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Can I change the motherboard without re-installing Windows?

My computer has a problem where the computer has a black screen. I'm hypothesizing that the motherboard is fried, so I am going to replace the motherboard. I have heard that you must re-install Windows after changing and that you should back-up my files. I can't back-up my files if I can't access them. Is there a way that I can avoid this and not buy windows?

I am planning to replace it with the same type of motherboard.
The computers a Gateway SX2800-01r if it matters.
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  1. Best answer
    Your data should be fine. I say "should" because with the swapping of any part, it's recommended to back up your data. You won't have to re-install windows as long as the motherboard is the exact same as the previous one, and has the same chipset. Although it is recommended to do a fresh install, if it's the same motherboard you shouldn't run into any problems.
  2. If it is the exact same motherboard no issue! Depending on windows version repair can be performed if motherboard different (like dif brand) and windows will need re activation in that case which is not an issue.
  3. HunterW said:
    Your data should be fine. I say "should" because with the swapping of any part, it's recommended to back up your data. You won't have to re-install windows as long as the motherboard is the exact same as the previous one, and has the same chipset. Although it is recommended to do a fresh install, if it's the same motherboard you shouldn't run into any problems.


    Thanks :)
    Would it change if I added ram as well?
  4. xiShard said:
    My computer has a problem where the computer has a black screen. I'm hypothesizing that the motherboard is fried, so I am going to replace the motherboard. I have heard that you must re-install Windows after changing and that you should back-up my files. I can't back-up my files if I can't access them. Is there a way that I can avoid this and not buy windows?

    I am planning to replace it with the same type of motherboard.
    The computers a Gateway SX2800-01r if it matters.


    You could try puppy linux, it runs in a optical drive or usb, and installs its self on memory; ram rather than harddarive like windows does.

    It will load a fully running linux os with out ever installing anything on your hdd unless you permit it too, and you can save any data without windows in background, and windows would not even know.

    you need to create aboot cd, or usbfat32 stick. (its saved me many times, as its a last resort overriding anything.)

    I love puppy linux.
  5. xiShard said:
    HunterW said:
    Your data should be fine. I say "should" because with the swapping of any part, it's recommended to back up your data. You won't have to re-install windows as long as the motherboard is the exact same as the previous one, and has the same chipset. Although it is recommended to do a fresh install, if it's the same motherboard you shouldn't run into any problems.


    Thanks :)
    Would it change if I added ram as well?


    It wouldn't change at all if you added more ram.
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