[SOLVED] Windows reinstall vs reset (after mobo replacement)

acordeon

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Mar 12, 2015
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I just replaced my motherboard and CPU. I went from:
  • MSI B350 motherboard to MSI B550
  • Ryzen 1300X to 5600X
Everything else stayed the same (GPU, memory, etc.) It booted cleanly after the install, Windows Update prompted me to install a few new AMD drivers, and since then it seems to be running just fine.

I've seen that many on this site recommend doing a full Windows reinstall after changing the motherboard. But I haven't really understood why, or how to tell when it's really needed and when it isn't. And I'm surprised that a modern OS like win10 can't handle this without reinstall. If anyone has some articles to point me to about that, I'd appreciate it. And what does Microsoft recommend?

My primary questions are:
  • Is a reinstall necessary for me given that it runs and I upgraded to same manufacturer of both mobo and CPU, and similar line of mobo?
  • How would I know if there was a problem that needed a windows reinstall to fix it?
  • Are there updates I can do beyond what Windows Update prompts (drivers etc), to head off problems, short of doing the resintall?
  • Is it worth trying a windows reset instead of a full install?
  • If I upgrade to Win 11 when that's available, will that take care of the changes that a wipe/reinstall of win 10 would have done? Or does it carry over settings from win 10?
Thanks!
 

punkncat

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Ambassador
I would recommend a fresh and new install. It is best practice. Will it work this way, trouble free for every use and feature? Maybe. That is the reason why fresh is considered best. The install will load on the system as it is now, not the way it was before. This gets down a bit of a rabbit hole...
Your Windows license may need some attention such as tying to your MS account before the clean install. Your activation is based on Hardware ID and/or your MS account.

If you can get the W11 install assistant to work correctly on your AMD system, it will carry over as much of the settings and such as is applicable to the new OS. I have now done three Intel systems and the install assistant was perfect. I have attempted two AMD and they both turned to fresh installs due to various issues with the assistant and user error (lol).
 
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punkncat

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I would recommend a fresh and new install. It is best practice. Will it work this way, trouble free for every use and feature? Maybe. That is the reason why fresh is considered best. The install will load on the system as it is now, not the way it was before. This gets down a bit of a rabbit hole...
Your Windows license may need some attention such as tying to your MS account before the clean install. Your activation is based on Hardware ID and/or your MS account.

If you can get the W11 install assistant to work correctly on your AMD system, it will carry over as much of the settings and such as is applicable to the new OS. I have now done three Intel systems and the install assistant was perfect. I have attempted two AMD and they both turned to fresh installs due to various issues with the assistant and user error (lol).
 
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Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
3 normal results moving an install
  1. it works fine
  2. it work but has bugs
  3. it doesn't work at all
Since you haven't tried, you could see what happens. Its an unknown.

Punkcat is right in that clean is the best approach but sometimes installs can be moved how you want. I would just backup anything you can't afford to lose before trying so a clean install isn't painful.

win 11 upgrade acts like previous windows 10 version installs, it replaces windows. It may not include updated drivers. It won't do the same actions as a clean install as it doesn't normally touch partition structure.
 

acordeon

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Mar 12, 2015
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Thanks to @Colif and @punkncat for your input.

FWIW, I just jumped into a Microsoft support chat and asked them this question. The rep said I could either do a wipe & clean install, or I could do an "in-place upgrade", which they said would retain my installed programs and user data. They recommended this video as a procedure to follow: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/videoplayer/embed/RE201WL

They claimed that "both procedures will update all drivers".

This is different from the windows reset, but are either of you familiar with the in-place upgrade and have an opinion on how well it works?

Thanks!
 

Colif

Win 11 Master
Moderator
In place upgrade is how I almost always updated win 10 to the newest version, it should be fine.

I guess the driver updates happen at the end of the upgrade process when it looks for updates.
 

geofelt

Titan
If you are running well, do nothing more.

Nice upgrade.
Your parts are as similar as could be, that is a good thing.

The conventional wisdom to do a clean install is correct, if you can easily do so.
If your installed apps are steam games, that can be moved, it is a reasonable thing to do.
But Sometimes it is too nasty or even impossible to replicate what you already had installed.

I have done several such conversions for me and my kids with no issues so far.
I first clone what I have to a spare ssd in case all goes south.
If it boots,
I will explicitly find the proper new motherboard and chipset drivers to install.

Activation may/may not be an issue.
Check to see that your windows is currently activated. If your windows is oem, you may not be activated. After 30 days, you will get a reminder to buy windows and a faint watermark will appear on the lower right part of your screen.
You can keep running like that for as long as you want.
If windows is activated, you are good.

Today, I would not jump on the windows 11 bandwagon. There are still glitches.
Only do so if there is a feature that you really need.

In time, you will get an invite to update to 11. Do so only when you want to.

For now, see that you are properly backed up so that you can return to the current functioning system if needed.
I do so with a cloned ssd.
 

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