Transfer Installed Windows 7 To a New Computer

If you’ve recently bought your new computer or made major changes in the hardware configuration, for instance you’ve changed your mother board of your computer, you might be unable to run the previously installed Windows 7 operating system. The very usual fact is that the users accept this situation and they reinstall the operating system in the new computer .
But, you can save your time and energy transferring the old installed Windows 7 operating system instead of reinstalling it in your new hardware configuration. The situation of transferring your operating system happens in the following cases:

  1. You’ve changed a major part of your hardware but the hard disk is same which contains the Windows 7 operating system.
  2. You have bought a new computer with different configuration and want to transfer the OS from your old computer in the new one.

Tip: How to Install Windows 7 from USB Flash Drive
Here, you’ll learn to transfer your old Windows 7 OS for new hardware configuration keeping the old hard drive unplaced. Let’s start.
Before changing your hardware devices follow the steps below.
Step 1. Boot Windows 7 normally and run the command prompt as administrator (Start >All Programs > Accessories >Right-click on Command Prompt > Click on ‘Run as administrator’).

Step 2. In the command prompt type: %windir%System32SysprepSysprep.exe, hit [Enter].
Step 3. The ‘System Preparation’ dialog box opens. Here, choose ‘Enter System Out-of-Box-Experince (OOBE)’ for ‘System Cleanup Action’, select the check box ‘Generalize’, select ‘Shutdown Options’ as ‘Shutdown’ and click ‘OK’.

Step 4. The ‘System Preparation’ tool generalizes now the Windows system setup and shutdowns after the completion. Caution: Do not run any other programs when the process is on the way.

Step 5. Now you can replace your new hardware or mount the hard disk to a new computer. After getting ready with your system, boot your PC from the hard disk which contains the generalized Windows 7.
Tip: Reset Windows 7 Password Without CD or Software.
Step 6. When booting, you cannotice it as if you are installing a fresh Windows 7 setup. It installs the default drivers and updates the system registry. The complete procedure needs one or two reboots depending on your system specifications.

Step 7. At last it boots finally and you need to enter all necessary information as needed at the time of a fresh installation.

Step 8. When creating a user for the PC, do not put the old user name as it already exists in the system.

You can create a temporary user for the purpose of completing the process and log-on with the old user name choosing from the list at the log-on screen. For instance, you can give the user name as Temp.

Step 9. You are almost done. Windows now boots to default OOBE first boot desktop. Notice that all your installed programs are there, also your old user profiles and folders as well. Windows installed the default drivers, though you can update them if you need.
Step 10. If you wish to delete the temporary user profile that you have earlier created, go to Control Panel > User Profile and delete that. In this case it is Temp. Obviously, this reduces both your time and energy. Share your thoughts with us.
Tip: Recover Data When Your Windows Operating System Crashes.


  1. I still prefer use Windows XP. Besides it is the most compatible windows for other apps, it is more faster and need lower requirements..

  2. Zammax: May be XP is more preferable to you but Windows 7 is well featured as well as with high security. However, thanks for your comment.

  3. Ok, i did the OOBE on my computer and transferred the harddisk to the new system(with one installed system on it), but unfortunately it stopped loaded up my system on my harddisk transferred when reaching “System is starting devices” and said “Windows could not finish configuring the system. To attempt to resume configuration, restart the computer.” And when i reboot it showed the same warning.
    I have loaded up setup.etl from Panther folder and looked it up on my installed system, got nothing special warning like reg keys failed or wtsoever…
    Any solutions?

  4. hey i tried it but my windows 7 is installed two times on my pc. now how? to un install it because of it my pc is running slow please tell now wat to do???????????.

  5. It failed for me. Command prompt says: “Sysprep cannot run on a computer already upgraded”.
    I presume it’s because I installed SP1 after purchasing Windows 7 Pro.

    • 1. BACK UP the registry FIRST – most people skip the backup but it’s critical when working the registry because you can seriously goober your computer if you don’t do this.
      Once you have it backed up, remove this key:
      2. Next, find this key:
      HKLMSYSTEMSetupSTatusSysprepStatusCleanupState and set the Hex value to 7
      3. Now open the command prompt as an administrator and type:
      slmgr /dli
      4. Run sysprep again and it should work now.

