Question Possible to swap motherboards on a Windows 7 system without reinstall?

mrblint

Distinguished
Dec 29, 2011
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BACKGROUND
I have an ASUS mITX MB on a system running Windows 7 x64 (retail license). 2nd generation Intel CPU, Core i5-2500.

I was getting an error from SMART BIOS saying my boot drive (an SSD) was about to fail, and a similar nag warning from Windows every few minutes, though the SSD manufacturer's utilities said the drive was healthy. So I bought a new SSD and restored a system image to it and brought the system back to life. But now the system doesn't like to start up right away after being turned off, and the HD-in-use light is always lit, and plugging the SSD into a particular SATA port kills the boot process. So I believe the SATA may be failing.

QUESTION
I would like to find another healthy MB and just swap it in and turn the system back on and have it work. Is that possible? Will I have the best luck if I use an identical ASUS MB? If I cannot find the mITX version but the same model number only in mATX, would that also work?
 

justin.m.beauvais

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Dec 15, 2017
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If the system is running the same or similar chipset you won't have any problems. It will simply detect the hardware and run. It is the integrated peripherals that you could have trouble with, but in most cases Windows 7 will have drivers for those. Picking a board of the same model would be a straight swap with no worries. A different board might be more work for you, but should be fine. You run into problems when you start changing platforms, like if you tried to use the same hard drive with the same install of Windows on a 6th gen Intel chip or a Ryzen system.
 
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DSzymborski

Judicious
Moderator
It might work, it might work but little problems keep popping up for months or even years, it might work and be unstable, and it might not work at all. Windows 10 is a bit better at this than Windows 7 is.

Best practice is a full wipe of the hard drive and reinstall. Now, if you get the exact same motherboard, you can do this, but otherwise, I'd reinstall. I find PCs to be more dependable when you don't skip steps and cut corners.
 

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