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Changing CPU/Motherboard, what to do w/ HDD?

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  • Hard Drives
  • Motherboards
  • CPUs
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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February 6, 2012 6:14:17 PM

Hi there!

I'm switching from an AMD Phenom II X4 970 to an Intel 2500K. So obviously, I'm switching motherboards as well.

I've formatted hard drives before, but have never replaced -just- the Mobo and CPU. Normally, when I do a new rig, I simply buy a new HDD along with it. Seeing as I like my 10k RPM HDD and don't have a ton of cash, I'd like to reuse it.

I used a 1-time OEM W7 disc to install. But, I've got a W7 disc from my laptop that I'm just going to use to install the OS.

Now, my question is, what do I have to do to re-use the HDD? Do I have to reformat? Wipe everything and reformat? How would I go about wiping the HDD?

Keeping any data isn't an issue, it's my game rig and I don't have any music/photos on it that I care about.

Thanks for any and all advice.

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February 6, 2012 6:29:53 PM

The simplest thing to do would be to let the win7 install reformat the drive; it's one of the questions that gets asked during the run-up to the installation.

Not sure what a one-time OEM disc is. If you bought the OEM disc in the same order as the HDD, I believe that it is tied to that HDD and you can re-install it. Other than that, I won't give licensing advice.

As long as there is no secret information on that drive that you would not want to see resurface, just let the installation procedure reformat the drive.

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February 6, 2012 7:07:21 PM

WyomingKnott said:
The simplest thing to do would be to let the win7 install reformat the drive; it's one of the questions that gets asked during the run-up to the installation.

Not sure what a one-time OEM disc is. If you bought the OEM disc in the same order as the HDD, I believe that it is tied to that HDD and you can re-install it. Other than that, I won't give licensing advice.

As long as there is no secret information on that drive that you would not want to see resurface, just let the installation procedure reformat the drive.


I bought the W7 disc from Newegg with my HDD, yeah. But either way, I just need to know what to do with the HDD.

So you're saying just put the rig together and boot from the W7 disc and just format from the W7 install like normal?
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February 6, 2012 7:12:29 PM

Yep. Win7 likes to be allowed to repartition and reformat the drive.

Oh - when you install it, be sure that the OS drive is the only one attached to the system. Win7 has an odd habit of installing its boot partition on some other drive. I found this hard to believe, but I disconnected all my drives, put in two scratch drives, installed Win7 and lo - the boot partition was on the other drive.
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February 6, 2012 7:18:18 PM

WyomingKnott said:
Yep. Win7 likes to be allowed to repartition and reformat the drive.

Oh - when you install it, be sure that the OS drive is the only one attached to the system. Win7 has an odd habit of installing its boot partition on some other drive. I found this hard to believe, but I disconnected all my drives, put in two scratch drives, installed Win7 and lo - the boot partition was on the other drive.


Right on, thanks!

I only have the one drive so it won't be a problem.
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February 6, 2012 8:10:40 PM

The OEM key is tied to the old motherboard not the hard drive,you will need a new windows 7 key.

Windows 7 OEM versions


According to Microsoft, roughly 90% of all copies of Windows are purchased with new PCs, preinstalled by Original Equipment Manufacturers that build the PC and sell Windows as part of the package. That will certainly be true with Windows 7.

OEM (major PC manufacturer) This is, by far, the cheapest way to purchase Windows 7. The top 20 or so PC makers (sometimes called “royalty OEMs”) collectively sell millions of PCs per month with Windows already installed on them. When you start up that PC for the first time, you accept two license agreements, one with the manufacturer and one with Microsoft. Here’s what you need to know about this type of license agreement:

Your Windows license agreement is between you and the PC maker, not between you and Microsoft.
The OEM uses special imaging tools to install Windows on PCs they manufacture. When you first turn on the PC, you accept a license agreement with the OEM and with Microsoft.
The PC maker is required to provide support for Windows. Except for security issues, Microsoft will not provide free support for any issues you have with Windows purchased from an OEM.
Your copy of Windows is locked to the PC on which you purchased it. You cannot transfer that license to another PC.
You can upgrade any components or peripherals on your PC and keep your license intact. You can replace the motherboard with an identical model or an equivalent model from the OEM if it fails. However, if you personally replace or upgrade the motherboard, your OEM Windows license is null and void.

