also linked to the hard drive...

  4. Bruce E
    March 18, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    You can install Windows 7 HB on your replacement drive. If you have the appropriate cables, you could even clone your original hard drive onto the new drive to avoid all of the hassle of a complete rebuild. The only thing you may need to do afterward is reactivate Windows.

    In most cases, noise emanating from a hard drive indicates failing bearings or actuator motor. With a laptop though, it can be more difficult to isolate the real source of the noise. What may seem to be coming from the hard drive may be coming from one of the fans. You may want to check those as well to ensure they are clear of obstructions, are not gunked up with dust, etc. If you are sure it is the hard drive, you should replace it as soon as possible.