Question Moving from dead motherboard to new one without reinstalling windows 7?

Feb 19, 2019
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Last friday night my AsRock z97 extreme4 motherboard blue screened on me and then refused to post afterwards. Upon taking it to a shop and having them run diagnostics on it, we determined that it was the integrated GPU that had died and that it would unable to operate further.

I've been doing research regarding buying a new motherboard and while a clean Windows install is the preferred option for a new mobo I'm considering a replacement right now as a temporary measure until I can afford to upgrade my cpu and mobo at the same time.

So putting that matter aside (sort of) for now, my question is this. Assuming I get a motherboard with the same chipset/socket (z97/lga 1150), is it possible to plug it in, boot it in safe mode, uninstall the old motherboard drivers, and install the new ones without touching Windows install at all?

I don't have my Windows repair CD any more (lost over the course of several moves) and I foolishly put around 2/5th of my data on the SSD the windows install is on. So if possible, I'd like to just make it as simple a swap as possible. Any advice towards this would be appreciated. Thank you!

Edit: I'll also ask if it's possible to do the same for a different processor/motherboard set, but I'd assume that the closer the chipset is to the old one, the less complications there might be.
 
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Feb 19, 2019
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I believe the issue you will run into is that Windows will prompt you to enter the Windows key again (thinking that someone has installed windows on a new machine and not registered it.

However, you do not need to buy a new activation key. Linus Tech Tips did a video on it. Search "why doesn't linus activate windows" (or something like that) on YouTube.

But otherwise, the OS is on your HDD, so it should really care about hardware changes.
 
If you're changing motherboard to same model as old one (AsRock z97 extreme4), then there would be no conflicting drivers. You'd just have to set BIOS to same values as on old board for settings:
sata controller mode (ahci,ide,raid) and​
boot mode (UEFI, legacy/CSM).​
May need to reinstall chipset drivers.

If you're changing to a different model, but with same chipset (z97), then also chances of simple migration also are quite good. Same issues with BIOS settings and chipset drivers reinstall. May also need to reinstall lan and audio drivers.

But windows activation will be broken with any kind of motherboard change. You will have to reactivate it. And it may be necessary to ask Microsoft support for assistance.
 
Reactions: Phillip Corcoran
Feb 19, 2019
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BTW - this - I find highly unlikely.
Integrated GPU is built into CPU. If it was broken, then CPU would need to be replaced. Intel CPUs are quite hard to kill.
I was slightly doubtful myself but I didn't have anything to back up the hunch aside from that the debug code errors I was getting from the old mobo are all memory related ones. My original hunch was that memory bus on it died since I tried my ram in every configuration and nothing was getting it to post.

The diagnostic was free so, you get what you pay for I suppose.
 

Imacflier

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Jan 19, 2014
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For what it is worth: I recently replaced the motherboard (Gigabyte Z97x chipset) with a different MB model and upgraded the processor from Haswell I5 to Haswell I7. When I plugged in the old drive....it just plain worked! I was prepared to deal with MS I since had moved to a new installation (ensured my OS had electronic link to my MS Account before I did anything!) Never a peep from Microsoft....I still had a valid activation. I suspect that if the following conditions are all met, your old boot drive will simply work:

1: same chipset
2: same CPU family
3: activation through MS account

That has been my experience twice in a row! Anyone have a different result give the same conditions being met?

Larry
 
Feb 19, 2019
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If you're changing motherboard to same model as old one (AsRock z97 extreme4), then there would be no conflicting drivers.
That would have been the optimal solution but sadly since intel architecture has moved on from the Devil's Canyon model, they stopped making them, and any used model I can find is ridiculously priced.

1: same chipset
2: same CPU family
3: activation through MS account
Good to know/hear. I'd still rather not shell out $270 for a dated/used motherboard, when I could possibly get a 9th gen i5 and solid motherboard for $450 (with tax) but I may still do so as a temporary measure to if nothing else, back everything up and try and prepare the system. Anything I do right now would be putting a new piece of hardware into the system without prepping it all because this caught me fully off guard haha.
 
Feb 19, 2019
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Secondary question - would you trust a 4 year old asus gaming pro z97 motherboard that was pulled for an upgrade instead of damage?

That's looking to be the closest I can get to a replacement in the same chipset.
 

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