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New Motherboard - can I save my Windows install ?

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#1 TNF


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Posted 17 October 2014 - 11:16 AM

Installing a new motherboard/memory/graphics card...


Is there any way possible to keep my current Windows 7 install, including all programs, etc ?


While I like the idea of a clean reinstall, I think in this case I would love to be able to keep all software "as is".


The thought of reinstalling everything I use, seems like a nightmare.


Of course drivers are a different issue, I know they have to be reinstalled for the most part.





I've heard I will have to reinstall windows.

I've heard I can remove current GPU and revert back to the on-bard video and see if I get a screen with the new build and go from there.

I have also seen online references to software that would help me achieve this.


Any thoughts or advice ?


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#2 jonuk76


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Posted 17 October 2014 - 01:07 PM

I have switched across an installation to a different system without re-installing a few times (XP, Vista and 7, haven't attempted 8).  It's not the recommended procedure, and I've never been totally happy with it (a clean install is I feel still a better option), but it seems to work.  There's no guarantee it will always work of course.


As far as Windows is concerned, you are swapping a large number of devices in one go.  Expect to go through a number of restarts as new devices are detected and drivers installed.


- Have all drivers for your new hardware ready

- You will have to re-activate Windows within a certain time period.  Every time I've done it, it's re-activated online without problems, but it's a potential sticking point, especially if your Windows is OEM licensed and it won't re-activate online.  I generally leave it until I'm satisfied it's working properly before activating Windows.  Bear in mind OEM Windows is licensed to a particular machine, and officially only like for like motherboard replacements are allowed, not upgrades...

- As always, back up anything irreplaceable before trying this.  Ideally, back up the full system image, so you can revert if it goes horribly wrong!

Edited by jonuk76, 17 October 2014 - 01:09 PM.


#3 TNF

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 03:05 PM

Thanks Jon.

I have so much stuff installed, I just hate to do it again.

But now, I'm thinking of upgrading my SSD also.  I have an older OCZ 120GB and I may just pull that, save it as a back up, and get a Samsung 840 or 850 PRO.


And... maybe get Windows 8.1 and do a fresh install.


This "cheap" upgrade I started with, for a new MB and memory, is getting more expensive the more I keep planning it ;)


I tried Win 8... didn't care for it so stayed with Win7.   I have my laptop able to dual boot, but I find I never even use Win8.

But I'm reading about potential faster FPS in shooter games, plus I know 8.1 isn't as bad as I let myself believe it was when 8 came out.


Eh... who knows... I'm just trying to upgrade everything I can afford.. all at once.

Make it as clean as possible.


Thanks again for the info, and replies.

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