Guide to Replace a Motherboard without Reinstalling Windows

Replacing the motherboard is one of PC manufacturers’ most difficult tasks. Electronics have a limited life span. Given the advent of technological advances, motherboard upgrades might be a pivotal requirement to keep your PC up-to-date. Upgrades help improve the PC’s speed, performance, and durability in today’s world. In contrast, replacing the motherboard risks damaging the significant components of a device. Therefore, they must be chosen carefully. Thankfully, there are several ways to replace it. If you have a backup, then the linked data is automatically saved. And you will most likely lose your data if you do not own appropriate backups. 

One of the few tried and tested ways to replace the motherboard is completely reinstalling Windows. You can replace Windows with version 10, 8, or 7. However, reinstalling Windows tends to absolve the data stored in its component. Therefore, it is recommended that you backup all the important data before reinstalling Windows or upgrading your motherboard. This option might not be appropriate if you do not have the necessary peripherals to back up your data. The risk factor is quite great, as the system may fail to reboot, or there may not be a driver to boot the Windows. This occurs after changing the latest components and upgrading the motherboard. 

Therefore, it helps to use this method when the appropriate guidance, precautions, and software are provided before reinstallation.

We have provided the key points for you to go through before dealing with such issues. 

How to Replace Motherboard without reinstalling Windows

There are many ways to replace motherboards with relative ease. We will be focusing on three specific ways to replace the motherboards without reinstalling Windows. The names of these methods mentioned above are as follows:-

  1. AOMEI Backupper method
  2. Changing Registry
  3. Offline Registry Editor

We will be shedding light on these topics and enlightening you with technical aspects.

1. AOMEI Backupper

The mission of AOMEI Backupper is to keep your global data safe at all times. However, the acronym will not be visible or published. But the mission helps the individual understand the idea of data safe-keeping with clarity. AOMEI Backupper is a software package meant for backing up data and restoring Windows from your computer. AOMEI Backupper software is available for personal as well as business use. This software is free for the user’s personal backup but requires payment when used for business purposes. 

This software and process guarantee that you can boot your PC without reinstalling Windows. Creating a backup is the best option for storing personal information. And restoring the backed-up data to the motherboard involves an easy process.

Step 1: System backup

  • Download the software which is named AOMEI Backupper
  • Run the software as an administrative
  • Click on the System Backup option mentioned below the backup tab.
  • Select the destination path to store your backed-up data
  • Start backup by pressing the button which will pop on the screen
  • In addition, take a backup of the original hard drive or any other attached external hard drive.

Step 2: Generating Bootable Media

  • Forge bootable media to deflect the issue of booting after upgrading the motherboard.
  • Go to tools
  • Create a bootable media

Step 3: Activation of Universal Store

  • Press F2 or Delete from the keyboard for non-stop changing of the boot order.
  • Customize bootable disk as mentioned before
  • AOMEI Backupper will pop up. After opening, restore the data by pressing Restore in the available options.
  • For continuing created backup, press on the select image file or task from the option.
  • This would make two options pop up, and you can continue with any of them to continue further.
  • Check the Universal Restore before beginning the restoration process.

2. Changing Registry 

The location of the msahci key in the registry will have to be changed on the server or Windows after upgrading the motherboard. Experts suggest always changing the msahci key after upgrading the motherboard with your existing StorAHCI for the window system.

Step 1: Linking an account to Microsoft.

Getting the data from the cloud and linking your account to Microsoft is the first step in preventing data from dissolving. Hence, while reactivating Windows, the retrieved data is stored in the cloud.

  • Go to settings and click on the Update and Security tab
  • Click on the activation tab present on the left of the list.
  • Sign in to the account by clicking “Add an account.”

Step 2: Modification of Registry along with Motherboard Up-gradation

  • Go to the Run dialog box using the shortcut “Windows + R.”
  • Type “Regedit” to enter into Registry Editor and press the enter key
  • Locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\msahci
  • On the right panel, double click on start and edit the value to 0
  • Locate HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\pciide
  • Change the value date of the DWORD key to 0
  • Save the changes made
  • Exit the Registry Editor
  • Shut down the PC and change the motherboard
  • This would lead to a Windows reboot without any error.

Step 3: Activation of Window after changing motherboard

After changing the motherboard, Windows 8 or 10 might create or stir some issues. Windows 7 users are saved from worrying. However, please take a closer look for Windows 8 or 10 users.

  • Go to Troubleshoot, located in the Update and Security tab, which is present in the Settings.
  • Click on the “I changed the hardware on this device recently” option. This step will upgrade MOBO, which is done after boot command in Windows 10
  • Sign in with your Microsoft Account and then click on “Active.” This process helps the system get the activation key from the account.
  • Now, you can change your Microsoft account to a local account.

