Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
You can move a hard drive from one computer to another... but it may take a re-install of Windows for the software to work with the new hardware.
Can I take the hard drive out of a desktop with an Intel Core and put it in another desktop with an AMD processor? They both have the same connectors.
In this excerpt from Answercast #85, I look at the possibilities of moving a hard drive from one laptop computer to another and have it "just work."
Yes and no...
Yes, you can. Absolutely! There is no issue from an hardware perspective.
The CPU type really doesn't matter for hard drive functionality. In fact, the hard drive is blissfully unaware of what kind of CPU happens to be driving the computer that is accessing the hard drive.
However, I do want to caution you - if you are expecting the installed operating system on that hard drive to simply work, the answer is maybe. Literally, if the only thing that's changed is the CPU itself, then it might actually work.
When you reboot that machine and Windows notices that the CPU has changed, it may be able to reconfigure itself to take advantage of this different CPU's capabilities. Because the CPUs are actually used in such equivalent ways, there's usually very little difference (from Windows' perspective) as to how the operating system needs to access this CPU.
However, since typically changing the CPU requires a completely different motherboard, and usually involves completely different additional hardware, then the answer is no, I would not expect Windows to just work.
You will probably need to install that hard drive on that other machine with a different processor, and then install Windows from scratch. Install your applications from scratch and restore your data to that hard drive.
In other words, expecting the software (the installed software and specifically Windows itself) to just work if you change the hard drive from one machine to a completely different machine -- not very likely.
However, if all you're doing is moving a hard drive (and it's empty, and
you're not doing anything with it) from one machine to another, the CPU type
really doesn't matter.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
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