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Trying to help my neighbor out. The HDD on his son’s Lenovo IdeaPad laptop died. Not recognized in BIOS. Took it out of the laptop and hooked it up to a USB to SATA adapter and connected it to a working laptop. On the working laptop, Disk Management prompts to initialize the drive but then an error message pops up saying, “The request failed due to a fatal device hardware error”. Also tried a few different diagnostic programs to see if I could get my laptop to see the drive, but none worked. So pretty much from my experience the drive is done. It’s now in drive heaven.

So he’s going to buy a new SSD to replace the failed drive. Here’s where it gets tricky. Since the recovery partition to restore windows was on the failed drive, no way to restore that way. He never created recovery disks when he first bought the laptop.

He bought two of the same exact laptops, one for his son and one for his daughter. So I was thinking of two options: 1. Create recovery disks from his daughter’s laptop or 2. Clone the drive from that laptop and restore the clone to the new SSD on his son’s laptop. Then going through the Windows Reset process to get it to “out of the box” configuration.

With option 2 though, wouldn’t this create an issue with both laptops having the same Windows key/license? Or is the Windows license digitally signed to each laptop in the BIOS or some other hardware (i.e. CPU/motherboard).

I’m thinking option 1 would probably be best assuming I can in fact create some sort of recovery media from the working laptop.

Any thoughts/feedback/suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Hello,

The cloning routine pretty much regardless of which windows version is on the laptop would probably have the same problem with activation. Microsoft keys in the windows operating System to identify with the original hardware usually the motherboard to prevent the use of a single license being installed on multiple machines because they consider it pirating. there might be a workaround but I have never tried it but it makes sense that it might actually work. If the Machine that has the failed hard drive still has its Microsoft operating system registration sticker on it you could probably do the cloning and when you turn it on and go into windows use the correct license for that machine to activate it in substitution.

The first option you mentioned about creating restore discs from the laptop that is in good working order sounds like a more seamless and easier solution to use. The other alternative is if it is a Windows 10 machine you could always go to the Microsoft site and look for the media creator tool which will download the installation software. Doing it that way if you put it on a flash drive it will create itself as a bootable flash drive and all you would have to do is change the boot order in the bios to look for the USB as a boot drive.

Hope that helps with you deciding how to proceed.

Sincerely,

Wonder Woman
 

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It doesn't have to be tricky. Just do a Clean Install on the new SSD. The Windows product key is saved in the Bios.
Not universally. If you buy a system with no Windows installed, the way Microsoft recognizes the install is by using the motherboard "footprint".
 
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