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Windows 7: Can I swap motherboards without re-installing Win7?

28 Jan 2013   #1

Win7-64
 
 
Can I swap motherboards without re-installing Win7?

My current system is Windows 7-64 SP1 running in an ASUS P6T motherboard with i7-920 & 6GB RAM. My boot drive is a Samsung 840-Pro SSD.

I'm planning on building a new system with an ASUS P877-M board running an i7-3770S with 8GB RAM so I can get SATA3, USB3, a faster CPU, and a smaller form factor system. My thought was to just move all my drives as-is from my current system to the new one.

But if I do that will the new system boot OK? I'm not sure what dependency Windows 7 has on chipsets, or if there will be a difference (from the Windows 7 point of view) between my current i7-920 CPU and the i7-3770S my new system will have.

I am aware that Windows 7 itself will require re-validation because of Microsoft's fear that their precious OS has been installed on a 2nd system, but I have already checked with them on that and verified that my existing Product Key can be re-validated ok.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Jan 2013   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

You can, with some prep and use of Sysprep, but my question would be why would you want to? A clean install doesn't take very long if you plan ahead, and it will leave your system running as efficiently as possible. It gives you the best chance of having updated drivers and apps, and eliminates some big variables in case something isn't working properly in the new system.

Besides, you'd be backing up your data regardless, so why fear/avoid the clean install?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2013   #3

Win7-64
 
 

I've not used Sysprep before so will see what I can find out about that.

The problem with a clean install is, of course, re-installing all my software and then tweaking it to be able to access where all my data is. My current system has 2 SSD's (boot and temp etc.) and 2 HDD's (data of various kinds) with some Junction Links connecting everything. Recreating this would not be a fun task.

Since my boot drive is an SSD I don't worry about fragmentation. I've given up worrying about the ongoing growth of WINSXS since my SSD has enough room for that. I don't plan on migrating to Win8 any time in the foreseeable future and my current OS works just fine.

I can always do a clean install if for some reason I can't get my current boot drive to work, but I really don't want to do this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Jan 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

This is one of the reasons I am a firm believer in the K.I.S.S. principle.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #5

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I also believe in a clean install but if you choose different this should help.
Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #6

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Macrium Reflect (as does Acronis) sells a product that allows you to migrate an existing Windows 7 install to a new PC. You need a CD or folder of the drivers needed for the new PC, but with a motherboard, those typically come on CD.

To use it, you connect the old drive to the new PC, Boot from the MR CD (you have to burn this if you download their product) and then select the option to install to new hardware. IT prompts you for the driver CD and replaces all the old drivers with new drivers -- for that PC. When you reboot, your PC is ready to go.

It's not free but it can save a lot of work and hassle reinstalling lots of software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mark Phelps View Post
It's not free but it can save a lot of work and hassle reinstalling lots of software.
I wouldn't say it saves work and hassle...it just brings a different set of work and hassles. Anytime you migrate an install, there is still plenty of cleanup work to do, testing to be done, and drivers to install. None of that even accounts for the random issues or troubleshooting you may have to do, since it wasn't a clean install.

That's why you keep your installs relatively simple, your data backed up, and your drivers handy, so a clean install is not a big issue. It shouldn't be, if planned out. I can do mine in about 2 hours time, and the end result is a much cleaner, better performing system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bbinnard View Post
My current system is Windows 7-64 SP1 running in an ASUS P6T motherboard with i7-920 & 6GB RAM. My boot drive is a Samsung 840-Pro SSD.

I'm planning on building a new system with an ASUS P877-M board running an i7-3770S with 8GB RAM so I can get SATA3, USB3, a faster CPU, and a smaller form factor system. My thought was to just move all my drives as-is from my current system to the new one.

But if I do that will the new system boot OK? I'm not sure what dependency Windows 7 has on chipsets, or if there will be a difference (from the Windows 7 point of view) between my current i7-920 CPU and the i7-3770S my new system will have.

I am aware that Windows 7 itself will require re-validation because of Microsoft's fear that their precious OS has been installed on a 2nd system, but I have already checked with them on that and verified that my existing Product Key can be re-validated ok.
Just do the following with Windows 7 on old motherboard:
  • uninstall all graphics, sound, network configuration programs, cpu monitor programs, mouse programs, keyboard programs. All what is special for your current hardware
  • upgrade using device manger your gpu to "standard vga"
  • device manager->uninstall network driver, wifi driver, usb stuff, webcam etcetera... all stuff special for your current hardware
  • In device manager ->IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers: You see SATA AHCI controllers? upgrade to standard AHCI 1.0 serial ATA controller.=>this is the most import part!! Without a working disk driver you get stop 7b on reboot. Be sure new motherboard is also in AHCI mode
  • In device manager: uninstall all usb stuff
All driver upgrades should be done using: find on my computer->pick from list. Put checkmark at "compatible hardware".
Don't reboot after each step!

All is very clean now. Shutdown, power off. Now replace motherboard and cross your fingers. If system boots fine with new motherboard let Windows 7 find drivers. Of course install network driver first. use motherboard CD to install chipset drivers. Check device manager if all is fine
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

You may well need to Re-Activate Windows Registration. If windows notices a big hardware change. If online Activation fails.

Use Telephone Activation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2013   #10

Win7-64
 
 

Kaktussoft - thanks for your detailed reply. After reading through it I think I will be OK without doing a lot of what you suggested:

1. My current system has a Logitech keyboard and a Kensington trackball and specific drivers for each. I'll put these on the new motherboard when I boot so there should not be a problem with either. Plus, I know both work OK when booting in Safe Mode, so I always have that as a backup.

2. Since my current system boots off an SSD my bios is set to AHCI mode and I will ensure the new BIOS gets set that way too before I boot.

3. My current system includes both the Intel ICH10R SATA AHCI controller and the Standard AHCI controller so I am already covered there.

4. The network "card" on the new board is the same as the oine in my current board so that should be OK.

5. My current system does have a PCI/USB3 adapter card driving a USB 2/3 multi-function card reader (P6T board is only USB2), but this device has it's own driver CD which I have. Since the new motherboard has USB3 included I may not install this reader on the new system, but if I do I have the driver CD to take care of it.

6. The new system has an nVidia graphics card that is supported by the same nVidia driver I am currently running, so this should work OK. If not I can always go into Safe Mode and update it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can I swap motherboards without re-installing Win7?




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