View Full Version : Can I hook up my laptop's hard drive to rest of desktop?

September 26th, 2012, 07:05 AM
Hi folks,
I have a basic laptop. It comes with integrated Intel graphics. It has Windows 7 installed on the main partition.

Is it possible to connect the laptop's hard drive to a desktop computer's:

discrete/dedicated video card (e.g. AMD/Nvidia)

Why do I want to do that?
Because I'm thinking of getting a desktop computer with a discrete/dedicated video card and enough RAM to run modern PC games without having to invest in another copy of Windows 7.

And I plan on building my PC from scratch. From what I understand, if I buy a complete PC, Windows 7 will already be included. But I don't need a complete PC, because I already have a nice tower case. Actually, I probably want everything else but the outside case. But I really hate to have to buy another copy of Win7 when I already have Win7 on my laptop.

September 26th, 2012, 09:11 AM
One computer - one license.
Two computers - two licenses...

Thats the case, unfortunatelly...


But you are free to install as many Ubuntu systems on other computers, it isn't bound with EULA-s and other restrictive stuff...

September 26th, 2012, 09:24 AM
In this post, "one computer" is defined by the hard drive, correct? I would not need to buy another Windows license if I can connect my laptop hard drive to other components.

September 26th, 2012, 09:27 AM
If you are sharing your HD with two CPU,s and as such using the same OS install you will need two Win 7 licences.

September 26th, 2012, 09:39 AM
Thanks, KiwiNZ. Do you have a reference for that?

September 26th, 2012, 09:40 AM
If KiwiNZ's statement is true, what happens if someone upgrades his CPU (discarding the old CPU and using only the new one)?

September 26th, 2012, 09:47 AM
You would ring Microsoft discuss it and see if they will activate.

September 26th, 2012, 09:48 AM
Thanks, KiwiNZ. Do you have a reference for that?

yes the Windows EULA

September 26th, 2012, 09:52 AM
Do you mean to say that if I upgrade the processor, Windows 7 on the hard drive will refuse to work with the new processor?

September 26th, 2012, 10:17 AM
Do you mean to say that if I upgrade the processor, Windows 7 on the hard drive will refuse to work with the new processor?

Look here:

If your W7 is OEM, the MS license says you cannot use it on a new system. OEMs can only be installed once, on the original system. If a key component failed, you may try to activate by phone. You will have to explain what happened.

If your W7 is the upgrade version and you have the original disks and product code for the qualifying OS, you can perform a clean install on the new machine and activate it.

If you have the retail W7, you can perform a clean install and activate it.

In the case of upgrade and retail licenses, you can only run that W7 product code on one machine at a time. If you install it on a new machine, you must delete it from the older machine.

September 26th, 2012, 10:22 AM

Isn't it the case that each windows installation will include details of the cpu, graphics cards and other configuration details, so that if you connect the hard disk to another configuration you would need to re-install windows.

At that point the configuration details in the installation would change? So there would still only be one windows installation as windows would have to be re-installed each time you moved the hard disk (assuming you have an install disk). Probably not worth the bother ....

September 26th, 2012, 10:26 AM
So you want a hard-disk that holds a copy of Windows 7 that boots and runs your laptop and be able to transfer or connect that disk to your desktop and then boot Windows 7 there?

That will not work. As already mentioned, the EULA forbids it, the OS detects and prevents it and even if the second two factors would not already prevent it, it would not work because the hardware on the two machines is different so needs different drivers.

It is possible to buy computers that come without an OS. (Though you have to look a bit harder) I bought a nice Asus barebone in June, the shop had already added CPU, RAM, DVD-drive and hard-disk without OS. I added more RAM, a graphics card, a SSD and installed Kubuntu on it.

September 26th, 2012, 03:36 PM
Do you mean to say that if I upgrade the processor, Windows 7 on the hard drive will refuse to work with the new processor?

No, it will continue working. The worst you will have to do is reactivate it.

There are different versions of windows OEM, Retail & Enterprise I think.

OEM - Is what comes with most laptops and desktops preinstalled. you cannot transfer this version of windows to another machine (unless it's the same brand/model). I suspect your version is OEM but you should be able to tell that from the codes on the sticker below the laptop.

Retail - Is a boxed version of windows you buy or the counter or online and not linked to a new pc. You can transfer this to different PCs as long as you only run one copy of it and you would have to activate it when installed on a new motherboard etc.

Enterprise - Something big corporations buy in bulk with special license agreements. Not for the man in the street.

September 26th, 2012, 04:33 PM
Windows 8 will have a feature that allows this though called "Windows2go".