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Re: Migrating Dell HD to custom machine

Windows setup customizes each installation to the architecture of the computer that you are installing it on.  Moving a drive that is bootable on one computer to another computer of a different model or manufacturer usually results in a blue screen or other problems.  This is because the drivers loaded with Windows on one machine are usually not the same as the drivers needed for the second machine.  It is sometimes possible to cure this problem with a repair installation using a Windows installation DVD.

That brings up a second problem, however.  Your Dell computer is licensed for the version of Windows that was preinstalled on it.  That license cannot be transferred to a second computer.  If you received a Dell branded Windows re-installation DVD and tried to use it for the repair install, or tried to use it for a new installation, you would find that it would not activate.  The Dell installation DVD has code that examines the BIOS during setup.  If you are installing on the original computer the installation will self activate and not require you to do anything further.  If you attempt to use the DVD on a second, non-Dell, computer, the signature will not be found in the BIOS and if setup runs at all, the installation will demand to be activated (which Microsoft will refuse to do).

Dell Forum member since 2005

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