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If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

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If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby feline1 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:27 pm

I'm sure Martin Walker wrote about this before some time.
But times change.....

I am thinking about upgrading my PC - basically taking the drives out of my old one and sticking it in a new case/PSU/CPU/Motherboard/RAM.

It's Windows 8.1 Pro.

Will Windows still boot?
Will it just ask me to reactivate my license?
Or will it go pear shaped and claim its been bodysnatched?

Anyone tried this recently?
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby twotoedsloth » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:37 pm

It can't hurt to try, as long as you have a backup. Even if you don't plan on changing anything you never know what windows is going to do on boot up.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Richard Graham » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:43 pm

feline1 wrote:I'm sure Martin Walker wrote about this before some time.
But times change.....

I am thinking about upgrading my PC - basically taking the drives out of my old one and sticking it in a new case/PSU/CPU/Motherboard/RAM.

It's Windows 8.1 Pro.

Will Windows still boot?
Will it just ask me to reactivate my license?
Or will it go pear shaped and claim its been bodysnatched?

Anyone tried this recently?

Had a conversation with Peter Kaine about this sort of thing not that long ago on this very forum. From what he says, it should all work, because Windows includes so many drivers "built in", but I think it will ask you to re-register.

Pete?
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby feline1 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:50 pm

twotoedsloth wrote:It can't hurt to try, as long as you have a backup. Even if you don't plan on changing anything you never know what windows is going to do on boot up.

Hah!
Well, I mean, if it doesn't work, I just have to spend a weekend reinstalling Windows and all my applications on a nice fresh newly formatted C: drive. I've had worse weekends

But nevertheless, it would be nice if it did "just work".
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:41 pm

Just when I think I understand a teeeensey bit!

I have read yonks ago, that if M'soft detect a "major change" in hardware it will assume you are trying to install into another machine and ripping them off?

Dropping a HDD with Win 8.1 pre-loaded into a new MOBO would seem to me to be the ultimate hardware change?

Mind you, I share XP Home on this old P4 with my son-in-law's PC but that is another story!

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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Offramper » Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:53 pm

I remember trying to do this in the past with a less dramatic change and had to contact Microsoft because it detected I was trying to load Windows (XP probably) on a 'new' computer. I think the important thing is that it was an OEM copy. However, MS accepted my claim that it was just a repair (mobo fail) and they re-authorised my copy. More recently I rebuilt a later XP machine which had a full (ie not OEM) edition of XP Pro and that re-installed and authorised with no trouble at all. So, it may be the difference between OEM and non-OEM s/w. For this reason I flashed out on the extra tenner for a full copy of W8.1 in my new machine!

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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:16 pm

Offramper wrote:I remember trying to do this in the past with a less dramatic change and had to contact Microsoft because it detected I was trying to load Windows (XP probably) on a 'new' computer. I think the important thing is that it was an OEM copy. However, MS accepted my claim that it was just a repair (mobo fail) and they re-authorised my copy. More recently I rebuilt a later XP machine which had a full (ie not OEM) edition of XP Pro and that re-installed and authorised with no trouble at all. So, it may be the difference between OEM and non-OEM s/w. For this reason I flashed out on the extra tenner for a full copy of W8.1 in my new machine!

Dave

In my case I had been sold a pup by PCWorld! Win Med Cen ed. Didn't know I had it and didn't know that no major AI maker supported it! Neither PCW nor Msoft would budge and trade me over to XP home so I stuck it out for a few years. (it turned out that if you didn't TELL M-Audio you had MCE the fixes worked fine anyway!) But then I cleaned up my son-in-laws machine and fitted more memory and copied the XPHome disc he got with it (they did that years ago you know!) When my PC went Ape'***t some months later I gave it a go and it worked and registered just fine!

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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby CS70 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:39 am

Piracy protection issues aside, it should work - it may use default drivers instead of the specific ones for a number of devices, so on a laptop typically you may initially find you have a nice 640x480 resolution, no sound etc. The magic default driver is the one for the network card or chipset: so long that driver allows window to talk with it, you have access to the internet, and you can download and install all the others.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby feline1 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:46 am

Hmmm, I wonder if it might lead to misconfigurations and general device-manager-malaise.

