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assenort

How to transfer SSD with Win10 from laptop into desktop PC

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Posted (edited)

Hi guys,

I have a 256 GB SSD with a legit Windows 10 Educational 1803 that came off of my dead laptop Lenovo Ideapad 320-17ISK.

I would very much like to use the said SSD with the installed Windows 10 in a spare desktop PC. So I plugged it in and turned on the computer only to see that the machine won't boot up at all; it hangs right after the POST screen. BIOS recognizes the SSD, which is surely set as a bootable device - to no avail.

My search on the Internets did not turn up a meaningful solution to the problem. If anyone here can advise how to overcome the situation it will be much appreciated. Reinstalling Win10 is what I want to avoid due to license/activation concern, and also not willing to lose some stuff that is currently on the disk.

Thank you for your attention.

Greets :-)

 

 

Edited by assenort

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Is/was (new/old PC) it BIOS or UEFI?

Is the SSD MBR style or GPT style?

Can you boot the new machine from a USB stick? 

(and have you got a spare USB stick to use)?

Generally speaking, to troubleshoot a non-booting machine (in the very early stages of booting) one needs to boot from an alternate media and check what is actually on the SSD.

Then, there will likely be BSOD's issues with non-matching drivers due to the very different hardware, but let's start with the non-booting issue.

jaclaz

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Hi jaclaz:

Thank you very much for trying to help. Here is what I can answer to your questions:

1. The desktop PC is with a BIOS-based motherboard. The laptop was with a UEFI-based motherboard.

2. The SSD is GPT-formatted - see attached pic.

3. Never tried to boot the desktop PC with a USB drive, I presume you had in mind USB with Win10 on it, right? I think I have available USB flash drive with 8 GB capacity somewhere...

 

SSD1.jpg

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Good :) (which actually means "bad" :().

The issue is that the booting mechanism is different (but it can be solved, don't worry, only it isn't exactly "simple").

A UEFI based computer is - generally speaking - compatible with the "old" (and "good") MBR style of partitioning (most UEFI based computers have a CSM or Compatibility Support Module, aka BIOS) but the reverse does not apply.

The BIOS booting sequence (for a Windows NT 6+):

BIOS->MBR (first sector of hard disk)->Active partition in partition table->PBR (or boot record of partition)->BOOTMGR.EXE->\boot\BCD->Winload.exe->Windows

the UEFI:

UEFI->a partition with a given GUID, usually FAT32 formatted->a file BOOTMGR.EFI->\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD->Winload.EFI->Windows

The GPT style of partitioning includes a so-called "protective MBR partition table" to avoid issues, so all your BIOS can actually see in the MBR (that has NO code) is a huge single partition with ID 0xEE.

Now there are two approaches to solve the problem (for the moment only the booting one):

1) leave the disk//SSD "as is" and boot from another device (the USB stick) then boot (in BIOS mode) the existing install on the SSD and see what issues (if any) come out
2) convert the disk/SSD (connected to another computer) style from GPT to MBR, add the relevant files and then attempt booting from it

The #1 is "safer" in the sense that the SSD isn't touched at all but until the conversion to MBR is made it won't boot without the USB "helper", the #2 is more risky in the sense that if something goes wrong during the conversion you are stuck.

There is actually a third way (adding a booting mechanism to the SSD that remains GPT style but allows booting on BIOS) but - while doable - is a bit complex.

You will need anyway a few files from an original Windows 10, ideally if you have a Windows 10 DVD (or image) it would be better, and even better if you have another PC running Windows 10 to which you can connect the SSD, which I believe you have since you posted that screenshot.

The generic idea is to make (conceptually) a "Vista boot floppy":

http://www.multibooters.co.uk/floppy.html

only that it will be "Windows 10" and not a floppy but rather a USB stick.

We need to make the USB stick bootable (I would suggest something that boots to grub4dos as it offers a few features that might come handy), a good tool might be RMPREPUSB:

https://www.rmprepusb.com/documents/rmprepusb-beta-versions

and then run BCDBOOT, copying creating the needed files on the USB stick *like*:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/bcdboot-command-line-options-techref-di

jaclaz

 

 

 

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Hi again jaclaz:

I am really thankful for your quick and detailed response. Not many people bother with providing such a plentiful info, so my hat is off to you :-)

I need some time to digest the info you provided since my knowledge in these matters is way not sufficient. Already did some digging on my own about the MBR vs GPT issue; not sure if a workable conversion can be achieved at all (in a sense that the computer will boot up after it). Most recommended tool is EaseUs Partition Master Pro, however I never got a solid impression that it can convert a system disc. Not to mention that the proggy is not cheap to get, which is a concern too.

So let me try the first option which you suggested and see how far I can go. Will post the outcome in a few days.

Thanks again, brother.

Best :-)

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Well, actually (for the record) there is a very good free tool that can be used for the conversion between GPT and MBR:

https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/

but - basically - it is just a matter of using a hex viewer/editor (knowing where to look for).

The difference between GPT and MBR styles is ONLY in the way the partition(s) are "indexed" or - even more accurately - where  and how the addresses of the extents of the  partitions/volumes are stored, the actual volumes are exactly the same so (unlike - to make an example - a file system conversion) there is no actual "conversion" of data, it is simply a matter of reading an address and write it in another place in a slightly different notation, even if a lot of references (and of course those making Commercial software) make it look like rocket science or brain surgery, it is not, things may become more complicated if there are more than four partitions (as in GPT you can have *as many*  partitions as you want and they are all "primary" whilst on MBR you have max 4 partitions - primary - or three primaries and all the other ones must be logical volumes inside extended) but on a SSD like yours (and actually most "normal" disk devices) with just two partitions/volumes it is straightforward:

https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/mbr2gpt.html

jaclaz

 

 

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My little project was blown out of the water - the desktop PC's CPU does not support 64-bit Windows 10 which I had on the SSD.

Fortunately I managed to pull off almost everything of value from the SSD before reformatting it in order to try and install 32-bit Windows 7. Hope this project will not blow up in my face :-)

Thanks to jaclaz once more for the help.

Greets to all!

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On 8/1/2019 at 6:33 AM, jaclaz said:

Well, actually (for the record) there is a very good free tool that can be used for the conversion between GPT and MBR:

https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/

but - basically - it is just a matter of using a hex viewer/editor (knowing where to look for).

The difference between GPT and MBR styles is ONLY in the way the partition(s) are "indexed" or - even more accurately - where  and how the addresses of the extents of the  partitions/volumes are stored, the actual volumes are exactly the same so (unlike - to make an example - a file system conversion) there is no actual "conversion" of data, it is simply a matter of reading an address and write it in another place in a slightly different notation, even if a lot of references (and of course those making Commercial software) make it look like rocket science or brain surgery, it is not, things may become more complicated if there are more than four partitions (as in GPT you can have *as many*  partitions as you want and they are all "primary" whilst on MBR you have max 4 partitions - primary - or three primaries and all the other ones must be logical volumes inside extended) but on a SSD like yours (and actually most "normal" disk devices) with just two partitions/volumes it is straightforward:

https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/mbr2gpt.html

jaclaz

 

 

Thanks for the post I had same question to ask. It helped  @jaclaz

 

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