  6. Great article. Unfortunately it can’t be used after you’ve already changed hardware (due to mainboard failure).
    It would be nice if they made this util accessible under the F8 boot options so you could always run it.

  7. Will this work on a PC running an OEM version of Windows (which most do)? Because the OEM OS is only allowed to run on the PC it was sold with. So maybe Windows will give an error message saying “This copy of Windows is not activated”?

    • The OEM version runs on any computer provided you are running only one computer at a time. So, you can try this method with the OEM version too.

  8. Tanmay: Will this method work to move a 256GB SSD hard drive in a laptop running Win 7 Home Premium OS to a brand new laptop with a SSD 128GB running Win 8-8.1?
    I’d like to be able to remove the 128GB from the new one and transfer the 256GB in to the new laptop. Do I need to re-enter the Win 7 license number at some point during the “fresh installation”?

  9. Look like all was working great until the Hard drive was booting ( first time setup as stated ) but then had an error message pop up saying: “Windows could not parse or process unattend answer file [ c:windowsPantherunattend.xml] for pass [specialize]. A component or setting specified in the answer file does not exist. ”
    What do you think? Any help would be appreciated.

  10. You can transfer os to another computer with dissimilar hardware using universal restore. Many software on the market have this function, such as Acronic, Reflect, but it’s only available on the paid version. recently I found a freeware that can also do this trick. I ‘ve tried it and it worked OK. see for yourself.

  11. This will sound like a commercial but it isn’t. I have tried for a week to figure out how to transfer hard drives from one computer to another. I have been on many sites including this one. I have tried:
    Booting HD in safe mode to new computer . . . no luck.
    Running SysPrep . . . no luck.
    Easy Transfer wizard . . . no luck.
    Finally gave up and just started a restore using AOMEI Backupper (free version) and start the horrible finding/downloading/moving/installing weeks of stuff.
    I noticed an otherwise unused little check box called “Universal restore” IT WORKED. In minutes it restored a backup and downloaded all necessary drivers/chipset stuff etc. All except NVIDIA on both but easily picked up by using device manager on both.
    If you have or can make a free BU, I recommend it!
    I transferred
    a SSD from a HP dual core AMD to a Dell Precision 8 core Intel.
    a 1 terabyte hard drive from a Dell Precision 8 core Intel to a HP dual core HP.

  12. Probably,the pc has 1 gb ram and you use windows 7 ultimate,that need 2 gb of ram. To solve this problem,install a low windows version(like starter or home basic

  13. Can I usen this method to copy Windows 7 from my old computer onto my new completer (which came with windows 10 WHICH I HATE). The hard drive on my old computer kept crashing, so I had to get a new one.

  14. Hi..
    What i would like to ask is..
    I bought a new HP pro 400 with preinstall OEM win7 and an HDD 500GB but i want to replaced that disk with my SSD which also have OEM win7.
    Is that posible and if yes please provide a guide.In SSD i have programs and i dont want to format it.
    Will then be able to use the HDD in another pc?
    Thanks in advance

  15. I have dual boot OS with 2 HDD one installed win 7 64 ultimate and other HDD installed win 10 64 pro on my old pc. It asks me which OS i like to run at start. I am very hapy with this dual boot.
    İ made new pc İ7 6700K cpu, Gigabyte G1 gaming 7 MB, 32 GB 3000 Hrz DDR4 RAM, 4 GB nVidia quadro K2200 graphic card for 3D softwares and Samsung Pro 950 SSD 512 GB. I want to transfer my 2 HDDs as they are. I run %windir%System32Sysprepsysprep.exe as adminastrator on Win 7 HDD. It gave Error. I tried same with win 10 HDD and same result “Error”. When i connect my win 10 + win 7 HDD to new PC it asks as old PC which OS i prefer and if i select Win10 it run without problem. I turns blue screen or recover start up screen comes if i select win 7.
    What to do to solve this problem.

  16. I bought a used computer that has windows 7 professional installed in French. I also have a borrowed computer that has windows 7 home edition installed in English. I was wondering if I could use this method to install the windows 7 home edition(english) to the computer with the windows professional(french).
    So basically I just want an English language computer and I’ve tried changing the French language one to English but so far everything I’ve tried hasn’t worked and buying a language pack is not an option.


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