We removed a 480GB SSD from out Lenovo X220 and installed it in our Lenovo X230. The X230 has a Windows 8 key in the firmware so it’s already eligible for licensing for Windows 10.

Windows went through a hardware setup and rebooted. It then started normally. We then were able to enter into the desktop and check the system status.

Windows wanted to activated so let it proceed and it accepted the machine and activated without the need to install it fresh. We then opened Microsoft Office 2013 which wanted to activated and it also granted as the license is valid.

We wanted to see if we could use the existing installation which nominally the same as Windows to Go. The activation has been solid and the machine is licensed to us fine.

The old X220 is still licensed for Windows 10 but it does not have a disk installed at the moment. The X220 has a Windows 7 Pro COA under the battery however the machine was activated with a refurbisher license, We never had to use the COA from the X220 but it stands ready should Windows ask for a key.

Modern machines have the COA in the BIOS which eliminates the risk of damage which was a problem with Windows XP and Windows Vista. Windows 7 keys were placed under the battery or on the motherboard as we discovered when we upgraded our Compaq Mini CQ10-450. We suggest photographing the COA so that it is safe from damage.

So our scenario is unorthodox but it shows how Microsoft is now licensing machines to a person more than to a machine.The licensing can be reassigned to another person by changing the user account or reset the machine to factory fresh.