Although Windows Update these days seems to do a pretty good job of knowing what hardware you have, and getting the latest drivers for it for you.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Timothy835 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:17 am

Windows will boot from the drive and the installed Windows operating system will recognize your new hardware. You may possibly have to call Microsoft to reauthorize Windows. They have been pretty easy for me to deal with in the past--they just don't want the same Windows software license being installed and run on multiple computers. Windows will automatically install the drivers for your new hardware, but you may still have to install certain software drivers for your new hardware. You will definitely have to reauthorize any plugin authorizations that are stored on your PC instead of a dongle. Even a BIOS update to the same computer will require these plugins to require reauthorization. Some plugins only have a limited number of authorizations they permit, but if you have reached your limit for any plugin's authorizations you can always contact the plugin support. I hope your harddrive is not too old and outdated for your new system. A modern harddrive should have a minimum of 1TB and speed of 7200rpm. I realize you are trying to avoid the headache of reinstalling all your software on a new drive, but Windows makes it fairly painless if you do a search for Microsoft Easy Transfer. You will need either an "easy transfer cable" or a network connection. The transfer does not migrate your Windows 8 operating system to the new harddrive. Hopefully, you already have a really good harddrive. For best performance, you should have already installed the 64-bit version of Windows, but if your hardware only allowed 32-bit installation, you will want to reinstall the Windows once you have the updated motherboard and processor. If you are using Win8.1Pro, you obviously know you have a maximum of 512GB of usable RAM for 64-bit install, but only 4GB RAM usable on 32-bit install, while plain Win8.1 allows 128GB RAM on 64-bit and 4GB RAM on 32-bit install.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby RKS » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:48 pm

I have swapped hard drives into different machines quite a bit when I was getting a temp rig sorted out after a robbery and delivery of replacement.

All worked fine. Possible a longer boot while Windows figures out what the hell was going on but it worked. There is a possibility that a 32bit to 62bit drive to machine and vice versa may not work though.

Let us know! Worst that can happen is a reinstall.

No re-registering needed, it was a Windows 8 swap, not 8.1.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Logix5000 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:59 pm

NO

dont even go there. Just do a fresh install

What you can do is build the new PC and then transfer all your programs from the old PC to the new one. There is a Microsoft pgram that does this when you first intall.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Logix5000 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:01 pm

Logix5000 wrote:NO

dont even go there. Just do a fresh install

What you can do is build the new PC and then transfer all your programs from the old PC to the new one. There is a Microsoft pgram that does this when you first intall.

Sorry, you cant transfer programs but you can transfer data, emails etc

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... y-transfer
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby feline1 » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:18 pm

Hmmm - well looks like I definately need to deactivate any activated/authorised software first (iTunes, MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, Pianoteq...) or things may get messy.

I might even just do a fresh install because I'm geeky enough that I shall enjoy the tidyness of it
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby ef37a » Tue Feb 25, 2014 2:55 pm

feline1 wrote:Hmmm - well looks like I definately need to deactivate any activated/authorised software first (iTunes, MS Office, Adobe Acrobat, Pianoteq...) or things may get messy.

I might even just do a fresh install because I'm geeky enough that I shall enjoy the tidyness of it

Well, give yourself a full day! Send the Trouble and the kids to ma-in-law and put the dog in kennels.
I have done XP installs no worries but a new hard drive for my W7/64 desktop took for 'king EVER and I did not have that much to replace!
I would guess with 8.1 you are in danger of nodding off!

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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby RKS » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:22 pm

ef37a wrote:
I would guess with 8.1 you are in danger of nodding off!

Dave.


Nah, it is grand. Though downloading the 8.1 update can add to the time if you have W8 install media
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:57 pm

I'm a bit late to this party, but:

1. Yes, I did describe how to do this way, way back in SOS December 2003:

www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec03/articles/pcmusician.htm

2. However, 11 years later I tend to side with Logix5000, particularly in feline's particular scenario - with this many hardware device changes, forcing a current Windows install to cope with a host of motherboard and other device changes is only worth doing if you really can't face re-installing your software and benefiting from a good old clear out along the way, ending up with a hopefully far more reliable PC at the end of the day.


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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby feline1 » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:41 am

Yeah I tend to suspect you're right, Martin -
there's a difference between "will it work?" and "is everything correctly configured with the optimal drivers and settings?".
Since the whole point of the upgrade is to make everything bigger/harder/faster/stronger, spending the time to do a full reinstall is probably worth it.
Also it's just nice to have a spring clean every few years.
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Re: If I just plug my C: drive into a new motherboard & CPU, will Windows still work?

Postby Pete Kaine » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:52 am

Also late to the party...

Yes, the all of the core Windows installs since Vista have been fairly stright forward and flexible when it comes to moving between systems. I've got a bench marking drive with all the sequencers on, that gets moved from bench to bench and works fine with pretty much anything I plug it into. As you've already noted however Feline it may not go quite as smoothly for applications running within the OS.

Now if your lucky all the app's might be signed to the OS, in which case moving the OS, installing some new drivers might be all you need to do. If your unlucky the apps may all (at best) demand a re-auth or at worst throw the toys out of the pram and demand clean installs, can't really say without trying it.

I'd take the "make a backup, give it a go" route personally. It'll add half an hour at worst to the process and at best say you a day or two.

Of course if you've decided its time for a system spring clean, well the's never anything wrong with doing a full overhaul.
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