How do I change drive in laptop but still keep windows key?


Hello everyone,,

Long story short. Every time I’ve tried to change harddrives on laptops (HDD-> SSD) windows keeps crashing on me giving me error codes like “0xc0000428”. Iv’e read that the keys are only valid if the manufactured parts stays the same, is this true? I’ve got the license and product key for my laptop with HDD. Will it be valid if I change to SSD and type in the same keys?

Is there even a way (with or without buying a new windows 10 key) to make the laptop work when replacing the hdd to a ssd?

Comments (5)

5 responses to “How do I change drive in laptop but still keep windows key?”

  1. Avatar


    The motherboard is the main part that has to stay the same, the rest, including the drive can be replaced, although replacing everything at once (new drive, more memory, new video card etc. on a desktop) would probably be enough to trigger Windows into asking you to call Microsoft.

    Even so, I've never had any problems with manual activation.

    Doing a clean install and entering the old license number should not cause any problems.

  2. Avatar

    Alastair Cooper

    If you're using Windows 10 and only replacing the drive, then if Windows 10 was activated before then it should just automatically and silently activate again - without you even needing to re-enter the key. Microsoft generates and records a hash for each activated machine, so that they can recognise machines that are licensed as soon as they connect to the activation server.

  3. Avatar


    Shouldn't even need to enter the Key. I just replaced the HDD with an SSD and added more Ram to my wife's laptop, did a clean install of Windows 10 and it validated as soon as it was online.

    • Avatar


      In reply to skborders:

      PCs that come with Windows 10 generally have the Windows OEM key stored in the UEFI, if they are pre-built. That will not necessarily be the case for Windows 7 (or a PC upgraded from 7 to 10).

      As we are talking about a laptop going from HDD to SSD, I was assuming it was a little older.

      • Avatar


        In reply to wright_is:

        I could be wrong but I had thought if you didn't have UEFI Microsoft Stored the configuration in the Cloud. My Wife's laptop came with Windows 8, it had no trouble with the reinstall. Same with my Lenovo that came with Windows 7. I have done a wipe and reinstall several times on it and it always activates.

Leave a Reply