Can I upgrade mobo, or is OEM win7 locked?

I have a dell xps 8300 (specs below) and want to upgrade motherboard to take advantage of the newest bells and whistles like pci-e 3.0, faster ram speed, more sata-3, etc.

I would like to keep most of the other components for now. Is it as simple as just pulling the cpu/ram/cards, installing on new mobo, and reconnecting the drives to new mobo?

Or will I run into problems because/if the windows 7 that came from Dell is tied to the motherboard? Not planning on upgrading HDD in near future, so was just hoping I could disconnect everything and re-connect to a new mobo, if possible.

i5-2310 2.9 GHz
6670 (plan to upgrade soon)
1 TB HDD 7200 rpm
6 GB DDR3 1333 MHz (plan to upgrade eventually)
380w psu (upgrading to 600w)
win7 Home Premium 64 bit
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More about upgrade mobo win7 locked
  1. I built an i7-930 X58 PC with Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM. I upgraded processors from i7-930 to i7-960. Later, I upgraded from X58 to X79 motherboard with new processor (3930k) all under the same Win 7 OEM install. No re-installation was necessary and it runs beautifully.

    First, go to the new mobo mfr web site and download the latest drivers for the new board. Remove the old board/processor and put in the new one. Make sure the disk mode is set the same in your BIOS (ie AHCI) as with your last mobo on initial boot. Win 7 will recognize there is new hardware on first boot and require a restart. It should restart fine. Once you're in Windows, install all the new hardware-specific drivers for the new motherboard and its controllers (sound/lan/chipset, etc...) from the mobo manufacturers web site.

    Of course, ymmv. Not sure if Dell has a special proprietary version of Windows.
  2. Thanks for the response! I guess I will just try it (new mobo) and hope for the best. Great tip on the new drivers to, thanks!

    I just really don't want to have to buy a new copy/license for win7 whenI have a perfectly good one sitting on my HDD that I already paid for.
  3. Dell's Oem copys cannot be transferred. If you have purchase an OEM copy of windows, and swap a motherboard, you can always reload windows, and you will be directed to call microsoft. once you tell them your copy is only installed on one machine, they will provide you a new number. this does not happen with a dell oem copy.
  4. I know what you mean. Try it and post your results. Don't forget to make the disk mode the same when booting to the new board. It may be set to IDE/Legacy or AHCI. You just want to make sure you set the controller you plug your HDD into to the same mode on the new board as it was set to on the old board or you'll get a blue screen when you boot for the first time.

    Check the BIOS before you pull the old board out.
  5. The problem with dell's is although you get a key, you usually don't have to activate as it detects a dell bios and is automatically activated as of their 2.0 activation scheme. With a new MB, it may deactivate. In theory, replacing a broken component they usually will activate over the phone when you call them. Just upgrading isn't technically covered under that.

    You also run into the pin header issue, in which some name brand pc's use their own pinheader for power/hd light/power light/speaker/etc in 1 big block that plugs onto the board and, 10 different MB's from 10 different makers will use a different config. If that happens, you will have to pull the pins out of the header and push each pin onto the pin header according to the new MB pins.
  6. Good point. I wasn't using a proprietary case in my case.

    Worst case might be OP has to buy another case and a copy of Windows, too.

    Worth a shot though.

    Thinking this through a little more... Dell likes to supply just enough power for the build. I would make sure the PSU can provide the necessary power for any new components (future graphics upgrade, especially). Looks like OP has it taken care of.
  7. You guys are really making me hate Dell and wishingI started building my own pc's earlier. Sunds like I'm better off building a new system, case and all.

    In the meantime, the first thing I want to do is upgrade gpu. I am gonna have to replace psu to do that, but that might not work if Dell used a funky power connector and a non-standard psu size????

    So if that doesn't work, and I have to build a whole new computer can I re-use anything, like the cpu, or did dell work out some crooked deal with intel like microsoft did with their Dell windows that doesn't transfer mobos?

    I just don't want to be stuck playing games on a 6670 dell conned me into getting before I browsed awesome forums like this and started to educate myself.
  8. The XPS line does have a better PSU in them and can handle a fair amount of GPU's. You won't get any benefit from upgrading to a PCIe 3.0 slot. My XPS has like 6 SATA ports plus an eSata port, how many does yours have that you want more? Granted their are Sata3 and not 6, but I don't run a SSD so I'm not worried about 6. When I upgrade, I will build my own again and pass this one down, but at the time it was a good deal at the holidays with like $500 off the price and I had no money and used dell credit to get it. If you have to do Dell, at least the XPS line is the upper line and I haven't had any component failures.
  9. well, i'm going to forget about upgrading the mobo, doesn't seem worth it. Last question, wanna wrap it up since not in correct forum exactly anymore...

    It's an XPS 8300 from late 2011. I have to replace psu or I can't really upgrade gpu (a 7750 is not enough of an upgrade, everything else reqires 400w plus and 6 pins). Does Dell psu's on the xps line have standard atx and cpu connectors that can be replaced with any brand such as corsair? Or are they proprietary? Answer me this and ou are my hero for the day :)
  10. The PSU is standard and can be replaced no problem. It's not a weird size or connector or anything. My PSU has 2x6pin connectors on, on separate rails I believe in my XPS.
  11. Thank you, I will just go with a new psu/gpu in my Dell, and leave the mobo alone then. Consider this thread [solved]! (don't know how to change that in forums)

  12. OEM versions of Windows 7 are identical to Full License Retail versions except for the following:

    - OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel

    - OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on

    - OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard

    - OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system ^

    OEM vs. Retail

    OEM Windows 7 comes preinstalled on computers. This is the cheapest way to buy windows. Large PC manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. (collectively called royalty OEMs) install windows on millions of such PCs. The main characteristics of such systems are:

    The license agreement and support agreement is between you and the PC maker, not MS.

    Activation by the end user is not required. Windows is preactivated at the factory by the OEM using images and standard SLP keys.

    Your copy of windows is locked to that PC. The license is not transferable.

    OEM system builder is what you get when you buy from say Newegg or from a local "white box" vendor. It too has the characteristics of Royalty OEM windows. Although it is possible for an individual to buy a System Builder copy, the license requires that the software be installed using the OPK (OEM preinstall kit) and then resold.

    Retail version is what you buy from a retailer like Amazon or Bestbuy. Its a full price version that comes packaged in a retail box with a retail product key. It has to be activated online via MS servers using the key on the box, it is not tied to the PC it was first installed on, though it can only be used on a single computer at a time. And, MS directly provides the support for it. It is also more expensive than OEM copies.

    As far as functionality is concerned, theres no difference between any of the versions above, given any specific edition (i.e. between OEM pro and retail pro, or between OEM ultimate and retail ultimate).

    Windows 8 OEM is a whole different ballgame.

    License agreement for the transfer of a Windows 8 license
  13. This is good info, but in my case, I was able to upgrade my motherboard without an issue with an OEM edition of Windows 7. Of course, my OEM edition wasn't distributed through Dell. So, my OEM version of Windows 7 behaved much like you describe the retail version behaving.

    I didn't have to re-activate or anything.

    I did have a situation with an XP build that required a call to MS support. It was with an XP machine by which I had to replace a motherboard immediately due to a defect. The OEM version required that MS feed me a special 40-character key over the phone after I explained the situation to them.
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