Question New motherboard and Windows 10 transfer

Oct 29, 2020
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Hey, so long story short I ended up having to upgrade a few components over time which will eventually lead to a new PC.

At this stage, I am going to put everything in a new tower and so I decided to get a new motherboard for functions that current motherboard can't accommodate. I looked into it and apparently Windows 10 OEM is tied to motherboard. It sucks but I had to pay for a Windows 10 retail key, which I will set up later. This isn't a big deal since in the future I will upgrade to a new CPU and motherboard, which will require a retail version of Windows 10 anyway.

My issue is that I cannot afford any big hiccups since I need this PC operational for school stuff. I simply want to transplant everything into the new case with the new mobo, fire it up, then activate the Windows 10 retail key. Is this possible without having to re-install Windows 10 or anything like that? It's all the same storage drives.

Also, if it does require me to reinstall Windows 10, will it all fire up anyway, connect to internet, and then allow me to download it? Or do I really need to have the iso on a USB drive?

EDIT: Also, is it recommended to update BIOS immediately when it first boots, or should I do that after activating Windows 10?
 
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USAFRet

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My issue is that I cannot afford any big hiccups since I need this PC operational for school stuff. I simply want to transplant everything into the new case with the new mobo, fire it up, then activate the Windows 10 retail key. Is this possible without having to re-install Windows 10 or anything like that? It's all the same storage drives.
New motherboard, a full wipe and reinstall is strongly recommended, often required.

Just moving the drive, there are 3 possible outcomes:
  1. It works just fine
  2. It fails completely
  3. It "works", but you're chasing issues for weeks/months.
 
Oct 29, 2020
9
1
15
0
New motherboard, a full wipe and reinstall is strongly recommended, often required.

Just moving the drive, there are 3 possible outcomes:
  1. It works just fine
  2. It fails completely
  3. It "works", but you're chasing issues for weeks/months.
For the record, I would be swapping an Asus TUF H310m-PLUS with an Asus Prime z390-P.

So I have three storage drives and my C: drive is a small SSD. I could back it up without too much of a problem. I'm not totally sure on the procedure though.

My perspective is what do I need to do while PC is still whole, then what to do when firing it all up in the new hardware configuration. Because if I reformat the C: drive now, then it kills the OS for my PC.

The other thing is if I do a backup of my current C: drive, and then reformat and reinstall windows 10 on new PC set up, then wouldn't the data restore just screw up all the newly installed stuff anyway? Or do I just copy and paste certain directories?
 

USAFRet

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For the record, I would be swapping an Asus TUF H310m-PLUS with an Asus Prime z390-P.

So I have three storage drives and my C: drive is a small SSD. I could back it up without too much of a problem. I'm not totally sure on the procedure though.

My perspective is what do I need to do while PC is still whole, then what to do when firing it all up in the new hardware configuration. Because if I reformat the C: drive now, then it kills the OS for my PC.

The other thing is if I do a backup of my current C: drive, and then reformat and reinstall windows 10 on new PC set up, then wouldn't the data restore just screw up all the newly installed stuff anyway? Or do I just copy and paste certain directories?
There isn't a lot you can do to force this to work.

You don't reformat it now, but rather in the new hardware.
As above, just putting that drive into the new system, it is unlikely to work properly, or at all.

There is nothing you can copy/paste, or 'restore', or whatever.

Slightly older Asus to newer Asus...it "might" work. But it might not.

You need to be absolutely prepared for a full wipe and reinstall once you put it in the new hardware.
But you can try it. Don't be surprised if it fails, or that you see issues in a week or two.
And I'm NOT recommending that you just wing it.
A fresh install is always recommended, and it is NOT the end of the world.

This is a major operation. Be prepared for it.

Do this attempt with ONLY the OS drive.
Reconnect the others later.


For the clean install? Read through this a few times.
 
Oct 29, 2020
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There isn't a lot you can do to force this to work.
I mean, I've reformatted drives and reinstalled Windows 10 before on occasions (it's been awhile though), usually with new PCs that didn't have important files. I just never did this after installing a new motherboard.

