I'm sure this has been asked before but I have no idea how to define it in search.
I'm upgrading an old Emachine from a 2.6ghz duo core with an Emachine Mobo and 4gb mem to a new mobo with intel i5-2400 cpu and 8gb mem.. I get conflicting reports about how installing a new mobo on a win7 system will work. Some tutorials state that I can simple plug it into my old HDD with no problems and all my file will be there. Others say I'll need to call MS to reactivate my OS. Another says I'll have to do a complete clean install. But here's the real problem.. I have no external HDD and no way of saving an image of my HDD .. on top of that .. This PC game with Win7 preinstalled on the HDD so even if I save my important files to some disks and do a complete clean install I wont have my Win7 disk to install that .. So I'm praying I can just save my HDD from any complications without backing it up.
Can someone explain to me how I should go about this swap without buying a new copy of windows?
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I hate to tell you, but you might have a tough time doing what you want to do.
A new motherboard nearly always means you will need to reinstall Windows. If you had the exact same kind of motherboard as a replacement it would probably not be required, but it doesn't sound like that is the situation here.
That means you would need a Windows CD. You could ask around if people you know could give you an OEM CD of Windows and then you could use the CD key you already have with it. That might work.
The CDs aren't the controlled thing as much as the CD keys are, so it might work.
You might also be able to order a backup CD from Microsoft with like $10 or something if you ask them.
You will probably need to get them on the phone anyway, because it sounds like you have an OEM (usually the kind that is pre-installed by companies) and those stick with the motherboard and hard drive they are supplied with.
The license terms of the OEM license clearly says it is not transferable to a different motherboard and hard drive, but sometimes Microsoft is willing to overlook that if you give them a sob story of some kind. It will be tough for you since Microsoft will expect you to have another motherboard common for Emachine computers if you call them up and tell them you had Emachines send you a new motherboard because your current one broke. I doubt the one you have qualifies as that.
Anyway, regardless of license concerns, they may work with you so you can at least try.
One thing I would definitely not expect through this whole process is to just plug in the hard drive with the OS on it and have it work no fuss. That would work if it were a data only drive, but the OS files installed on it will likely prevent doing this since its an OS drive.
Also, you may be able to copy your files to CDs if you have a CD writer and a few CDs laying around. That is a reasonably cheap process for most people. Cheap USB hard drives are another possible option for backing up files.
I have the product key on the side of my tower.. I guess I'll try finding a download of it and backing up my files to DCs .. Maybe try a sob story ;__; which it kinda is. I spend 300$ on all this new hardware to find out some technical license junk might make me have to repurchase it.