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Will i have to re-install Windows 8 after a motherboard and cpu swap?

So i have been wanting to upgrade my mobo and cpu for a while now and i need to get this question answered, there seems to be no solid yes or no, but atleast i can get some guidance i guess. Currently i am on the same hardware that i built my computer with, full specs in signature below. I am going to upgrade from my current MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 FM2 mobo to an ASRock 990FX Extreme4 AM3+ board. I am also going to swap my current AMD A10 6800k APU to a shiny new, faster, overall better AMD FX 8350. I obviously am using Windows 8 and most everyone has said that with Windows 8, after a mobo swap, nothing really happens, you do not have to re-install windows. I definitely cannot lose my programs and data, it would take me weeks to re download and re install all the 300GB worth of games and programs i have, not to mention getting everything back to the way it is now. The fact that this computer is shared and is now perfect for them, legacy friendly :lol:, doesnt take any pressure off me.
So what are the chances after the mobo and cpu swap, i will have to re install windows and lose all my data/programs/games? What would be likely to happen in your opinion and based off experiences? What about just having to re activate windows? I would connect and be booting off the same and only internal hard drive i am using now. I will also be backing up and creating a system image, both saved to an external HDD, just in case for the worst scenario of losing data.
Any help and feedback is very hugely appreciated! Thanks!
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  1. Yes is the definite answer. One cannot simply change motherboards (unless for the exact same one) without re installing Windows. That's mad talk.

    Edit: If you cheaped out and bought an OEM version of Windows, that is now a coaster, as it tied to the motherboard.
  2. Heironious said:
    Yes is the definite answer. One cannot simply change motherboards (unless for the exact same one) without re installing Windows. That's mad talk.

    Edit: If you cheaped out and bought an OEM version of Windows, that is now a coaster, as it tied to the motherboard.


    You kinda destroyed my hope with that first sentence. This post says otherwise... http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1759681/fwiw-hassle-windows-reactivation-motherboard-replacement.html?xtor=RSS-9990
    Im pretty sure i got the retail version, which i now know is better and what the difference is.
  3. Best answer
    Heironious said:
    Yes is the definite answer. One cannot simply change motherboards (unless for the exact same one) without re installing Windows. That's mad talk.

    Edit: If you cheaped out and bought an OEM version of Windows, that is now a coaster, as it tied to the motherboard.


    Incorrect . There is no "OEM "version of windows 8 . There is a "home user license " that lets you activate on 3 computers [ though only one at a time] .

    7 would be a coaster , 8 is good to go but as stated unless the board is identical you will probably have to reinstall .

    A board with an identical chipset might boot but likely the device drivers will need sorting out . Sound, LAN , etc etc may not be identical and will need new drivers from the new mb disk
  4. Outlander_04 said:
    Heironious said:
    Yes is the definite answer. One cannot simply change motherboards (unless for the exact same one) without re installing Windows. That's mad talk.

    Edit: If you cheaped out and bought an OEM version of Windows, that is now a coaster, as it tied to the motherboard.


    Sound, LAN , etc etc may not be identical and will need new drivers from the new mb disk
    Yeah so all i would have to do, if it boots, is just install the new mobo drivers?
  5. I have only cd oem recovery windows 8 64bit can i receive legit product key? How?
  6. I just upgraded my CPU and Motherboard from AMD to Intel i7, no re-installation of windows 8.1 needed.

    The OS try to fix itself for half an hour, need some human intervention, but at the end managed to boot up properly. Took me while to get all the drivers sorted but it's working and activated again.
  7. Teddy Duck said:
    I just upgraded my CPU and Motherboard from AMD to Intel i7, no re-installation of windows 8.1 needed.

    The OS try to fix itself for half an hour, need some human intervention, but at the end managed to boot up properly. Took me while to get all the drivers sorted but it's working and activated again.



    Interesting... did you lose any data at all? What intervention was needed exactly?
  8. I have twice switched motherboards and CPUs in Windows 8/8.1 and both times Windows detected the new hardware and worked just fine. The only thing I had to do was reactivate Windows. Keep in mind, however, that these were fairly lateral moves I.E. going from a Core 2 duo to a Core 2 quad, (where the previous motherboard didn't support that version of Core 2 quad.) In both instances the chipsets were fairly similar. All of my data and programs worked just fine after the switch.

