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restore windows 10 disk image to different dell hardware?


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Is it possible to use Window's 10 backup -> create disk image and then restore that to newer dell hardware?

  1. Will windows 10 adapt to different driver requirements of the new hardware?
  2. Will the windows 10 license/activation cope with the laptop hardware changing from dell to different dell?
  3. Will other software typically detect a hardware change and invalidate its license requiring reinstallation?
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  1. I've done this many times and it works fine.  Windows will do a hardware discovery at first boot on the new system.  You will be on the hook to install needed drivers.  If the disk controller driver is not present then Windows will fail to boot.  With Dell systems, for best chance of success, switch the target system out of RAID mode in the BIOS setup before you make the transfer.  RAID mode requires a specific disk controller driver to be installed and this is typically done with the Windows install.
    • The disk image function built into Windows is a little picky about recovery.  The target disk must be equal size or larger to the original disk.  If it is one byte smaller then it will not allow you to complete the restore.  I personally use Macrium Reflect to do disk image backup & restore; it's a bit more flexible, and it is free.  You can create bootable USB media to use to execute the image restore.
  2. As @Etern4l said, if your Windows license came bundled with your system then it is tied to your hardware.  If the target system came with a license, then you can use that, as long as it is the same edition of Windows or an edition that you can upgrade to.  Use ProduKey to grab the product key from the BIOS if you need it.  (ProduKey may trigger antivirus alerts but it is safe to use.)
  3. Yes, other applications that require hardware activation (MS Office, Adobe, etc.) may notice that you are on new hardware.  If possible, "deactivate" these products before you switch and reactivate them afterwards.  My experience has been that even if you don't deactivate them first, you'll be able to reactivate them on the new hardware without too much hassle.  It may say it's going to deactivate the other version for you, or send you to a website to do something... it depends on the product and how they have it set up.
  • Thanks 2

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC


Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal)

  • M2 Max
    • 4 efficiency cores
    • 8 performance cores
    • 38-core Apple GPU
  • 96GB LPDDR5-6400
  • 8TB SSD
  • macOS 14 "Sonoma"
  • 16.2" 3456×2234 120 Hz mini-LED VRR display
  • Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3
  • 99.6Wh battery
  • 1080p webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8


Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 IPS display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3)
  • 95Wh battery
  • 720p IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader



  • Dell Precision 7770, 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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