Windows 7/dual boot question


I bought my girlfriend a Windows 7 computer. I run Windows Home XP at my house.
My question, I have a cloned internal hard drive of my system with the operating system on it. Can I hook that cloned drive up on my GF's computer so I can run my programs on her computer. In other words have a dual boot computer?
Honolulu, HI

Hi Jim,

Congratulations on being the first questioner since I came back on the site after a long break!

However, in short, the answer is no.

There are several issues to consider. The two devices will differ greatly in terms of hardware - a brand new Windows 7 desktop, compared to an older Windows XP laptop, will have a totally different processor, and a totally different motherboard, both of which are kind of "set in stone" when you install an operating system*, and could cause a number of issues in the future, if not when you first boot up.

If you were somehow able to boot up on the new machine, there could be some issues running this on the same network as your existing laptop, because any unique identifiers would be pretty much the same - not an issue if you used them at separate locations though.

Licensing issues also crop up, because you are essentially running two systems off one license, which Microsoft doesn't allow as you're running the Home edition. You would need a new license key to run the software legally.

So, long story short, you could technically do it, but the number of problems that you could encounter, the cost involved in licensing, make it easier to just bring your laptop round to her place. You could consider some alternatives though - perhaps create a new user account on her desktop, and install your programs on there. You could hook your laptop up to the monitor, keyboard and mouse, and for all intents and purpose you achieve what you ask in your question, except it's still running on your hardware. No licensing issues, no technical problems.

Let me know if you would like more information on any of the points I've outlined above.


*It is possible to change your CPU/motherboard after an OS has been installed, but it can get messy if you don't quite know what you're doing.

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James Milligan


Several years of IT support experience with a range of customers and clients. I aim to answer as many questions as I can, particularly ones where I have a chance to learn about a feature or new technology myself.


Personally, Windows 7 is my main operating system, so I know my way around it like the back of my hand. I have provided support for Windows 7 since it was released,

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