Replace Your Motherboard without Reinstalling Windows 10

replace motherboard windows 10


 Replace motherboard without reinstalling windows 10. Occasionally you will want to upgrade your system hardware. The most common part to upgrade is a hard drive to a solid-state drive or a new graphics processing unit (GPU). Sometimes though you may want to replace your motherboard - the part of the computer that helps all the other parts communicate.


Upgrading a motherboard is not too difficult. But running Windows 10 and playing it nicely with your new motherboard is a different story. How to replace or change a motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10.


Can you replace a motherboard in Windows 10?

The issue of replacing a motherboard using Windows 10 is due to a Microsoft license. Or rather a misunderstanding of how Windows 10 licenses work when you want to make a significant upgrade.


Each Windows license links to the hardware in which it is first installed especially on the motherboard. Only the retail license can be transferred between motherboards. If you try to replace or change the motherboard on a Windows 10 computer with an OEM or volume license there is a good chance that the new installation will not start Windows 10.


There are several examples of Windows 10 OEM and Volume licenses running on new hardware including a motherboard. For more information see How to transfer a Windows 10 license to a new computer.


How to replace a motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10

When you turn off your motherboard you can save your hard drive or solid-state drive with your Windows 10 installed. After replacing the motherboard and CPU you reconnect the Windows 10 drive. As long as it is healthy Windows 10 will reset itself and you can continue to use the operating system.


As you might expect it does not always work out that way! Most of the time you will encounter issues related to activating a Windows 10 license. 


The best way to verify that your new motherboard does not require a new installation is to link your Windows 10 license to your Microsoft account before making the change.


Press the Windows + I key then go to Updates and Security> Run. Under Add Microsoft Account select Add Account. You will then need to sign in to your Microsoft account. Once you have completed the sign-in process Microsoft will link your Windows 10 license and your Microsoft account.


Linking your account allows you to log back into Windows 10 after installing your new motherboard without messing with product codes or anything else. However, you should note that only retail licenses are transferred in this way. However, there are many examples of activating OEM or Volume licenses so it's worth a try.


Windows 10 License Troubleshooter

Windows 10 includes a license troubleshooter that you can use to try and fix post-motherboard issues. The troubleshooter should find that you have recently installed new hardware.


After installing your new motherboard press the Windows + I key then go to Updates and Security> Activation where you may find that the Windows message is not activated. If you do see the message go to the bottom of the page and select Troubleshooting.


Now select the option I recently changed hardware on this device. Then sign in to your Microsoft account and identify the device you are using. Microsoft's startup process will come to life and after a moment or two, it should start Windows 10 on your new motherboard.


You do not need to reinstall Windows 10

You do not need to reinstall Windows 10 after upgrading your motherboard and CPU if you take a few steps before making a change in transition. The difficulty is getting Windows 10 and your new motherboard with CPU to play nicely after you complete replacing the upgrade.


Retailers of Windows 10 should have no problem at all. The retail license is a product designed for multiple installations with no problem.


Windows 10 OEM and Windows license holders can try to change, upgrade or replace their motherboard without reinstalling Windows. 


It certainly works occasionally - but not all the time. Try to remember back to the launch of Windows 10. Did you upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 / 8.1 to Windows 10? If so you should try to use your product key from the old operating system.


If you choose a clean installation of Windows 10 be sure to check out how to create a USB stick for installing Windows 10.

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