Can I move an existing SSD with Windows installed from my old computer to a Framework?

I have an SSD with all my files and Windows on it, can I just plug it in and have it work?

When you say an SSD do you mean a 2.5" SSD drive or an NVME? Also, it could have issues with drivers… also depends on if your using secure boot or not on the old drive.

… basically you cannot use an m.2 ssd or a 2.5" ssd… must be an NVME drive!

Just for clarity: it does need to be an NVMe drive, but the Framework does take an M.2 drive. M.2 is just the form factor/connection. See the specs here.

If your existing drive matches those specs, you should be able to use the drive. As for just dropping the old Windows install into a new computer, you’re likely to run into problems with drivers and Windows activation at least. I wouldn’t really recommend it.


NVME drives are SSDs. Of course a 2.5 inch drive won’t work, there is no space or support for them in a Framework laptop. I’m just asking if a complete Windows bootable drive can be moved to a different computer. It isn’t like I’m duplicating the installation and making a copy of Windows. You’re saying Microsoft won’t allow that? So I have to purchase a new copy of Windows at $200 just to use that drive in a different computer? Do I have to purchase both another copy of Windows and a new SSD to transfer my data to the new computer from my old computer? Then much of my software will have to be reinstalled and in some cases repurchased. All that adds up to a lot of money.

Whether Microsoft lets you migrate a Windows licence between machines depends what sort of licence you have. If it’s an OEM license, it’s just for that machine and Microsoft doesn’t let you move it around. If you have a retail license on the other hand you’re free to move the licence around between computers. Note that this applies regardless of whether you’re moving an install around or making a fresh installation on different hardware.

Besides that, there are the technical issues of drivers and such as was mentioned. I will say, there are generally fewer issues from that on Win 10 than with older versions of Windows. Could be some difficulties, but could work. For what it’s worth Win 7 and older tended to be a lot pickier about this unless you really knew what you were doing to prepare it.

I will note that if you do manage to move the drive from one computer to another, and Windows runs fine with no driver issues, but Windows activation is unhappy with you, you could reactivate it with a new license key without needing to reinstall.


AlexS is correct, however, depending on how drastic of a hardware change it is, may require you to speak with MS about the license. When you install Windows it builds a key based on the hardware in your system. When that hardware changes the key changes, change the key too much and Windows will tell you that your copy needs to be registered.

Generally speaking it is a good idea NOT to do what you are suggesting. It is cleaner if you start fresh and use your old system as a baseline for what you need to install, etc.

As mentioned, there are a lot of factors… If it is a personal PC and you are using a license tied to your Microsoft login, it will migrate the license as well as most of your settings without any issues. I’ve done it several times and never had a problem. DISCLAIMER (With fresh installs of Win10/Win11)

The problem comes in with what has been mentioned, when you just drop your existing drive in a new PC. Drivers will be different is primarily the problem. Re-activating Windows isn’t really that big a deal, Microsoft must have anticipated people moving licenses around because it’s so easy to do.

My question would be, if you drop it in the new system and run the FrameWork driver bundle install, will it fix whatever may be wrong. It’d be a nice thing for others to know.

Thank you all for the information. It sounds like I might make it work but it probably isn’t straightforward. I had hoped I could just drop the drive in and be done but that sounds less likely or worst case not possible. If I put the drive in the Framework laptop and it won’t boot, can I install a new version of Windows from a USB drive and not lose anything on my drive? Will it wipe out the registry?

It sounds like the safe thing to do would be to purchase both Windows and a new drive and then copy my data and programs. That way I won’t be stuck for a while without a working computer but it would also cost me $500 extra that I wasn’t planning on.

All this makes switching to Linux more attractive. I use Linux on a bunch of web servers but without the GUI that I would need on a laptop. Unfortunately my favorite photography software, Capture One, doesn’t have a Linux version.



Installing windows onto the drive would wipe everything on it, as windows formats the drive its installed to. Unless you have an OEM license you shouldn’t need to buy a new license though, just make installation media on a USB stick.


Just got my Batch 5 i7 today. Pulled the SSD and wifi chip from my old X1 Carbon 6th gen, plopped it in the Framework, and powered it on. BitLocker got confused, but I was easily able to get the recovery key from my Microsoft account and boot up. Everything was a bit wonky until I downloaded the Framework drivers (the wifi chip worked right off the bat since the driver and chip stayed the same) and installed them. Now I’m all set. Easy peasy! A Microsoft popup asked me to log in to my account, but after that, OEM Windows 10 Pro doesn’t seem to care one bit.

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If I have a windows 7 or 8 product keys, can I still do that trick where I install it and upgrade for free to windows 10 (getting a licence that’s tied to the HW UUIDs)?

If so, once the HW win 10 licence is established, I wonder if it would be better to do a clean install to save some space and clutter?

I would also like to clarify the technical issues with moving the SSD. The internal connection on the framework laptop only supports solid state drives in the M.2-2280 form factor and they also must support the NVMe protocol. SSDs in the M.2 form factor that only support the SATA protocol will not work with the framework laptop (as specified in the link by John_Flatness). Here’s a helpful table:

Notes Storage technology form factor Communication protocol/interface Works on framework internal M.2 port
SSDs not offered in this form factor? Solid State Drive/SSD 3.5” SATA no
Solid State Drive/SSD 2.5” SATA no
Solid State Drive/SSD M.2-2280 SATA no
This form factor does not allow this interface Solid State Drive/SSD 3.5” NVMe no
This form factor does not allow this interface Solid State Drive/SSD 2.5” NVMe no
Solid State Drive/SSD M.2-2280 NVMe YES
Solid State Drive/SSD 3.5” SAS no
Solid State Drive/SSD 2.5” SAS no
This form factor does not allow this interface? Solid State Drive/SSD M.2-2280 SAS no

The other thing to consider is the keying (physical location where there is a notch in the connector) and the physical length of the NVMe drive. Generally if you match the protocol, the keying should work.

Also you must consider the M.2 drive’s length. You can buy a shorter drive and install into a longer slot with a cheap adapter (I presume) but not visa versa. All that matters is securing the drive with the screw at the opposite end of the drive. Framework has an M.2-2280 slot which means it accepts cards 22 mm wide (all I have seen are 22 mm) and 80 mm long. See here for more info about keying and length.

Maybe more than the OP wanted to know but hopefully its helpful.


Fun fact: they are

4 posts were merged into an existing topic: BIOS can’t see M.2 SSD