Windows activation is typically not required when Windows is preinstalled by a royalty OEM. Instead, these copies are pre-activated at the factory. Your copy of Windows will be automatically reactivated if you reinstall it using the media or recovery partition from the PC maker, it will not require activation.
At the time you purchase an OEM copy of Windows 7 to be preinstalled on a new PC, you must choose either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. Your agreement with the OEM determines whether you can switch to a different version; some PC makers support only a single version with specific PC models and will not allow you to switch from 32-bit to 64-bit (or vice versa) after purchase.

OEM (System Builder) If you buy a new computer from a local PC builder (sometimes called a “white box” PC), you can get an OEM edition of Windows preinstalled. This type of OEM license differs in a few crucial details from the version the big PC makers sell:

As with the royalty OEM versions, your copy of Windows is locked to the PC on which it is installed and cannot be transferred to a PC, nor can the motherboard be upgraded.
Under the terms of its agreement with Microsoft, the OEM must use the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) to install Windows. When you first turn on the PC, you accept a license agreement with the OEM and with Microsoft. The OEM is required to provide support for your copy of Windows.
Activation of your new PC is required within 30 days. The product key should already have been entered as part of the OPK installation and activation should be automatic and transparent to you.
Although it is possible for an individual to buy a System Builder copy of Windows 7 and install it on a new PC, that scenario is specifically prohibited by the license agreement, which requires that the software be installed using the OPK and then resold to a non-related third party. (As I noted in a September 2008 post, Microsoft once allowed “hobbyists” to use OEM System Builder software to build their own PCs, but the company switched to a hard-line stance on this issue sometime after Vista shipped in early 2007.)
When you purchase a white-box PC from a system builder, the PC maker preinstalls the Windows version you purchased. The package you receive includes reinstallation media and a product key that is similar to a full packaged product but cannot be used for an in-place upgrade. You may or may not receive both 32-bit and 64-bit media. If you receive both types of media, you can switch from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows or vice versa by performing a custom reinstall using your product key.
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February 7, 2012 11:55:59 AM

Um, Area51reopened, some OEM versions are bought by consumers and not tied to the original PC. Technically, it has to be purchased with a piece of hardware and is tied to that hardware. If it was bought with the drive, and is tied to the drive, then moving the drive allows the owner to move the OEM version too.

Yes, this accounts for a tiny percentage of licenses, but it was within the license agreement the last time that I checked (several years ago, to be honest). I agree that if you buy prebuilt you cannot move an OEM, but the OP stated "I bought the W7 disc from Newegg with my HDD, yeah."

Personally, I own full boxed retail versions of XP (two) and one boxed retail version of Win7 upgrade (which I make valid based on one of the XP full versions, since it isn't installed at the moment). It makes my validation phone calls to Microsoft really short.

I may be wrong, your information may be more recent. Especially "As I noted in a September 2008 post, Microsoft once allowed “hobbyists” to use OEM System Builder software to build their own PCs, but the company switched to a hard-line stance on this issue sometime after Vista shipped in early 2007." Can you provide a link? This is not so much for the OP's benefit as mine; I would like to stay current on the rules.

Thanks.
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February 11, 2012 1:28:35 AM

So, just to be perfectly clear...

If I change my AM3 Mobo, and obviously the CPU, to an Intel Mobo/CPU... all I have to do is boot from the W7 disk once I've swapped the parts and it'll allow me to re-format in W7 setup?

Or do I have to re-format/wipe the drive beforehand, then install W7?

Just want to get my order of operations straight to avoid any hiccups.

Don't want to just pop in the W7 disc without prepping the HDD to see a "Are you dumb?"-esque warning on screen.

Obviously I don't plan on keeping any of the data on the HDD, just don't want to get stuck somewhere I shouldn't.
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February 11, 2012 7:41:04 PM

Yes, the setup procedure will let you create new partitions.

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