    Please note that this does not apply to all swaps. I'm sure there are going to be instances where this won't apply. Perhaps I was just lucky...
  9. hey im about to do roughly the same swap as our friend who put up this post. except from an asus board to a gigabyte. BUT my question is should i insert the gigabyte disc and upload everything before i tear anything apart to install the new board and chip?
    It sounds like that is what everyone is recommending, but like he said above its hard to find a YES/NO answer.


    So Ive installed all the physical parts and put everything back together except the side panels so i can reach inside...
    i hit the power button and placed the Windows 8 disc in the tray and it shot me straight to the sign in screen. Im gonna eject the Windows disc put in the MOBO disc upload the drivers and Restart and well see what happens
  10. badreligion292 said:


    hey im about to do roughly the same swap as our friend who put up this post. except from an asus board to a gigabyte. BUT my question is should i insert the gigabyte disc and upload everything before i tear anything apart to install the new board and chip?
    It sounds like that is what everyone is recommending, but like he said above its hard to find a YES/NO answer.


    Good luck, and make sure to post the results as to what happens before and after the swap, please. Best to start a new thread of your own for your question. Again, good luck!
  11. Interesting that mb swaps are working using win 8

    The AMD chipsets wont be totally different so its worth trying .
    After the repair completes it would be a good idea to check device manager and find old device entries [ if any are there ] and uninstall them
  12. Heres my final update (hopefully)
    So i pulled my old board ASUS board and A6-6400k out and replaced them with a GIGABYTE 990 and an FX8350, and connected everything up.
    Hit the power button, it blue-screened me and restarted.
    Then i put in the windows 8 disc, and it went straight to the sign in screen, i got to my desktop, ejected the windows disc and put in the new MOBO disc, Installed all the drivers and utilities.
    Restarted, pulled out the disc, and everything is as it should be.
    ~all of this took only ten minutes~
    Turned it off again to sit for awhile, and everything is still in order.
    (EXCEPT!!!!! the screen saver at sign in changed, but thats the only thing different or missing)

    HOPE THIS HELPS BRO
  13. badreligion292 said:
    Heres my final update (hopefully)
    So i pulled my old board ASUS board and A6-6400k out and replaced them with a GIGABYTE 990 and an FX8350, and connected everything up.
    Hit the power button, it blue-screened me and restarted.
    Then i put in the windows 8 disc, and it went straight to the sign in screen, i got to my desktop, ejected the windows disc and put in the new MOBO disc, Installed all the drivers and utilities.
    Restarted, pulled out the disc, and everything is as it should be.
    ~all of this took only ten minutes~
    Turned it off again to sit for awhile, and everything is still in order.
    (EXCEPT!!!!! the screen saver at sign in changed, but thats the only thing different or missing)

    HOPE THIS HELPS BRO


    Wow, thats exactly how i hope it goes for me. Did you have to re activate windows or anything? Re activate any paid programs? Anything else at all? Thats pretty awesome though. Keep us posted. Thanks!!
  14. DarkDubzs said:
    badreligion292 said:
    Heres my final update (hopefully)
    So i pulled my old board ASUS board and A6-6400k out and replaced them with a GIGABYTE 990 and an FX8350, and connected everything up.
    Hit the power button, it blue-screened me and restarted.
    Then i put in the windows 8 disc, and it went straight to the sign in screen, i got to my desktop, ejected the windows disc and put in the new MOBO disc, Installed all the drivers and utilities.
    Restarted, pulled out the disc, and everything is as it should be.
    ~all of this took only ten minutes~
    Turned it off again to sit for awhile, and everything is still in order.
    (EXCEPT!!!!! the screen saver at sign in changed, but thats the only thing different or missing)

    HOPE THIS HELPS BRO


    Wow, thats exactly how i hope it goes for me. Did you have to re activate windows or anything? Re activate any paid programs? Anything else at all? Thats pretty awesome though. Keep us posted. Thanks!!


