Migrate whole OS without major reinstall

Hi, how can I migrate my whole OS without major reinstallation. I am migrating between two different machines.

It’s Windows 10/C10 and I am trying to avoid having have to reinstall everything.

There must be someone who has done it?

PS I don’t mind some reinstalls but it can take 1-2 weeks which I would like to avoid.

Migrate from what ?

I am migrating between two different machines and trying to avoid a complete reinstall.

Actually I used Macrium Reflect Home edition to image one SDD to another completely. Migrating between machines may work today (even between AMD and Intel). For instance I moved an SSD between a laptop, a self-build Intel Xeon and a Medion Intel Celeron and after the auto HW detection and installaton was completed, it worked. But there may be a Wiindows 10 license issue because my Windows 10 have all a digital license, which means when I am installing a new Windows from scratch I am not using a serial number, instead I have to specify the OS version (S, N, Home, Pro) when I start the process and during the installation it will be activated by the hardware identifier of my computer (I know from some issues in the past, that Microsoft uses or used the NIC adapter to bind the license > once disabled via BIOS Windows was no longer activated). So, depending if you have a key to install the Windows 10 system on any new computer, you should be fine, I guess

Thanks. This is so helpful.

activations will be a crapshoot, except for the dongled stuff.
just go with the flow …

but here is the single, crucial technical trick you need to observe when migrating to a different mainboard / chipset :
make sure to reset your SATA controllers to the generic MS drivers before imaging / cloning ! :bulb:
else your new system will not boot.
anything else can be updated after the move, only the SATAs are mission critical.

btw, have you considered to migrate your entire boot disk to the new PC, and run the new disk(s) as data drives ?
(you’ll still need to do the SATA trick :exclamation: )
ime, this will save you a lot of re-activation trouble, though probably not 100%.
C/R is a bbitch … :imp:

good luck,

Rhino, thank you.

There’s a lot there.

Did you mean reset controllers on the device manager control panel? If not where is this info accessed?

To complicate matters I’m thinking of doing this via laptop, macbook pro running boot camp (current setup).

Finally I wasn’t clear on the last paragraph. Did you mean run the OS from external drives?

I’d appreciate the clarity. Avoiding weeks of setup would be a godsend.

yes, in Device Manager.
set all SATA controllers back to generic MS drivers.
you will be asked to reboot - don’t ! :bulb:
just shut down the PC, boot from CD or USB (i.e. not into Windows :exclamation: ) and image your boot drive (I use True Image from CD, there might be others).
bingo - the image will.have the generic SATA drivers, write it over to your new PC.
it will boot on the unknown hardware without an issue, then you can install the proper chipset drivers etc.

(probably even better) Plan B :
see above, right until shutdown.
move the old SSD / HDD to your new PC.
use that as your “new” boot drive again, same as above - boot, install new drivers - the disk(s) that came with the new PC will serve as data drives, internal or external.
this method will probably keep more C/R activations intact than the method above, I have even seen Windows not needing re-activation occasionally.

I’ve done both methods around 50 times total, 100% success. :sunglasses:
of course your original Windows should be perfectly healthy, or it doesn’t really make sense.

sorry, zero bootcamp experience. :arrow_right:
but Windows always needs some kind of SATA drivers to boot, so there is a good chance one of these methods will prove helpful anyway.

Good luck,

This is huge, can’t thank you enough for this fella.

So to summarize:

  • Set SATA drivers to generic in device manager (MacBook Pro /W10)

  • Shutdown PC

  • Boot from USB/CD/Image

  • Clone old-image to new PC whilst running from USB/CD/Image installation

  • Restart into new-installation

  • Windows should work it’s magic

About right?

PS I cannot physically move the drives between PCs, but only the images/clones.

sounds about right ! :exclamation:
and if you add another easy step, taking a safety image before even starting out, you will not lose anything, you can always roll back and try again. :sunglasses:

like I said, I’ve done this successfully dozens of times.
the only unknown variable is bootcamp, every single DAW in my neck of the woods is a desktop PC with RME interface, so we usually just swap the physical disk (unless it’s technically obsolete - then it’s the imaging method).

Come to think about it, the issue is only logical.
Windows has drivers for SATA up to, say, 10/2019 (random example).
now you force it to boot into 2020 hardware, using specific drivers -> boot error. :frowning:
Windows can’t know what it’s dealing with there.
every chipset on earth is built to cooperate with Win’s generic drivers however - or you couldn’t even install Windows from scratch … :bulb:
you will still need to install all the other drivers then, chipset > VGA > all the rest, reboot when asked.
and if you currently have e.g. sample folders in F:\Samples, better make sure to recreate the identical file structure, to make it easy on your VSTi.

good luck,

btw, just read the forum will get outsourced to a 3rd party platform, guess I won’t follow there. :unamused:
not interested in those datamining platforms. :imp:
as long as this old forum is still alive, I’ll do my best to reply.


Got it, my samples are on an independent drive.

What! :astonished: Oh dear, I never knew. I’m right behind ya fella haha, don’t want any part of that either.

Either way many thanks Rhino.

you’re welcome ! :slight_smile: