copying windows files

Microsoft Windows Vista
OS installation
can i copy windows vista files from one of my computers to have it installed on another one of my computers as my disk was destroyed

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No, you can’t copy Windows from one computer to another. You will need to purchase another license for the other computer which will come with a DVD and a license key which you can use to install Windows on the other computer.


Depending on how ols the system is (considering your hard-drive died on you), you may want to consider purchasing a new computer or replaceing your hard drive (you didn’t specify wether it was a viral problem or physical, etc.).

Even if you were able to successfully copy those files (which you wouldn’t be) your identical product key to another machine would not pass the validation tool! So don’t bother trying!



Agree, you cannot “copy Vista” from one Computer to another.

Did your Computer’s hard drive/disk get “destroyed”, or did your Vista disk (i.e. DVD) get “destroyed”.

What type of Vista do you have? Retail? OEM? Volume Licence?

If you have your Vista (Retail) DVD, and Vista key, you can install Vista on another Computer.
(Or if OEM, if your harddrive was destroyed, buy a new harddrive, and attempt a new install on same Computer.)

However in both instances, you will need to “activate” Vista again… and since there’s been hardware changes there are a few things to consider. Read up…

You might have to activate Windows again in a number of instances, such as:

You uninstall Windows on one computer and install it on another. (This applies only to Windows Vista acquired via a retail purchase.) During installation, enter the product key that came with your copy of Windows. If automatic activation fails, follow the instructions that walk you through activating Windows by phone. You will have 30 days to activate your copy of Windows.

Note: If you acquired Windows Vista pre-installed (e.g. OEM) on a computer, Windows Vista cannot be moved to another computer.

You make a significant hardware change to your computer, such as upgrading the hard disk drive and memory at the same time or replacing the motherboard in your OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) computer. If a major hardware change requires activating Windows again, you will be notified and will have three days to activate your copy of Windows.

How many different computers can I install Windows Vista on using the same product key?

The number of computers on which you can install Windows Vista depends on the software license. For example:

If you acquire Windows Vista via retail purchase (boxed product), it may only be installed on one computer at a time. You may choose to uninstall Windows Vista from the initial computer and install it on another computer. You will then be required to re-activate that copy of Windows on the new computer.

If you acquire Windows Vista pre-installed on a computer, it may only be used on that computer.

– Shane

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  • Jaideep Khanduja
    As rightly pointed out by MrDenny, you have to install it from original media, copying never works for windows installation in any version.
    19,805 pointsBadges:

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