    Yeah after an hour or so of playing a game it told me i had to REactivate windows.
    It thought i was trying to activate a second computer, which is NOT whats happening.
    I called the toll free number, it makes you enter like a 30-digit code adn then it gives you a 20-digit code to enter and your all done.
    Took me 10 minutes
  15. badreligion292 said:
    DarkDubzs said:
    badreligion292 said:
    Heres my final update (hopefully)
    So i pulled my old board ASUS board and A6-6400k out and replaced them with a GIGABYTE 990 and an FX8350, and connected everything up.
    Hit the power button, it blue-screened me and restarted.
    Then i put in the windows 8 disc, and it went straight to the sign in screen, i got to my desktop, ejected the windows disc and put in the new MOBO disc, Installed all the drivers and utilities.
    Restarted, pulled out the disc, and everything is as it should be.
    ~all of this took only ten minutes~
    Turned it off again to sit for awhile, and everything is still in order.
    (EXCEPT!!!!! the screen saver at sign in changed, but thats the only thing different or missing)

    HOPE THIS HELPS BRO


    Wow, thats exactly how i hope it goes for me. Did you have to re activate windows or anything? Re activate any paid programs? Anything else at all? Thats pretty awesome though. Keep us posted. Thanks!!


    Yeah after an hour or so of playing a game it told me i had to REactivate windows.
    It thought i was trying to activate a second computer, which is NOT whats happening.
    I called the toll free number, it makes you enter like a 30-digit code adn then it gives you a 20-digit code to enter and your all done.
    Took me 10 minutes


    Where was this phone number? Like, where did you find it? Did it tell you on screen or did you have to look for it on your Windows 8 disk paper case thing? Possibly leave the phone number here if possible, please? And was it an actual person you spoke to and explained what's up or was it just a robot? And when i do this, just to be all clear, what 30 digit code was it, like where was it located if it was on the disk case? Sorry for all the questions, just want to be sure of everything when i have to do this.
  16. When it told me i had to reactivate windows it was a blue screen and it gave me a box/link that took me to the pc settings. and on that screen ti asked me what country im in. and then it gave me the phone number to call. it was all pretty easy. I was expecting much more of a headache and clusterF*** than it ended up being.
  17. badreligion292 said:
    When it told me i had to reactivate windows it was a blue screen and it gave me a box/link that took me to the pc settings. and on that screen ti asked me what country im in. and then it gave me the phone number to call. it was all pretty easy. I was expecting much more of a headache and clusterF*** than it ended up being.


    I am doing the exact same thing that you are, and it is a cluster....

    I am attempting to go from a Phenom 2 X3 and a Gigabyte motherboard to a FX-6300 and a MSI mATX motherboard.

    every other component will be identical. Same HDD, video card, PSU, DVD drive.

    However, the CPU was DOA :(

    Then , i pooed the OLD Phenom 2 into the new motherboard and it could POST.

    However, Win 8.1 decided to go into Automatic repair mode and then my USB KB and Mouse are disabled...

    any suggestions?
  18. DavidWindows said:
    badreligion292 said:
    When it told me i had to reactivate windows it was a blue screen and it gave me a box/link that took me to the pc settings. and on that screen ti asked me what country im in. and then it gave me the phone number to call. it was all pretty easy. I was expecting much more of a headache and clusterF*** than it ended up being.


    I am doing the exact same thing that you are, and it is a cluster....

    I am attempting to go from a Phenom 2 X3 and a Gigabyte motherboard to a FX-6300 and a MSI mATX motherboard.

    every other component will be identical. Same HDD, video card, PSU, DVD drive.

    However, the CPU was DOA :(

    Then , i pooed the OLD Phenom 2 into the new motherboard and it could POST.

    However, Win 8.1 decided to go into Automatic repair mode and then my USB KB and Mouse are disabled...

    any suggestions?


