What do I need to change hard drives?

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Hey guys - I have a cheap HP laptop that I use for work with Win10 and the HDD is dying.. I have a new SSD arriving soon, but am wondering where to start and how to proceed? If this were a Linux distro I'd dive in, but since I don't a physical copy and am unsure of the license key, how would I go about getting 10 on the SSD? I really don't have a pile of files that I need to transfer - nothing that cant be tossed onto a flash drive and drag/dropped back on the new drive, so it seems like it should be a simple solution.

Thanks in advance!
 
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for starters, make sure you ordered the right type of ssd... don't be like me.
In a similar situation, I just ordered an ssd. there's just one kind right? with the sata header?
WRONG. That laptop takes an M2 type... which looks like a stick of Ram, but with the pins on one of the short ends as opposed to the long side..
 
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Windows 10 ISOs can be downloaded from Microsoft directly and put on a flash drive, just download the media creation tool, the license is tied to the motherboard BIOS, so it'll automatically find the license and install and activate the right edition of Windows 10.
 
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To boot from the flashdrive you made with the media tool you need to figure out which key you hit on your laptop to bring up the boot option menu and boot off of it, although if you're putting a new SSD with no OS on it in the machine, it'll probably boot off the flashdrive since it's the only bootable media in the system.
 

OVERKILL

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Hey guys - I have a cheap HP laptop that I use for work with Win10 and the HDD is dying.. I have a new SSD arriving soon, but am wondering where to start and how to proceed? If this were a Linux distro I'd dive in, but since I don't a physical copy and am unsure of the license key, how would I go about getting 10 on the SSD? I really don't have a pile of files that I need to transfer - nothing that cant be tossed onto a flash drive and drag/dropped back on the new drive, so it seems like it should be a simple solution.

Thanks in advance!

As @blufeb95 noted, use the Media Creation Tool to produce a bootable USB stick:

Once created, as noted, it should boot automatically since you won't have an OS on the new drive. If, for some reason it doesn't, hit ESC to bring up the HP startup menu and then choose Boot Menu (F9) from the list, which will show you your bootable USB to select.

It will pull the Windows license from the system BIOS, so should not ask you to select a version. On the off chance it does, make sure you choose the right one (probably Windows 10 Home) as if you select Pro and your license is for Home, it won't activate.
 
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You said old, but that's pretty vague. If the laptop was purchased with Windows 10 on it, chances are the license key is in the bios as others have noted.

Since I'm belt and suspenders, I'd probably still use a keyfinder program to get my keys and stash them somewhere safe, just in case.

Before you go swapping the drives, I'd D/L the media with the media creation tool and check to make sure it boots. Once you know the media boots, and you have a copy of the files you want to preserve, then swap the drive.

From there, boot from the media you crated and install a fresh install of Windows.
 

gathermewool

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I usually just buy a usb-to-m.2 (or SATA) and clone the disc using a free trial of Acronis or something. Super simple. If you want idiot proof, then buy a Samsung drive and use their own free Magician cloning software. To me, the additional cost of Samsungs is worth that alone.
 
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I usually just buy a usb-to-m.2 (or SATA) and clone the disc using a free trial of Acronis or something. Super simple. If you want idiot proof, then buy a Samsung drive and use their own free Magician cloning software. To me, the additional cost of Samsungs is worth that alone.
I have a cheap disk cloning tool from Amazon and use Macrium Reflect on my home PCs, and I have a HDD copier at work. Makes the process much easier.
 

OVERKILL

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I usually just buy a usb-to-m.2 (or SATA) and clone the disc using a free trial of Acronis or something. Super simple. If you want idiot proof, then buy a Samsung drive and use their own free Magician cloning software. To me, the additional cost of Samsungs is worth that alone.
The Kingston drive kits come with a free copy of Acronis.
 
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if you can i'd just take the very important things off the drive with a portable hard drive or flashdrive and put the ssd in without transferring anything or using any cloning software since you'd be gobsmaked just how loaded up with junk oem pre loaded builds of windows are.

my dell was taking up 96gb of storage and nearly 5gb of ram at idle with nothing in the background that wasn't already installed by dell. I tried to manually delete things but theyd re install anyway or just plain not delete. I tried doing the "fresh start" (baloney) option in windows and it did not delete the preinstalled dell crap just my data. I loaded a win 10 iso on a flashdrive using media creation tool and wiped and re installed windows. Only installing just 3 actually decent dell programs and my storage usage went down to just over 30gb and my ram usage was below 2.5 and it was snappier and it already had an nvme ssd.

Same thing with a sata ssd hp laptop but worse. Was taking up 107gb of storage out of the gate and ram was just over 4gb. By then i already knew to not bother with the bs fresh start thing and combed through the pre installed programs that were decent and took note of them then reinstalled windows and added the few back in and storage and ram went way down along with cpu usage at idle since it was a much weaker laptop than the dell.

Had an old acer pc that was slow to a crawl and loaded with junk. i simply took the important things off with my wd portable drive and re installed windows on the same hard drive which was too loaded with junk to even bother with. It booted into windows in almost a third of the time since it always had those acer bloatware programs from the start and then had all that accumulated junk.
 
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Many SSD's come with an OS migration tool. that is your simplest way. You may need a USB adaptor to get the new ssd online to copy the disk to it. If you dont care about any data then OS reload can also be easy if OEM has good recovery media.

I would turn that computer off and use a different one to sort out the method to use.

I have used Acronis many times to migrate boot disks and after you're done you can use it to automatically backup your disk to external or network drive also.
 

The_Eric

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Wow! Thanks for all the fast responses!

Sounds like things have gotten easier.. The last I knew even a little about was XP!

I will probably skip the transfer software, since as one poster pointed out, it will transfer all the needless bloatware. I have no need or want for that crap...

Hopefully all goes smoothly and I don't have to plead for your help again 😂
 
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For the OP, I think using the media creation tool and a flash drive would probably be easiest, most people don't have dual layer DVDs laying around, and some third party tools are wonky about creating bootable flash drives from ISOs where you have to disable secure boot during the install, for what I get at the OPs level of expertise, using the media creation tool is probably the best way to go.
 
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Just throwing this in for future reference: some laptops use a *slim* hdd form factor but I'm not sure if all ssds are compatible. I learned this recently when changing hdds on a dell laptop.
 

The_Eric

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If you're comfortable w/ Linux, could you not just use Clonezilla?
I may be able to? I only said that because Linux seems to be so easy to d/l and install. I really don't have anything of significance on my puters, so it's nothing for me to toss some stuff on flash drives and put a new distro on it - something that Linux makes very easy. My head has been out of the puter game long enough that I figured Microsoft would still be a **** to install an os without the key.

I guess it just shows my serious lack of puter knowledge.
 
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