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Question Reinstalling windows 10 after mobo change?


May 29, 2018
Im about to upgrade my motherboard and my cpu, but im not doing any storage changes.
I got one 500gb sata ssd where windows 10 is currently installed and i have 2 hdd where games are installed.
But my question is what do i have to do when upgrading the mobo? Do i need to delete everything from my ssd and hdd`s so they are empty when starting up my pc with a new mobo? Do i need a new windows 10 product key? Since i have windows 10 currently installed on my ssd, will my new mobo recognize my former windows 10 on the ssd and use it with the new mobo, or do i have to download a new windows on usb stick and product key again on my ssd after booting up with my new mobo. Its hard for me to express myself in an easy way but i tried.

My question is: What to i need to do/buy with windows 10 after upgrading my mobo? I have so many questions.
Thanks in advance

cherry blossoms

Apr 13, 2016
While Windows 10 is more forgiving than prior versions, a clean install of the OS is recommended when doing a hardware switch like that.

The system MIGHT run fine, but slower than it should. It MIGHT have subtle background errors that you don't notice for awhile. It Might have BSOD or crash to desktop faults. It may not work at all.

Recommend to backup your files from the drive you intend to put the OS on, then format the drive. This will help reset your file table as well, which will be helpful for speed if it has grown over time. When installing the OS, have ONLY the drive the OS is going on connected, that way the bootloader goes onto the same drive as well.
Reactions: Phillip Corcoran


Mar 16, 2013
First, for the OS licensing
For the OS activation, read and do this before you change any parts:

For the actual installation, there are 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.
A clean install is strongly recommended, often required.
Reactions: Phillip Corcoran
How important is it to not have to reinstall the games on the HDD?
Are these games steam games?
There apparently is a way to preserve steam games. Google is your friend there.

While a clean install is a good thing, it may be more important to you to preserve your current game installs and windows settings.
In that case,first verify that your current windows is activated with a digital license.
Microsoft will then know about your current installation.
Next, protect whatever there is that you value on the C drive; just in case...
You normally can boot your windows C drive ssd on new hardware.
Then, install the new motherboard drivers. This may be necessary to get your lan adapter working and able to connect to the internet.
You next can run the windows activation troubleshooter to let MS know that you have new hardware for your license.


Mar 16, 2013
Steam games are no problem.
With the new OS install on the SSD, you'll also be installing a new Steam client.

Then, just tell the Steam client where those games live on the other drives.
Steam games location
In the steam client:
Steam Library Folders
Add library folder

To move an already installed game
Games library
Right click the game
Local Files
Move Install Folder
Other game launchers have similar tools/functionality, but I do not have the specifics.
Reactions: Phillip Corcoran