    Start a new thread of your question for better help. You should also try HardForum
  19. Here is my story,
    I just built a new computer with a MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming motherboard and a I7=4770k CPU. I installed Windows 8.1 64bit (which activated immediately) and a few programs and did some tweaking and testing for several days. I wasn't happy with the performance of my CPU so I pulled it and installed a different I7-4770k. I booted up and was fully expecting to be required to re-ativate Windows but to my surprise it was not needed. I don't know if it makes any difference, but I am using the full version of Win8.1 and not the system builders version.
  20. major photon said:
    Here is my story,
    I just built a new computer with a MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming motherboard and a I7=4770k CPU. I installed Windows 8.1 64bit (which activated immediately) and a few programs and did some tweaking and testing for several days. I wasn't happy with the performance of my CPU so I pulled it and installed a different I7-4770k. I booted up and was fully expecting to be required to re-ativate Windows but to my surprise it was not needed. I don't know if it makes any difference, but I am using the full version of Win8.1 and not the system builders version.


    Most likely because its the same type of cpu, they were both a 4770k.
  21. That just might be the reason, but I was under the impression that CPU's were serialized but maybe that is just a number stamped on the case and not encoded in the chip itself.
  22. major photon said:
    That just might be the reason, but I was under the impression that CPU's were serialized but maybe that is just a number stamped on the case and not encoded in the chip itself.


    CPU's do have a "serial number" encoded in the chip, it just has to do with low level functions, but that doesnt factor in. The only reason, or biggest reason people have to re install windows after a major hardware swap is because the drivers dont match up and cannot communicate information well or at all between hardware and software ends. Like the drivers of an Intel i3 processor wouldnt match up well with an i5, so, long story short, the system wouldn't be able to boot or possibly even post. The simple solution would be to delete the old drivers and install the new ones needed for the new processor, but that is impossible if the pc cant even boot up, so you have to re-install the OS so that you can just boot up and the drivers wouldnt be there anymore(nothing would, really lol), so no conflicts would be present. Same thing with a mobo swap. I believe every other part would be okay to swap, but you should always backup all your files and create a system image to an external hard drive in case you do have to re install the OS. Obviously if the cpu is swapped for the same model cpu, the drivers needed would be the same, so no conflicts could be present, other than Windows thinking you built a new system or something, or just playing dumb, just to get you to buy a new Windows OS. If anything, windows would ask for a re-activation, and you can probably just enter the key password from your Windows disk sleeve or call Microsoft and explain, and theyll give you a key to enter and all will be good.

    How and why did i type all this?:heink:
  23. I knew I would not have to re-install the OS, I was just surprised windows did not call for re-activation.
  24. On the topic of Windows activation, my understanding is that Windows makes a hash file based on the id of specific components (CPU s/n, MB, HDD, CD/DVD) and if any of those components changes, when Windows does a check of the activation it will determine if the new hash file is different enough from the original that the OS is no longer activated.

    So minor hardware changes are silently accepted and the activation remains, but a major hardware change like a new MB produces a hash file that's different enough to require reactivation. A changed CPU s/n alone is probably considered a small enough change that there's no reactivation required.
  25. dmiller79 said:
    On the topic of Windows activation, my understanding is that Windows makes a hash file based on the id of specific components (CPU s/n, MB, HDD, CD/DVD) and if any of those components changes, when Windows does a check of the activation it will determine if the new hash file is different enough from the original that the OS is no longer activated.

    So minor hardware changes are silently accepted and the activation remains, but a major hardware change like a new MB produces a hash file that's different enough to require reactivation. A changed CPU s/n alone is probably considered a small enough change that there's no reactivation required.


    I do believe you are correct. I had always assumed the motherboard and the CPU either one would be enough alone to trigger reactivation, but you learn something new every day in the computer world. I am pretty sure the motherboard would trigger reactivation given there are so much hardware integrated into the motherboard these days.
  26. dmiller79 said:
    On the topic of Windows activation, my understanding is that Windows makes a hash file based on the id of specific components (CPU s/n, MB, HDD, CD/DVD) and if any of those components changes, when Windows does a check of the activation it will determine if the new hash file is different enough from the original that the OS is no longer activated.

    So minor hardware changes are silently accepted and the activation remains, but a major hardware change like a new MB produces a hash file that's different enough to require reactivation. A changed CPU s/n alone is probably considered a small enough change that there's no reactivation required.


    That may be true, but i know for sure that mismatching drivers for different CPU's (cpu swap) is the reason people usually are forced to re-install their OS, whether it be Windows, Mac (rare hardware swaps here), or Linux, its because the mismatched drivers dont allow the system to boot.
  27. Did not work for me.