I assume it would work fine without reformatting, but I do agree that it is a good idea for a few reasons. What I need to know now is how I can get my data on the drive back to where it was before. Like Steam game save data, app data, etc. on "Program Files" and "Users" directories. Like how do I do that without replacing the newly installed Windows 10 files with the old Windows 10 files from the same C: drive?
 

USAFRet

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I assume it would work fine without reformatting
You cannot make that assumption. It may well fail completely.

I've seen it work, I've seen it fail, requiring a full wipe and reinstall.
I've seen it work mostly, but just annoying enough to warrant a fresh install.

For your applications?
Program Files - Cannot be moved between OS's. A fresh OS install can't recognize applications from an old OS.
/Users/ - You can't move the entire /Users/ folder. Those users belong to the old OS. You can copy your personal files out of that...Things that live in Documents/Music/Pictures/etc. But NOT the entire Library. That library is known to only the old user. You can go through the pain of TakeOwnership. but it is much easier to be proactive and move the data elsewhere first.

Steam games? Easily moved around. Basically, find the SteamApps folder, copy that to something else, and tell the NEW Steam client where that is.
Game saves are strictly on a case by case basis. There is no one central space for that. You'd have to track down where they are.


Like how do I do that without replacing the newly installed Windows 10 files with the old Windows 10 files from the same C: drive?
You cannot do this.
 
Oct 29, 2020
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I already have Steam games on other drives. Steam saves are on C: but I think it is fine since Steam saves them on a cloud anyway, and they get synced automatically when you start the game in the future.

Ok, last things to know: so basically I set up C: SSD as is in the new PC set up, run the reformat there after booting up, and then have USB drive with Win10 installation ready to go after reboot?

Also, do I have to de-register my current PC with the Win10 account before taking it apart? I read somewhere that you have to do this so you can make new PC the main PC (only one PC per key).
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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You don't "deregister" the license on the current system.

This....
For the OS activation, read and do this before you change any parts:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change


For the actual operation and booting up:
Its not "after reboot", but rather be prepared to boot from the USB if/when it fails to boot up.

Be absolutely sure there is NOTHING on this one physical drive you no longer wish to keep.

Prepare a Win 10 USB to install with.
The MediaCreation tool will do this:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

So, now you're ready (I hope)
As said, you can try the drive and existing OS in the new system. if you want.
If it works 100%, and continues to work...all is good. (unlikely, though)

If/when it fails, you have the USB to boot from to do the wipe and reinstall.

During this whole process, you're working with ONLY the drive you want the OS on.
Reconnect the others later.
 
Oct 29, 2020
9
1
15
0
You don't "deregister" the license on the current system.

This....
For the OS activation, read and do this before you change any parts:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change


For the actual operation and booting up:
Its not "after reboot", but rather be prepared to boot from the USB if/when it fails to boot up.

Be absolutely sure there is NOTHING on this one physical drive you no longer wish to keep.

Prepare a Win 10 USB to install with.
The MediaCreation tool will do this:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

So, now you're ready (I hope)
As said, you can try the drive and existing OS in the new system. if you want.
If it works 100%, and continues to work...all is good. (unlikely, though)

If/when it fails, you have the USB to boot from to do the wipe and reinstall.

During this whole process, you're working with ONLY the drive you want the OS on.
Reconnect the others later.
I'm planning on reformatting. Plus I have to do this procedure at least two more times in the future so I want to figure it out now.

Ok, so you're saying boot into Win10 on the USB from BIOS, then reformat the SSD while using Win10 on USB. Then install Win10 on SSD. Then activate Win10 on SSD.

When does BIOS get updated though? From reading, apparently this can be done immediately if internet is connected. Should I do that before or after Win10? I mean, the main reason for any of this seems to be Win10's compatibility with mobo and its drivers, so shouldn't the mobo's frameware get updated first?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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The BIOS updated is completely different than what you''re going to do in Windows.
You can do that before, after, whenever.

So if you're going to do a fresh install with the new hardware...no problem.
Put the desired drive in
Put the Win 10 USB you previously prepared into one of the USB ports
Power on, and boot from the USB. This may or may not require a boot override in the BIOS, to select the USB.
After that...proceed on.

Read that link I posted to get familiar with the OS install process.
 

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