[SOLVED] Upgrade hardware on windows 8.1 without a reinstall?

Hunter1122

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I've had a PC I built for a few years now, and I'm looking to upgrade my old MB (MSI Z97 Gaming 5 to MSI z270 Gaming Pro Carbon), CPU (Intel i5-4590 to i7-7700k), and RAM. Besides the tedium of backing up and reorganizing my files, I also have a fair amount of old sotfware that I'm not sure I could get a hold of to install again.

In some threads, I hear that Windows 8.1 requires a reactivation after a hardware change, in others I hear it needs to be a fresh install. In some threads people say that you need a fresh install because of driver conflicts, whereas others claim having dead drivers isn't that big a deal since it's for nonexistent hardware, and you can clear your drivers for new hardware anyway.

So which is it? Can Win8.1 handle a significant hardware upgrade and just get reactivated? Or am I stuck with what I have unless I go through some massive backups/reinstalls/etc?
 

USAFRet

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Ok, a follow-up question then. I know it is possible to reinstall windows without losing any files. Is it possible to reinstall without losing other installations? While these ones would be fairly simple to get back, programs like MS Office, Steam, Itunes, etc.
No.
If it requires a clean install, all your applications will also need a reinstall.

The "reinstall" you're thinking of is in the same original hardware.

And always always, when doing any major maintenance like this, you NEED a known good backup of all your stuff, and know how to recover and reinstall.
Even under perfect conditions, things can happen.
 
Reactions: Juan_Bijero

USAFRet

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Reactivation? Yes.
Reinstall? Probably. The greater the difference between old and new parts, the greater likelihood of needing a full reinstall.
You can try it, but don't be surprised if it fails completely. Have known good backups.
 

Hunter1122

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If I create a windows backup of my OS drive, which is essentially a snapshot as i understand it, would I likely just be able to restore to that?
Obviously my other drives aren't an issue, though they are backed up, since they just have files on them. What I'm most concerned about is having to try to find old programs to reinstall them.
 

Hunter1122

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Ok, a follow-up question then. I know it is possible to reinstall windows without losing any files. Is it possible to reinstall without losing other installations? While these ones would be fairly simple to get back, programs like MS Office, Steam, Itunes, etc.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Ok, a follow-up question then. I know it is possible to reinstall windows without losing any files. Is it possible to reinstall without losing other installations? While these ones would be fairly simple to get back, programs like MS Office, Steam, Itunes, etc.
No.
If it requires a clean install, all your applications will also need a reinstall.

The "reinstall" you're thinking of is in the same original hardware.

And always always, when doing any major maintenance like this, you NEED a known good backup of all your stuff, and know how to recover and reinstall.
Even under perfect conditions, things can happen.
 
Reactions: Juan_Bijero

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