    Having two identical machines with Win8 Pro 32-Bit (called "important" and "unimportant" for now).
    "important"'s mainboard burned and has been replaced with the mobo of "unimportant", cpus remain in their respective socket (swapped together with mobo).

    Machine starts, but wants a new key because "this computer has already been activated".
    Long story put short: exchanging motherboard *and* CPU in one single task will break activation.

    Did not try what happens if i would keep the CPU.
  28. Sorry for reviving the thread but I have the same issue (I guess in week time), I will be buying a Z97 (Maximus VII Hero) board in replacement on my busted Z87 (MSI G43), Will this be a problem, I really dont want to reinstall my windows (currently on 8.1 pro), will this also work on different chipset when swapping to another board. TIA
  29. Can I buy your old A10 processor?

    ASVD74@dsl.pipex.com
  30. Just going soon from Asrock 990fx extreme 3 and athlon II 640 to Asrock z97 anniversary and pentium haswell g3258, hopes this will go well...
  31. grimmersb said:
    Can I buy your old A10 processor?

    ASVD74@dsl.pipex.com


    Sorry, for the time being, my current pc will remain the same as a family computer. Im building myself a new gaming rig, which once I get the parts and build, I think will look great and will be so awesome for all the power coming from such a small box.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/8GpqrH
  32. dmiller79 said:
    On the topic of Windows activation, my understanding is that Windows makes a hash file based on the id of specific components (CPU s/n, MB, HDD, CD/DVD) and if any of those components changes, when Windows does a check of the activation it will determine if the new hash file is different enough from the original that the OS is no longer activated.

    So minor hardware changes are silently accepted and the activation remains, but a major hardware change like a new MB produces a hash file that's different enough to require reactivation. A changed CPU s/n alone is probably considered a small enough change that there's no reactivation required.


    I can confirm what dmiller79 reported about hardware changes. I installed a new hard drive and did a restore drive image using Acronis True Image. Windows 8 required me to reauthorize by calling the toll free # and getting the new code to enter. Worked fine. When swapping out a D:\ drive, (not where the operating system resides), I did not have to reauthorize Windows.
  33. dmiller79 said:
    On the topic of Windows activation, my understanding is that Windows makes a hash file based on the id of specific components (CPU s/n, MB, HDD, CD/DVD) and if any of those components changes, when Windows does a check of the activation it will determine if the new hash file is different enough from the original that the OS is no longer activated.


    So minor hardware changes are silently accepted and the activation remains, but a major hardware change like a new MB produces a hash file that's different enough to require reactivation. A changed CPU s/n alone is probably considered a small enough change that there's no reactivation required.


    I agree. I once did a upgrade from i3 2120 to i7 3770. only some tweaking in the bios i had to do. no activation was asked by windows 8.1.
    Anyways i will be upgrading my current motherboard Asus P8B75-M LE to Intel DZ77GA-70K day after tomorrow. I will post the results.
  34. DarkDubzs said:
    So i have been wanting to upgrade my mobo and cpu for a while now and i need to get this question answered, there seems to be no solid yes or no, but atleast i can get some guidance i guess. Currently i am on the same hardware that i built my computer with, full specs in signature below. I am going to upgrade from my current MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 FM2 mobo to an ASRock 990FX Extreme4 AM3+ board. I am also going to swap my current AMD A10 6800k APU to a shiny new, faster, overall better AMD FX 8350. I obviously am using Windows 8 and most everyone has said that with Windows 8, after a mobo swap, nothing really happens, you do not have to re-install windows. I definitely cannot lose my programs and data, it would take me weeks to re download and re install all the 300GB worth of games and programs i have, not to mention getting everything back to the way it is now. The fact that this computer is shared and is now perfect for them, legacy friendly :lol:, doesnt take any pressure off me.
    So what are the chances after the mobo and cpu swap, i will have to re install windows and lose all my data/programs/games? What would be likely to happen in your opinion and based off experiences? What about just having to re activate windows? I would connect and be booting off the same and only internal hard drive i am using now. I will also be backing up and creating a system image, both saved to an external HDD, just in case for the worst scenario of losing data.
    Any help and feedback is very hugely appreciated! Thanks!


