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Solved! Upgrading motherboard - should I reinstall Windows 10?

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
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I will be upgrading my motherboard soon, and I am torn over whether I should try my luck to see if I can continue with my current installation of Windows 10, or if I should reinstall. I understand that a fresh install is the only way to guarantee a bug-free upgrade experience but... what a hassle!

Which leads me to my second question. If I do have to bite the bullet and reinstall Windows, I'm curious whether there is a way to backup all of my settings and restore them on the new installation? I see a lot of resources for imaging my current installation in case something goes wrong, but I'm looking for is a way to have my app data automatically restored after upgrading my motherboard.

Thanks in advance for any assistance!
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Which leads me to my second question. If I do have to bite the bullet and reinstall Windows, I'm curious whether there is a way to backup all of my settings and restore them on the new installation? I see a lot of resources for imaging my current installation in case something goes wrong, but I'm looking for is a way to have my app data automatically restored after upgrading my motherboard.
Nope. You can reset Windows 10, and select for it to keep your files, but it removes all of the extra apps/programs you have installed. You would have to reinstall them and change any default Windows 10 settings.

Windows 10 handles hardware changes pretty well, and often installs most things automatically. That said, if the hardware changes are major and the OS install is older, a clean install (or reset) is usually a good idea in book.
 
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Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
75
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Nope. You can reset Windows 10, and select for it to keep your files, but it removes all of the extra apps/programs you have installed. You would have to reinstall them and change any default Windows 10 settings.

Windows 10 handles hardware changes pretty well, and often installs most things automatically. That said, if the hardware changes are major and the OS install is older, a clean install (or reset) is usually a good idea in book.
Thanks for your response. This makes me feel like I should at least attempt to keep my current installation.

Do you have any recommendations for things I should do before I swap motherboards? I've seen some suggestions that I should change the SATA controller in device manager to a generic driver.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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Thanks for your response. This makes me feel like I should at least attempt to keep my current installation.

Do you have any recommendations for things I should do before I swap motherboards? I've seen some suggestions that I should change the SATA controller in device manager to a generic driver.
It wouldn't do any harm and it increases the chances of a successful migration.

I'm wondering though whether Win10 is going to throw a hissy fit about the licence though - OEM Windows licences (the cheaper type) are tied to the board, and recently I replaced a customer's mobo from a Z77 to a H77 and had to re-activate, it refused to do so with its existing key (luckily it was a Win8x to 10 upgrade and I fed it the 8x licence key which worked).
 

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
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I was able to link my license to my Microsoft account and now have a digital license. I wonder if that would make a difference?
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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I was able to link my license to my Microsoft account and now have a digital license. I wonder if that would make a difference?
No idea, sorry. Perhaps someone else here doesn't avoid MS accounts as much as they can, and can therefore answer your question? :)
 

Iron Woode

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
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I was able to link my license to my Microsoft account and now have a digital license. I wonder if that would make a difference?
assuming your win 10 install was retail and not oem then it should work fine. OEM installs will not like a change of motherboard.

I would just hook it up and see if it will adapt itself to the new setup. This process can take a while.

Please report back and let us know of the conclusion to this story. Curiosity and all that. :)
 

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
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I've found at least one resource that seems to indicate that as long as you have a digital license, you can transfer your installation of Windows 10 regardless of OEM or retail license. But I may be misreading this.

 

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
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Well, further reading has all but convinced me that my OEM license will not transfer to my new motherboard.

Now, does this mean I actually won't be able to use my current Windows installation, or will Windows simply nag me to purchase a new license?
 

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
75
5
56
It wouldn't do any harm and it increases the chances of a successful migration.

I'm wondering though whether Win10 is going to throw a hissy fit about the licence though - OEM Windows licences (the cheaper type) are tied to the board, and recently I replaced a customer's mobo from a Z77 to a H77 and had to re-activate, it refused to do so with its existing key (luckily it was a Win8x to 10 upgrade and I fed it the 8x licence key which worked).
Were you still able to use the current Windows installation even though you couldn't reactivate it?
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,992
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Were you still able to use the current Windows installation even though you couldn't reactivate it?
I know for one point that the 'personalize' area of Settings no longer works (because that's what happens before I activate a new Win10 licence), I don't know about the rest though.
 

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
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Reporting back on this. Long story short, I'm all set, but it was a windy path getting to finish.

Before building the new system, it dawned on me that I had a Windows 7 product key that I purchased for an older computer that had come with Windows XP. I had recently upgraded that computer to Windows 10 and verified that it was a retail license. So, I swapped out the product key from that computer to the computer that I was planning to upgrade. All was working - Windows 10 reported that it was activated. So far so good.

