I have an old laptop with Win10 installed in it from factory. I have a new laptop with Ubuntu 21.04 installed from factory (with systemd-boot bootloader installed in UEFI mode). Can I put the SSD from my old laptop into the new one and boot into it? Will I have any bootloader problems? If so, How do I fix them? (I asked in askubuntu if it would break the ubuntu bootloader...)

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    I'm not 100% sure, but I think one of the anti-piracy measures used by Windows is to somehow lock the license to the motherboard. You might want to read about that first as this wouldn't be an Ubuntu issue. It's something I heard before, but I'm not sure if it's just a rumor.
    – Ray
    Nov 24, 2021 at 2:53
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    This question may be more suited for a windows forum like superuser.com . As mentioned, Windows usually prevents switching the motherboard due to licensing issues. If the Windows were licensed to the motherboard and if you were able to use both drives at the same time on one laptop, all you would have to do is plug the new drive in, boot up Ubuntu, and then update Grub.
    – mchid
    Nov 24, 2021 at 2:54
  • But I guess it would depend on where you obtained your version of Windows so I think this would be more better suited for superuser.com . Are you able to plug in two drives or only one at a time?
    – mchid
    Nov 24, 2021 at 2:58
  • @mchid I ran sudo update grub and returned Found Windows Boot Manager on /dev/nvme1n1p1@/efi/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi Adding boot menu entry for UEFI Firmware Settings Will booting from Win10 work now? (My Ubuntu laptop has 2 SSD slots so I can plug in both at a time)
    – LinuxNinja
    Nov 24, 2021 at 3:03
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    I cannot guarantee, but since GRUB found it, it should boot (but I cannot say whether Windows will throw a license error due to the different hardware being used) Nov 24, 2021 at 4:03

3 Answers 3


I booted into Win10 and it worked fine (with my login and all). Didn't get any errors about invalid license due to different hardware. Before I booted, I ran sudo update-grub with both disks installed. Win10 said Windows is activated with a digital license despite ALL of the hardware being different. No performance issues. I suggest reinstalling Win10 to work properly. There were some drivers to install for my specific laptop (System76 Lemur Pro) to run Win10 properly.


I call this a "Frankenstein" build.

You're taking the brains from one machine and putting it into an entirely different machine.

It might work and it might not. It also might appear to work, but certain programs or tasks may run poorly or slowly.

Best practice is to reinstall the OS with a significant hardware change. Presumably you obtained this new computer because it has better hardware than the old, so reinstalling the operating system ensures that you take advantage of your upgrade and start off "on the right foot".

  • Why would that be best practice? I don't see any problem with transferring a Windows installation to completely different hardware. (With some exotic hardware sysprep may be required to revert the Windows installation back to generic drivers to be able to boot from the new hardware at all. But if that's not necessary, Windows will simply detect all changed hardware during the first startup and load the corresponding drivers - if available.) With most Linux distributions this is even simpler, because they re-detect all hardware on each startup anyway.
    – Dreamer
    Nov 24, 2021 at 12:09
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    Unlike previous versions, Windows 10 is surprisingly transplantable. Nov 24, 2021 at 19:20
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    Even if OSs are better at transplantations than the past, it's not perfect and success is not guaranteed. It's also recommended by both Microsoft or Ubuntu to reinstall in these situations. Don't forget also that there's a lot more software than just the bare OS on the majority of systems, including third party software and an infinite array of unique situations as a consequence of nobody's use of the machine being identical. The unpredictability begs for a reinstall. Any one of those reasons is enough to make it "best practice".
    – Nmath
    Nov 24, 2021 at 21:09
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    The whole notion of "best practice" implies that it's not required. Lots of people forego best practice for numerous reasons which include saving time, saving money, lack of skill, indifference to possible benefits, insufficient benefit vs cost, pure laziness, etc. "Best practice" is often exhaustive and ensures a successful outcome regardless of possible obstacles that may or may not manifest. Nobody's arguing that a reinstall is a necessity in every single case (even though it might be in some), but it's definitely "best practice"
    – Nmath
    Nov 24, 2021 at 21:13

Windows will normally boot into system and automatically start to download drivers as usually

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