Windows 7 forum

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Upgrading to SSD

Currently I'm running a valid copy of XP and am considering upgrading W7. I've also recently upgraded my MOBO and processor (i7 920) and had to reload XP. I've reloaded XP so many times I'm surprised the CD hasn't worn out. All of those reloads have never been an issue, regardless of HDD configurations, PCI cards, etc. I've read here and there that W7 won't allow a reload, or that 'activating' it becomes a real hassle after reload or hardware changes. So I have a couple of questions:

1) If I buy an upgrade copy of W7 and do a fresh install, is it only good for the one install (HDD crash, hardware change, etc.)?

2) Can I make a back-up image of my W7 installation and reload it as many times as necessary (HDD crash, etc.)?

3) I'm considering upgrading to an SSD to run the OS and use my HDDs for file storage. If I load W7 onto my current HDD, can I make a back-up image of the installation and blow it onto my new SSD?

I understand that there are certain files that Windows looks for on boot-up, and I've done a decent job of copying/modifying them with XP so Windows will boot to the drive I want, but is W7 locked down to the point where these files (or other files) can't be copied/modified, or even backed up?

Thanks for all your help!

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I am not an athority on windows 7 but

In reply to: Upgrading to SSD

I can tell you what I have read and done. I have read that using an Upgrade disk for a clean install for an XP machine can be done. If it causes problems for you, take a look here:
As far as the backup goes, I installed the Windows 7 Home Premium on an IDE drive because that was the spare I had. Later, I bought a new SATA drive and cloned the IDE install to the SATA. As far as the OS was concerned, it behaved as though it had been on the SATA. Just make sure you clone the whole disk. That means the special data partition AND the main body of the OS. If you have used cloning software before then you know that Windows uses two partitions for an install. Make sure it is activated and is good before running the clone software.
I have not used an SSD but it should not make a difference IMHO.

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Licensing answers...

In reply to: Upgrading to SSD

1.) No; you can install it as many times as you wish. However, if you change the hardware configuration you may be prompted to call a toll-free number and spend 5-10 minutes with an automated service, receiving a confirmation number to complete activation.

2.) Yes, you can image the drive and restore an unlimited number of times without issue, provided the hardware configuration remains roughly the same.

3.) Yes, you can clone a HDD to an SSD, provided that the cloning software supports such.

4.) Windows 7 uses a different series of files, which are more tightly integrated into the OS. However, you can still edit/backup/restore the configuration data as needed.

Hope this helps,

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Licensing answers

In reply to: Licensing answers...

Many thanks for all of your quick responses.

I thought I could do this, but wanted to check with someone who has more experience with this type of thing.

John, you seem to be the expert on this issue, and I've read your posts about OEM vs. Retail, but I guess I still have to ask: What are the consequences of installing OEM Windows on my own machine? How will Microsoft know if the purchaser of the OS is not the owner/operator of the hardware? Maybe if they tracked hardware ID's from a previous installation, but no such ID exists on a fresh build. And I've read about using the pre-installtion kit, but not that it was a requirement. Just curious what the real downside is to installing OEM over Retail. I understand if your answer might jeaopardize your relationship with Microsoft.

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OEm determination...

In reply to: Licensing answers

In short, there is no way of Microsoft currently verifying that the installer/user of an OEM copy is a system builder or an end user. Thus, you are on the honor system: don't share your food at an all-you-can-eat buffet, don't hold a pool party in your neighbors' backyard while they're away on vacation, and don't purchase an OEM license as an end user. I believe in honoring such terms, but the debate can always be taken up on Dr. Phil. Happy

1.) No free technical support.
2.) Inability to replace the motherboard or move the license to another machine.
3.) Cannot perform an upgrade installation.
4.) Prohibited by the latest licensing terms, making the installation technically illegitimate.


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Be sure you are aware of the WinSxS issue.

In reply to: Upgrading to SSD

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Space requirements

In reply to: Be sure you are aware of the WinSxS issue.

Thanks Bob, good to know. This is good advice since most of us dayworkers may only be able to afford a 40Gb SSD. I can see that getting used up fairly quickly. I have a handfull of SATA HDDs laying around, and I think (I hope) to keep the SSD fairly clean. This is new territory for me though, and I really appreciate your suggestions.


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Upgrading to SSD

In reply to: Upgrading to SSD


You can perform a clean install from a Windows 7 upgrade version however you will have to have a valid previous copy of Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Vista installed to validate the upgrade and activate the product key. Please note that when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 you will not have an "in place upgrade" option. You will however have the option to select "custom" install when prompted. The Windows 7 install process will then copy all of your data in "My Documents" over to a Windows.old folder within Windows 7 itself. All applications and documents stored in other locations will have to be reinstalled / transferred manually.
For more information on the Windows 7 Upgrade, please go here:

For additional assistance with the migration of Windows XP to Windows 7, please go here:

Microsoft Windows Client Team

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