I completed the new build, fired up the upgraded motherboard and, happily, Windows was working perfectly. No driver issues, blue screens etc. I did eventually install all the supplied drivers with my motherboard, but there were zero problems on the initial bootup. However, Windows 10 was no longer activated. I went to the Activation center, clicked on troubleshoot, and selected the option for "I recently changed hardware on this device" or something to that effect. The new device popped up, I confirmed I was using it, and clicked on activate.

No dice.

I tried this method several times, but Windows just refused to activate. I also tried changing the product key to the Windows 7 that I had previously used. That didn't work either.

I finally called Microsoft support and spoke with a product engineer. After verifying that I had indeed purchased a new motherboard and confirming the product key I had, he did some work behind the scenes, and voila - Windows 10 is now activated.

So, I'm not sure why I encountered these stumbles. Maybe I should have waited to use the Windows 7 key until after I upgraded the motherboard, rather than before? Who knows. In the end, though, it all sorted out; I was able to upgrade my motherboard and processor without the need to reinstall Windows.
 

mpo

Senior member
Jan 8, 2010
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I went through a similar process a couple of weekends ago.

Updated from an Intel i5-4670k to AMD 3700X. So, new CPU and motherboard. Tried booting with a SATA SSD from the old computer. The SSD had Windows 10 Pro that was originally Windows 7 Ultimate retail.

The new computer booted up fine. After a day of testing, I cloned the SATA SSD to a PCIe NVMe boot drive. That's when things got a little funky.

When the NVMe drive was detected, that's when I got the message to activate Windows. Magic Jellybean reported the generic Window 7 to Windows 10 key. So that wouldn't activate.

Tracked down the Win 7 Ultimate box with key. That worked, but I had jump through the troubleshooter and then attach the key to a Microsoft account.

I'm surprised the process went as smoothly as possible. Probably because Microsoft does its spring and fall updates as installs. If you are up to date, the original install is less than half-a-year-old.
 

Jstanthr

Junior Member
Feb 22, 2010
9
2
81
I am getting ready to undertake a similar task but with a small twist.
Current system is an i5 2500k on an asrock p67 extreme 4 motherboard, windows is running on a 4 drive raid 0 array on the sata ports, the gfx card died and took the top pciex slot with it, i bought a new rx580 but it won't work in the system for whatever reason, only gets post code 97, the dead card would give code D6, i put an old gs8400 in the 2nd slot and it works somewhat, enough that i could at least copy off data just in case.

So.. . decided to just go ahead and upgrade, going with AMD, (havent used or even tried amd in like 20 years, figure its time lol)
building an r5 2600 on a gigabyte aorus b450 board, will initially run off sata ssd, but may just wait for the nvme and skip that step.

The twist, what would be the best way to make a clone of the raid array? it consists of 4 ocz vertex ssd's (way past their w/r life lol) these were from the days when you had to run garbage collection yourself to clear emptied bits. i didn't use the rig for about 5 years, was constantly on the road for work and got out of the hardware world for awhile.

don't mean to hijack your thread or anything, but similar situation and i was searching for resources.
 

Jerethi

Member
Aug 20, 2001
75
5
56
This is probably beyond my expertise to offer any assistance. I would think that any reputable program for cloning would do the trick, but I don't know if the fact that you've got a raid setup changes the equation.

I noticed you posted in my other thread regarding the issue I initially had with Windows failing to boot up after I formatted my sata drive. I'd just caution you to be aware of that issue. Thankfully I was able to fix it but boy it was stressful there for a while.
 

Jeff H

Golden Member
Oct 11, 1999
1,589
1
81
Jerethi,

I had a similar situation, but it centered around a change in my network card. I was experiencing a slow down (from normal speeds) on Xfinity, and their technician couldn't find anything wrong with the coax or connectors or modem. He suggested my onboard nic might be causing the slowdown. I picked up an Intel gigabit PCIe CT adapter. That's when the excrement hit the spinning device, re Win10 activation. I finally ended up calling MS support, and got the nicest lady on the phone. She tried a number of work-arounds, none of which worked. She then asked if I had a Win7 license handy. I put in that key, and my win10 system has run fine since.
 

pcswig13

Junior Member
Dec 12, 2013
22
0
66
I just upgraded one of my desktops from an AMD FX8350 with a Gigabyte mobo and DDR3 RAM to a Ryzen 5 3600/AsRock X570/DDR4 combo and Windows 10 will not activate. Been on 3 calls with Microsoft support and they are no help other than telling me to be sure the system has all available Win10 updates installed. I did that and still no activation. This particular machine was built with Win 8.1 Pro, but upgraded with the "free" Win10 program a couple years ago, so now is Win10 Pro. I have the original 8.1 product key label and media, but it won't accept that product key. Should I log in to my Microsoft account and try to link this old 8.1 product key?
 

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