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HD to SSD swap out, do I need to buy Windows again?

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Hi,

Today I acquired a used Sony VAIO VPCEH laptop (VPC-PCG71911M) for £80 from a relative, in fully working order. It has a Windows 7 sticker on it and the seller made use of the free Windows 10 update (when MS was offering this service a long time back).

I want to swap out the HD for an SSD as it's super slow, in fact slower than slow as if it's failing or something. Would I need to purchase Windows 10 or will the upgrade recognise the current license. I was hoping to use the Windows media creation tool to install the OS on the SSD in hopes it would be automatically activated.

Also one other question, it's an i3 laptop with 4GB RAM. I only need this to use basic applications like MS office, browsing, etc. Is 4GB memory sufficient?

Thanks in advance!
 
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The SSD will make all the difference; as long as the i3 and 4GB of (I presume DDR3) are enough, which they are, you'll be fine.

Windows 10 works like this; once you clean install and allow Windows to set itself up, it'll connect to its activation services online. Generally, with minor hardware changes, it can see that you still have the same computer and will activate itself. With a CPU+motherboard upgrade, it can get confused, but usually just with a quick reentry of the activation code it'll get back on track.

This is from the perspective of someone who always has their Windows linked to their Microsoft account, however. My digital licences are all already on there, which makes it easy for the activation service.

The 7 to 10 upgrade IIRC converts the entire installation and is no longer available for free, so I don't think you should downgrade to try your luck.

According to some tech sources, the activation service in 10 now supports 7, 8.1 and 10 keys so you should be able to boot right into 10.
 

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The license is more than likely linked to your relative so you will need his user and password. Or as @FreedomEclipse pointed out reinstall Win7 with the OEM key and try for the free upgrade.
 
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The SSD will make all the difference; as long as the i3 and 4GB of (I presume DDR3) are enough, which they are, you'll be fine.

Windows 10 works like this; once you clean install and allow Windows to set itself up, it'll connect to its activation services online. Generally, with minor hardware changes, it can see that you still have the same computer and will activate itself. With a CPU+motherboard upgrade, it can get confused, but usually just with a quick reentry of the activation code it'll get back on track.

This is from the perspective of someone who always has their Windows linked to their Microsoft account, however. My digital licences are all already on there, which makes it easy for the activation service.

The 7 to 10 upgrade IIRC converts the entire installation and is no longer available for free, so I don't think you should downgrade to try your luck.

According to some tech sources, the activation service in 10 now supports 7, 8.1 and 10 keys so you should be able to boot right into 10.
Worth a try... you might be able to upgrade to windows 10 for free


If its still got the OEM key sticker on the laptop - reinstall windows 7 with it on the SSD then use the link above to see if you can get windows 10 for free.
The license is more than likely linked to your relative so you will need his user and password. Or as @FreedomEclipse pointed out reinstall Win7 with the OEM key and try for the free upgrade.
Thanks guys!

I forgot to mention - he doesn't have the license linked to an MS email. He updated to windows 10 without one.

Should I just give it a shot and see if it works? Or is there a workaround?

If it goes south, i recently saw an article by TPU with Windows licenses up for grabs for around $11 (https://www.techpowerup.com/258337/goodoffer24-your-back-to-school-software-buddy-deep-discounts-on-windows-10-and-office) so I wouldn't mind paying for the product key. Is it as simple as purchase and receive the key in email and then activate Windows?
 

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You wont lose anything by giving it a go.
 
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Try cloning to the new ssd first, see how fast is then, before starting new, , , ,
Sorry i'm a little confused. Does this process help with the license validation?

Also by cloning, i'm assuming this is a process where the hard drive will be copied (like a snapshot) onto the SSD. Then I can disconnect the HD and use the SSD as the boot drive and all data will be 100% intact. Is this correct? Does Windows provide this cloning feature or which cloning software would be best?

+1 You'll need an external adapter.
SATA to USB adapter? Any chance you can link me with one on amazon.co.uk ? I looked it up and too many options gets me a little muddled as to which is best/fast/compatible
 
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I'd suggest using HDClone. They have a free version that's a bit slow, but it's imho the best drive cloning software out there.

And yes, you'd end up retaining all the data.

This should do the trick for the USB to SATA adapter, reliable brand with UK support.

You also have the option to bypass the software bit altogether by getting something like this.
 
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Image it/clone it as said above. It takes a lot less time than rebuilding the OS and solves licensing issues.
 
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Several SSD vendors offer free cloning software. Samsung does for sure I think Intel does as well. Cloning is probably the safest and easiest bet. You clone to the SSD via a USB adapter. After the cloning process is complete, you shut off the laptop, you remove the old drive and install the new SSD. If you want to reset the machine to base windows 10 you can run the Recovery > Reset this PC and choose keep nothing.

