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Microphone Month 4

New Computer Hard Drive Swap

Q: I have just replaced my Apple MacBook with a MacBook Pro. I have a lot of data and software on the MacBook’s drive (which I previously upgraded to a 320GB model), so I plan to just swap the hard drives between the machines. Will I have any problems?

A: This should work fine. The only difficulty you may encounter is with software authorization/copy protection. Anything that is protected with an iLok or other dongle should work fine. But if the software uses a challenge/response authorization, you may need to re-authorize the software. These types of copy-protection schemes often generate a computer “ID” based on your machine’s processor and other hardware; moving the drive to another machine will cause the ID to change, and may break the copy protection.

In most cases, simply re-authorizing using the manufacturer’s online system will take care of problems. HOWEVER, in some cases, you must de-authorize the old machine before you can re-authorize the new machine. Do this de-authorizing from the old machine, before you swap the hard drives.

As a side note, generally replacing the hard drive in a computer will not break the copy protection (changing the hard drive doesn’t change the computer ID), as long as nothing else in the computer’s hardware configuration has changed.

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