Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Use one system HDD (Win 8.1) in two computers

  1. #1


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1 PRO

    Use one system HDD (Win 8.1) in two computers


    Hi,

    I am planning to buy new desktop PC where I will install Windows 8.1 Pro (MSDNAA license) on 2,5" SSD. I need to travel from time to time and I wonder, if I can just take the system HDD (where OS is installed) from desktop and put in the notebook. Will it be possible to normally boot that notebook with my existing Windows account and continue to work on my projects? I will use this HDD in only those 2 computers. If yes, do I have to reactivate Windows on notebook? If I put HDD back to desktop, do I have to reactivate it again?

    Thanks.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    I would think its not legal as per the EULA. Activation could become an issue. It will likely fail on the second PC. Keep swapping back and forth and it could fail on both PC's. The other issue is the different hardware/drivers needed. I wouldn't do it. Do you have access to Windows 8.1 Enterprise? With that you can create a Windows To Go drive that can legally be used on multiple PC's. I do believe there are also some tutorials kicking around on how to make a non official version. I think jimbo45 wrote something up about that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    a) it's not legal and b) it won't work.

    What you can do is install 8.1 under VMware Player (even on a Linux base) on an external SSD or a very fast flash drive (which is more expensive than a 60GB SSD). Then VMware Player becomes the home system for 8.1 and you then can run it off any PC that has VMware Player.

    The advantage of that setup is that Linux as a base is free and you have to maintain only the one 8.1 on the SSD. If you attach the SSD to either eSata or USB3, the performance will be like from an internal SSD (very small degradation) and a lot faster than from an internal HDD.

    A 60GB SSD plus a good enclosure will cost you appr. $80 - check Newegg, Amazon and TigerDirect on Black Friday.

    Btw - I have that setup for 8.1, 10 and five Linux distros all running from one external SSD on my Windows 7 systems.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1 PRO


    Thanks for your answers.
    I don't have access to windows enterprise so Windows To Go is no option for me.
    VMware sounds promising. I will have to think it over. Another solution for me might be using portable applications as much as possible.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Hafnarfjörđur IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there

    Another TWO possible alternatives

    1) Get an ENTERPRISE version of W10 Tech PREVIEW and create a Windows to Go system on an external USB HDD / SSD - even an old laptop standard HDD is good enough --simply use a SATA==>USB connector. Response time is fine. The preview is FREE and lasts until April 2015.

    2) Create a Portable Windows 8/8.1 system by running it as a VM off a bootable LINUX system (again install on an external SSD / HDD).

    I made a thread about this a while ago.

    How to make Portable Windows system (any version)

    BTW there's a FREE tool to create a VM from your running physical system - download from VMware.

    VMware vCenter Converter: P2V Virtual Machine Converter | VMware United Kingdom

    The chances are that you won't get asked for re-activation --if the VM requires re-activation activate by phone and simply say you've installed your PRO windows 8 system on another computer.

    (Backup your existing system first if going down the Windows 10 Enterprise route to create your Windows to Go).

    To create a Windows to Go system with Non certified devices i.e bog standard devices follow this link. The instructions for W10 are the same as W8.

    Creating a Non-Certified Windows To Go USB Drive » ADMIN Magazine



    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Hafnarfjörđur IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by Ztruker View Post

    Hi there.

    Trouble with that is you DON'T (currently) get the ISO's any more for W8.1 and W10 - although I believe some people have posted methods of how to create them. TechNet (now almost defunct) subscribers and MSDN users I believe could get some ISO's but for the rest W8.1 wasn't readily available as an ISO.

    For W10 I believe Ms is having a second thought so some isos *might* become available.

    Cheers
    jimbo
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ztruker View Post

    Hi there.

    Trouble with that is you DON'T (currently) get the ISO's any more for W8.1 and W10 - although I believe some people have posted methods of how to create them. TechNet (now almost defunct) subscribers and MSDN users I believe could get some ISO's but for the rest W8.1 wasn't readily available as an ISO.

    For W10 I believe Ms is having a second thought so some isos *might* become available.

    Cheers
    jimbo
    You can get 8.1 ISO's here, all that is missing is Enterprise. Create installation media for Windows 8.1 - Windows Help It's the new option 1 here, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 ISO - Download or Create
    Last edited by alphanumeric; 23 Nov 2014 at 08:30.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    W10 ISOs are also available.

    Download Windows Technical Preview ISO - Microsoft Windows

    ISOs for the2nd (9861) and 3rd (9879) release area also available but I can't find them at the moment. I used hte ISO for 9879 to clean install W10TP on my Acer laptop.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1 PRO


    Hi,
    thanks once again, you guys are awesome.

    I do actually have installation ISO of Windows 8.1 so that shouldn't be a problem.
    So far, I like the most the Windows To Go solution. I will try it once I get my new desktop.
    I have few question regarding WTG option.
    How about the activation? I assume I would have to activate Windows once I put the WTG disk into another PC and boot it, right? Will Windows remember these activation or do I have to activate it every time I swap the HDD?
    Correct me if I am wrong but according to DreamSpark EULA I can use two copies of this Windows (Installation and Use Rights. You may install and use two (2) copies of the DreamSpark Direct Subscription software on your devices (a) to support your education; (b) in non-commercial research; or (c) to design, develop, test, and demonstrate software programs for the above purposes.).
    One more question, are there any limitations or disadvantages using WTG? I will be able to use all the computer's hardware, right? It's not some sort of virtualization. Finally, will I be able to see all the hard drives connected to the PC running WTG? I saw some video about WTG and they wasn't able to see another HDD's but that might be caused by using BitLocker.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Use one system HDD (Win 8.1) in two computers
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