    It is entirely possible! I switched from an MSI 970A-G45 to a gigabyte GA78MLT-USB3 (because the pci-e slot was bunk) without reinstalling windows 8. The only problem afterward was getting rid of all the utilities I had previously used from the MSI board, but it wasn't an actual issue, more of an annoyance and something I should have taken care of before hand. Although, they were both am3+ boards, so switching from fm2 to am3+ may not work the same way.
  35. I have just installed a new motherboard using the same cpu, it booted up after restarting itself 4 times, was working fine for about 6 hours then windows told me it was not activated and I was using the same key on more than one computer, phoned the free phone number and got the new 48 digit activation code and it is working fine once again, I am using windows 8.1 upgraded from windows 7.
  36. Hi, I recommend you simply run sysprep.exe in the C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder with generalize checked and pick the OOBE option and shut down after sysprep. Use another operating system or Windows PE and the DISM command line tool to capture the windows image as a .wim file, name it install.wim, and replace the original install.wim from a windows iso file (The original install.wim should be in the sources folder in the iso). Then do a normal windows install; you will get to keep your programs, games, and users, but all the hardware will be reconfigured to your new cpu and motherboard.
  37. killerswit2013 said:
    dmiller79 said:
    On the topic of Windows activation, my understanding is that Windows makes a hash file based on the id of specific components (CPU s/n, MB, HDD, CD/DVD) and if any of those components changes, when Windows does a check of the activation it will determine if the new hash file is different enough from the original that the OS is no longer activated.


    So minor hardware changes are silently accepted and the activation remains, but a major hardware change like a new MB produces a hash file that's different enough to require reactivation. A changed CPU s/n alone is probably considered a small enough change that there's no reactivation required.


    I agree. I once did a upgrade from i3 2120 to i7 3770. only some tweaking in the bios i had to do. no activation was asked by windows 8.1.
    Anyways i will be upgrading my current motherboard Asus P8B75-M LE to Intel DZ77GA-70K day after tomorrow. I will post the results.


    I would like to know what bios changes you made.
  38. Hi guys, i'm thinking about the same idea as DarkDubzs, but it changes a little bit. I'm gonna to tell you my story:

    About a year ago, I bought a built computer (an Acer Aspire MC605), whose specs are:
    -Intel Core i5 3550p
    -Stock Kingston 8gb RAM
    -Mobo: Custom Acer built with Intel H61 and socket 1155 (H2)
    -WD Caviar Blue 1TB HDD
    -Graphics Card: Stock Nvidia GT 620 with 2gb GDDR3.
    -200w stock PSU.
    -Windows 8 (actually upgraded to Windows 8.1)

    I've been gradually upgrading this computer (This summer I bought a 800w PSU and a AMD Radeon r9 270 with 2gb GDDR5) because i'm a 3D animator and a PC gamer. The fact is i'm thinking about upgrading the CPU in the future without changing the motherboard. I've been searching and I saw that the i7-3770k had the exactly the same socket as my mobo (1155 (H2)), but I have some questions:
    -Will the motherboard recognize well that processor, in spite having the same socket?
    -Will I have to reinstall windows? (Notice that my Windows License is OEM, i didn't had a disk with the OS when I bought the computer)
    -Would you recommend to change my motherboard? (optional question)

    The fact is, I have a pendrive where I can boot the sistem and access to computer recovery and options, and some recovery disks, I would like to do this upgrade because i'm starting with longer animations and i'm afraid that my i5 is starting to get short in perfomance, also i'm working with 2 screens, and sometimes the system colapse with fast moves. What do you think? Is it a good idea?
  39. I am considering a similar thing as DarkDubzs except for a couple of small differences.

    My CPU would be unchanged. An Intel Core i5 3570K
    The Motherboards would be both of the same socket (Z77) and same brand. Going from a Gigabyte Z77-DS3H to a Gigabyte Z77X-D3H.
    Reason being the addition of SLI support which my current board lacks.
    So any chances that Win8.1 will accept the hardware change if the chipset is the same ? Only real difference I can see between them is the audio codec which should be fairly easy to switch the drivers. Right ?
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