I have almost no experience with Sony laptops, so I cannot confirm how the licensing will work on a new install. I doubt you will have any issues licensing or otherwise but no promises...

I use Macrium Reflect myself. Free Version here...
 
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Instead of using an USB to SATA adapter, I'd suggest an actual enclosure so you can continue to use that HDD. Once the clone is successful (VERIFIED, like weeks later), you can wipe the HDD and use it for storage. This is just an example:
 
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with a SSD the 4gb could be enough, i have given away many i3 / 4gb laptops with similar price and everyone has been happy using them just cant have 10 facebook pages open at once ;)
 
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1. No, you can use your current key, either you choose cloning current system to the ssd or reinstall to ssd.
2. If you are satisfied with your current amount, than no (but dual channel and more ram can give you some smoother feeling if you are sensitive to this kind of responsiveness)
 
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Thanks guys!

I forgot to mention - he doesn't have the license linked to an MS email. He updated to windows 10 without one.

Should I just give it a shot and see if it works? Or is there a workaround?

If it goes south, i recently saw an article by TPU with Windows licenses up for grabs for around $11 (https://www.techpowerup.com/258337/goodoffer24-your-back-to-school-software-buddy-deep-discounts-on-windows-10-and-office) so I wouldn't mind paying for the product key. Is it as simple as purchase and receive the key in email and then activate Windows?
All you might need is the win 7 key it updated from.
I did similar ages ago but on a recent fresh start I even had to phone Microsoft's help team to get it authenticated, which they did but only after I found my old win 7 ulty box and code.
A copy across should be simpler and should not re authenticate.
 

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Just re-install Windows 10 fresh on the SSD. If it asks you for a key during the installation, just select "I don't have a key", then select the correct version of Windows 10 that matches the Windows 7 key on the sticker.(Windows 7 Home = Windows 10 | Windows 7 Pro = Windows 10 Pro)

Then, once Windows 10 is installed and booted, make sure you are connected to the internet, then go into the activation screen.(Settings -> Update & Security -> Activation) There is a chance that it will read the hardware ID from the activation servers and activate automatically. If it isn't automatically activated, click "Change product key", enter the Windows 7 key from the sticker. Windows 10 should then activate using the Windows 7 key. I've even done this very recently(like yesterday) with a Windows 7 key that was never upgraded to Windows 10 during the free period. Even though they say the free upgrade period is over, it still works as of this posting.
 
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It's tied to your hardware.

Put new drive in, install w10, should be good to go.
Unless you want the old data on there, then clone.
 
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It's tied to your hardware.

Put new drive in, install w10, should be good to go.
Unless you want the old data on there, then clone.
What he said.

Since it's not your Windows 10 install, I'd be tempted to do a clean install of W10 - just make sure you choose the same edition as what's on there for activation reasons.

Microsoft are coy about revealing exactly which hardware the license is tied to, for obvious reasons, but a disk change won't affect the license as I've done several.

Also, for light web browsing and general use, 4GB is fine. You'll want to avoid opening too many browser tabs at once but that's all you really need more RAM for on a casual web/office machine, and even then - running low on RAM with a half-decent SSD is nothing like as bad as running out of RAM with a mechanical drive.
 

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Since it's not your Windows 10 install, I'd be tempted to do a clean install of W10
Yep, I do a clean install on every computer I get. Even brand new ones.
 
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Regarding your question, usally Microsoft tires the product key to the motherboard so you can change cpu, ram, hdd, screen everything expect the motherboard and you will be good.

So go for it change that old hdd to a new ssd and get a faster pc and you will be happy :D
 
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Regarding your question, usally Microsoft tires the product key to the motherboard so you can change cpu, ram, hdd, screen everything expect the motherboard and you will be good.

So go for it change that old hdd to a new ssd and get a faster pc and you will be happy :D
You Can change motherboard too(I retained the Cpu) under certain conditions like blowing your old one up.
Though it may/will take a phone call to reactivate.
I have done this :)
 
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No, just install 10 on the SSD and it will recognize the motherboard. You don't need the license from 7 as long as it was running 10 before. Use the media creation tool

4 Gb works fine it just a little slow the first time you boot up.
 
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LEGEND!!!!

Definitely liking this solution. Besides cloning, this unit has much desired functions, for eg, SDHC card reader for my DSLR camera + eliminates the need for an external hard drive (my brothers got a few used 3.5" & 2.5" units laying around in his office). It's one of those moments "how on earth did this sort of thing elude me".

PURCHASED.....!

I will definitely run the clone feature and replace the HD. Once up and running, i'm leaning more towards a fresh install eventually. Although it would be interesting to see how well the SSD runs by comparison with a 6/7 year running OS (Win 7 to Win 10).
 
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