Reinstall Windows 10 to new hard drive

Q. I recently bought a new hard drive because the previous one stopped working. I was able to backup all my files and create a system recovery USB before it went. I have now put in the new drive but have been unable to install Windows. There is no ‘install’ option, just reset, system restore, etc. What do I need to do to get my laptop back up and running?


When using the recovery drive, there should be an option called Recover from a drive that will reinstall Windows 10 to the new drive.

How to: Create a Recovery Drive for reinstalling Windows 10

You can also download, create a bootable copy on a working computer, then perform a direct clean install, if you find that option more suitable:

Step 1: How to download official Windows 10 ISO files

Step 2: How to Prepare Bootable Install Media for Windows 10 – DVD, USB or SD Card

Step 3: How to: Perform a clean install of Windows 10

When you upgraded from a previous version of Windows or receive a new computer preinstalled with Windows 10, what happened is the hardware (your PC) will get a digital entitlement, where a unique signature of the computer will be stored on Microsoft Activation Servers. The Windows 7 or Windows 8 genuine license you were previously running will be exchanged for a diagnostics key.

Anytime you need to reinstall Windows 10 on that machine, just proceed to reinstall Windows 10. It will automatically reactivate. You will prompted to enter a product key a couple times through the installation, click I don’t have a key and Do this later.

There is no need to know or get a new key, but if you have issues with Digital Licensing or the Activation Troubleshooter, you can utilize an existing Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 product key you already ownto reactivate if necessary. or use the reset function in Windows 10.

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