Clone a Laptop

Morgan Gerrell

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Jan 31, 2015
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Good morning Tom's Hardware. I am having some issues with my work laptop. For reasons unbeknownst to me it seems that more and more often I am losing what I have worked on. It is a 2002 custom build Dell laptop that I use nearly every day. As much as I would love to simply buy a new laptop, I don't believe I can (or at least it wont do any good). Reason being that the program I use to do earthwork estimates with is very expensive. We had put $30K into the software on this laptop back in the day when we had it built and that was supposed to have is set for life. It was supposed to be okay if we changed laptops because we had bought a lifetime software of our Quest program. However over the years Quest has been bought out and we can not get another activation key. I need a way to move everything from this '02 Dell to a new laptop. I have no idea how these programs work, weather they are tied to the motherboard or what. I still have the earthwork program but am prompted that my serial key is no longer valid when attempting to install it on a new laptop. Is there any way to take a new laptop and make it think its my '02 Dell? Or if anyone knows what else I can do I would be gracious to hear it!! Thanks in advance!
 

geofelt

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Oct 9, 2006
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Likely, your Quest program license is tied to the windows activation key of your old laptop.
The key should be on a sticker on the laptop or in the battery compartment.
You can display it with a free app called "magical jelly bean keyfinder"

A new laptop will have a different windows activation key.

Some ideas:

1. Find out why you are losing stuff. Does the laptop fail, or what?
Run memtest 86+ to check the ram.
If the hard drive is failing, you can clone the hard drive. If it is a sata drive, a great option would be to convert it to a ssd.
Samsung has a nice migration utility to do this. You will be very impressed with the performance difference.

2. Find a exact replacement on ebay. You should be able to move or copy the hard drive to the replacement. If Quest does not run
you can probably use the old windows key to reactivate without issue.

3. Contact Microsoft about this. Explain the situation.
Possibly, they can let you use the old key to reactivate on a different laptop motherboard.
 

Poprin

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Dec 13, 2012
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I'm just going to play devils advocate here, but if you paid $30k for a piece of software in 2002 and you haven't maintained support with the software provider over that time period then I'm not sure what you expect! 13 years in the IT industry is basically a lifetime, you should really look to be replacing laptops in about a 4 year rolling cycle as a minimum. I'm sure the software provider before they got bought by Dell in 2012 had several revisions of the software and opportunities for upgrade.

Possibly not what you want to hear but you are in a position where you have really old hardware, likely running Windows XP that is no longer supported with a piece of software with no support also. So although it was really expensive... it's now really old and needs replacing! It's likely that the activation process when trying to install the software is looking for an activation server that no longer exists.

Only thought is, do you have your hardware and support contract with Dell? Could you not try an avenue of enquiry with them about legacy support for Quest software products?
 

geofelt

Distinguished
Oct 9, 2006
647
0
19,910
187
Likely, your Quest program license is tied to the windows activation key of your old laptop.
The key should be on a sticker on the laptop or in the battery compartment.
You can display it with a free app called "magical jelly bean keyfinder"

A new laptop will have a different windows activation key.

Some ideas:

1. Find out why you are losing stuff. Does the laptop fail, or what?
Run memtest 86+ to check the ram.
If the hard drive is failing, you can clone the hard drive. If it is a sata drive, a great option would be to convert it to a ssd.
Samsung has a nice migration utility to do this. You will be very impressed with the performance difference.

2. Find a exact replacement on ebay. You should be able to move or copy the hard drive to the replacement. If Quest does not run
you can probably use the old windows key to reactivate without issue.

3. Contact Microsoft about this. Explain the situation.
Possibly, they can let you use the old key to reactivate on a different laptop motherboard.
 
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