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Installing different windows after HDD failure?

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BT63
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Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418674

Postby BT63 » June 10th, 2021, 5:25 pm

I have a several year old computer which I could make use of because programs/apps installed on it worked but they don't work on computers with W10 (not even using compatibility modes).

Unfortunately it seems the hard drive has failed (drive makes a scratching/grinding noise then seems to stop spinning, windows doesn't even begin loading).

And unfortunately I can't remember which Windows version it has (might be Vista, possibly W7 or W8).

And unfortunately it doesn't have a Windows key code anywhere on or in the computer (nor its original packaging which I found in the loft).

Is there much hope of bringing it back into use without having to buy a new licence?
(the wife and I have a few old laptops which aren't worth salvaging which have Vista, W7 and W8 keys which I wonder if I could re-use)

Thanks!

PhaseThree
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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418683

Postby PhaseThree » June 10th, 2021, 6:16 pm

Windows 10 is still free if you can get access to a Windows7 licence, try the following links and see what is most applicable.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how ... 0-upgrade/
https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing ... -for-free/

GeoffF100
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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418688

Postby GeoffF100 » June 10th, 2021, 6:24 pm

Have you got a model number for the computer, either on the computer or the original packaging? If so, try searching for it with Google. If not, can you get into the BIOS? If you can identify the processor, we should be able to estimate the age of the computer and perhaps guess the Windows version.

Midsmartin
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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418695

Postby Midsmartin » June 10th, 2021, 6:56 pm

If it was Windows 7 originally it should have a sticker with a product key (unless it's been removed or was a dodgy licence). Windows 8 and later PCs had no sticker, but usually a logo underneath somewhere for Windows 8. If there is nothing at all then maybe it came with Windows 10 on it.

For both 8 and 10 the licence is attached to the hardware and you can just reinstall the correct windows version without the need for a product key. Windows 8 and 8.1 annoyingly had different licences so you'd need to try reinstalling with both to test whether one of them worked.

If it's a branded pc such as a Dell their support website will tell you what the licenced version of Windows 8 based on the serial number.

Urbandreamer
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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418727

Postby Urbandreamer » June 10th, 2021, 10:05 pm

OK, strange out of the left field idea.

Have you considered Linux?

The reason that I mention it is your old programs. While I don't use "Wine", I understand that Wine is really good at running older software intended to run under Microsoft OS's. Wiki also seems to say that there is a version of Wine for windows!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_(software)

Backward compatibility in Wine is generally superior to that of Windows, as newer versions of Windows can force users to upgrade legacy Windows applications, and may break abandoned software forever as there is nobody adjusting the program for the changes in the operating system. In many cases, Wine can offer better legacy support than newer versions of Windows with "Compatibility Mode". Wine can run 16-bit Windows programs (Win16) on a 64-bit operating system, which uses an x86-64 (64-bit) CPU,[68] a functionality not found in 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows.[69][70] WineVDM allows 16-bit Windows applications to run on 64-bit versions of Windows.[71]


It might be worth experimenting if you have a genuine need to run older applications. I came across the idea a decade or two ago reading of someone who had used a Microsoft backup program, only to find that he couldn't use the backups! Installing the backup program under Wine allowed him access to his old backups.

Here is a more recent video (though old) of using Wine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqZDuKB949U

Ps I recently managed to bork the SSD in my laptop. It isn't fun, because none of us backup as often as we should.

88V8
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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418783

Postby 88V8 » June 11th, 2021, 9:45 am

BT63 wrote:I have a several year old computer ...... it seems the hard drive has failed

Even if your latest back-up is not that late, would it not be worth reloading from it, as it will contain the requisite programmes... or does one need a key to change the hard drive... surely not...

V8

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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418790

Postby Infrasonic » June 11th, 2021, 10:12 am

88V8 wrote:
BT63 wrote:I have a several year old computer ...... it seems the hard drive has failed

Even if your latest back-up is not that late, would it not be worth reloading from it, as it will contain the requisite programmes... or does one need a key to change the hard drive... surely not...

V8


Generally it's a motherboard change that would cause issues with an OEM single machine license.

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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#418918

Postby Breelander » June 11th, 2021, 8:54 pm

BT63 wrote:I have a several year old computer which I could make use of because programs/apps installed on it worked but they don't work on computers with W10 (not even using compatibility modes).


Windows 10's compatibility mode is pretty good at running older apps. Almost every old app I have still runs in W10 (and some I use are nearly 25 years old now!).

By far the most common reason that an app won't run on a modern PC is that it's a 16-bit app. Windows is usually installed as a 64 bit OS, that can only run 32 or 64 bit apps. In the old days of Win95 the OS was 32 bit and could run 16 and 32 bit apps. Before that Windows 3.x was itself a 16 bit app.

But Windows 10 is also available as 32 bits, that can still run the old 16 bit apps.

BT63
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Re: Installing different windows after HDD failure?

#419009

Postby BT63 » June 12th, 2021, 11:48 am

Thanks for the suggestions.


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