Question MB Swap On Existing Win10 Possible?

Nov 19, 2020
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I would like to swap a Gigabyte GA-Z270X-UD3 (Core I7 w/Z270 chipset) with a Asus Z390-E (Core I9 w/Z390 chipset) without reinstalling the OS - Win10 Pro. I have successfully performed system board swaps in the past when the procs/chipsets aren't too dramatically different. Windows sputters and restarts a couple times but it does come back clean with the correct system drivers in place. I would prefer this approach here because the PC in question is a music studio machine (DAW) with a significant amount of software installed. The licensing migration/software installations/sample library migration/post configurations can take up to two weeks to get the box usable in the studio. It's not unique hardware ID stuff, just activated machine allocation through 25 different license managers or some such. I can swap system boards in a couple hours - if Windows will play nice with the system level device swapping. I don't mind a reactivation of Windows if that happens. But all that other software - what a nightmare.
Appreciate any input on potential success.
 

USAFRet

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Swapping a motherboard and wanting to keep the existing OS has 3 possible outcomes:
  1. It boots up just fine
  2. It fails completely
  3. It boots up, but you're chasing issues for weeks/months.
I've seen all 3
Win 10 is better than previous, but by no means 100% guaranteed to work.
And with Win 10, we are seeing more and more of #3 as opposed to #2. Initial view may be "It worked". Later...."hmm....maybe not so much"

Prepare for a full reinstall.
Try it. It might work.
But if it fails, you'll be prepared for the recommended full install.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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Yeah, was braced for that reality/response. Kind of a calculated risk no doubt. I guess I'll ponder for a couple days and get my patience together.
Thanks for the response.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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As input to anyone in the community who might happen on this thread with a like idea...
Acknowledging the input above is the reality of this type of experiment, you can take a spare drive and clone your OS drive. Take the clone and test run the result in a spare case. If it all works, you can proceed with the swap with some confidence. Otherwise, you can revert to where you were and perform a new rebuild in parallel.
 
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USAFRet

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As input to anyone in the community who might happen on this thread with a like idea...
Acknowledging the input above is the reality of this type of experiment, you can take a spare drive and clone your OS drive. Take the clone and test run the result in a spare case. If it all works, you can proceed with the swap with some confidence.
Win 10 is much better than previous versions for doing this.
But not 100%.

And we're seeing more and more cases of an initial "It worked!". Only to find out later all the little issues and problems.

Basically, 3 possibilities:
  1. It just works
  2. It fails completely
  3. It works, but you're chasing issues for weeks/months.
I've seen all 3.
 
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I know nothing of the specifics of the software you are using and how it's licensed.

Something I have noted and I don't know the technical details and terms for all of it, but Win 10 doesn't need a key because of Hardware ID/digital entitlement.

Something I have noted with the last two reinstall I did in regard to standing up a machine (similarly to this) after a mobo change is that the hardware ID changes. In many cases you can talk to Microsoft about correcting the key issue for the machine along the spirit of a hardware failure requiring said. The other aspect I have run into was licensing of OTHER products that apparently were tied to that ID in some way to validate.
Become much less of an issue with the cloud based items you can subscribe for now, but lost many a key to a program this way recently.

IDK what the specifics are with those vendors for buying or transferring a key but if we get down to black/white of it, you ARE changing the base system. Might be worthwhile to go through the process to stand up the new machine with a scheduled deployment and be fair with the people providing the software you are using under license. They may work with you, they may want more money, you know in the spirit of it being a "different" machine at heart.

So, aside from my virtual finger pointing I hope you come to a viable solution. This sounds headache worthy.
 

falcon291

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Don't do it. As USAFRet wrote it. It can work, it can fail. I think if only these two happens, it is really worth a try, but sometimes it boots up, and you waste hours or even days to solve the issues.

However installing Windows 10 really does not take that much time, and if you have a good WAN connection and have an SSD drive, you can complete it in one or two hours. Windows + Office + Esential Programs.
 
Nov 19, 2020
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Here's the conclusion of this exercise. This upgrade went well. Very well from the Windows OS perspective. As predicted a couple reboots. OS reauthorization was transparent (if it even occurred, which I assume it did based on the significant hardware changes.) I used Asus Armoury Crate (which installed itself I assume through Windows update) to get optimized drivers for the system. Music software was more cranky as others and myself predicted. In the end I only 'wasted' one or two authorizations because of lame license managers. For any musicians seeing this here is a partial list...
Everything on the iLok was no problem
Everything in Kontakt Native Access started stupid, but corrected itself after a Native Access update.
Amplesound guitars reactivation without errors.
MusicLab guitars no problem
Omnisphere/Stylus RMX had to be reauthorized
Superior Drummer reauthorized
Fxpansion BFD reauthorized, but had to update license manager to 'unbreak' it
IK Multimedia stuff reauthorized without incident
Etc.
So a total of 3 hours versus more like 100 if starting from scratch and I now have Core i9 with all M.2 NVME.
More for musician stuff - as SSD's are far better than spinning disk. so are M.2's far better than SSD's for sampler libraries. Core i9 versus i7 and faster RAM are all useful, but this was about read times on huge/multiple sampler libraries. And I got what I wanted
 

USAFRet

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More for musician stuff - as SSD's are far better than spinning disk. so are M.2's far better than SSD's for sampler libraries. Core i9 versus i7 and faster RAM are all useful, but this was about read times on huge/multiple sampler libraries. And I got what I wanted
HDD -> SATA III SSD = Huge difference
SATA III SSD -> NVMe SSD = Difference, but not nearly as huge. In some uses, unnoticeable.

We are chasing diminishing returns.


As far as your system working after the hardware swap?
You got lucky and ended up with Option #1 above. (probably...;) Maybe #3 will appear)
 

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