This method applies to those who have recently moved the hard disk to a new PC without the Windows reinstalling process.

3. Offline Registry Editor

Before replacing the motherboard, forgetting to edit the registry should be tackled if the issue concerns boot failure; this method will help overcome the issue. With the help of this process, get-ready disk installation will start the PC with ease. After which, the users will be able to edit the registry offline. Let’s see how it works.

  • Get your PC started with the installation disc.
  • Go to BIOS by continuously pressing F2.
  • Set disc to boot option
  • Press F10 to store the modification and then restart immediately.
  • Choose your comfort settings and then repair your PC to go further.
  • Then go to “Troubleshoot” and click on the “Advanced Option” and at last go to “Command Prompt.”
  • Type Regedit to enter into the Registry Editor
  • Now find, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
  • Enter the file and go to load Hive
  • Open system file from the system drive which is found in C:\Windows\system32\config\system 
  • Enter “Offline” mode and click OK to confirm
  • Check the key which is “ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Offline\ControlSet001\services\msahci and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Offline\ControlSet001\services\pciide “
  • Enter the value to 0
  • The highlighted “Offline Key” must be selected from the file option. 
  • Then unload the Hive to reset the changes mentioned in the previous one.
  • Close the Registry Editor
  • Restart PC to modify the settings that have been uploaded to BIOS. 
  • Now remove the disc
  • You are done.

When Windows 10 still has not booted?

If Windows 10 is still not booted, choosing the wrong boot mode while booting will be a problem. For example, the upgraded motherboard has UEFI boot mode, and the previous motherboard attached had MOBO work with a legacy BIOS. We have provided the steps that will help to resolve those issues below.

  • Restart PC and direct it to BIOS
  • Select Boot and go to Legacy boot priority and change the boot as per your system requirement and support.

Windows License Key Activation

Windows license key has three different types that are listed below:

OEM: OEM expanded stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. These have integrated licenses in your hardware, and direct links to the motherboard are bought.

Retail: Retail refers to those who purchase licenses that are to be referred to various PCs.

Volume: Volume licenses are possessed by organizations that buy products in bulk. Organizations like schools, colleges, etc., choose this as it helps them install it on various PCs and requires only a single key for authentication. If the system’s license is connected to the internet, all the Windows with the same key gets activated simultaneously, making it convenient. 

How to check your license key?

The license key is pre-integrated with the device. To check if your license key is available, go to Windows My Computer, select Properties from the menu above, or right-click on This PC and check its properties. After navigating to Properties, scroll down and find the product ID. If not located, search the OEM for the license key in it. There is no available OEM, volume, or retail in some cases. 

If you received a license key from Microsoft,  it is referred to as a retail key. OEMs typically have Windows 10 | 8 | 7 pre-installed or integrated. At the same time, large organizations buy license keys. 

Another way to find Windows 10 License Key Type –

Go to the start menu, locate the search bar, and type Command Prompt. Click on the first option and provide input as slmgr-dli in the command prompt. This will make the Windows Script Host screen appear. The description contains the type of License key used in your system.

Activation of Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 product key –

With new versions of Windows being announced, the older version of Windows, 7 or 8.1, gets free upgrades. However, some of the users do not get these updates, and for those, the license key provided in the older system is changed to a digital license key for the new setup.

To upgrade to Windows 10, you can use the steps provided below. It helps to get your work done with ease by providing a digital license key for the older version of Windows 7|8|8.1:

  • Press the Windows key, + I
  • Go to update and security
  • Open activation panel
  • Click on the Change product key located on the right side under the category of the Update Product key
  • Type the License Key for Windows 7|8|8.1
  • Select Next
  • Now, Windows 10 will be activated.

Is Windows still having issues?

If Windows still does not reboot, the issue might be in the driver conflict which can be overcome by replacing the product and getting a new one. These problems are mostly encountered with Windows 8 and 7, though cases can be found with the Windows 10 version as well. You can boot the recovery drive troubleshooting and diagnostic tools for additional help in all these cases.

Conclusion

The motherboard is an important component of a PC that requires special attention. Reinstalling Windows will always result in data loss unless you back up your data in any viable format. Most often, these issues occur when you update your PC. If you reinstall Windows on your PC,  you will not be able to retrieve the data. 

Suppose, for some reason, the booting fails and still does not solve the issues described. In that case, it is a component failure, and you can claim a warranty if available or replace the product within the specified period. 

Detailed instructions on how to replace the motherboard without reinstalling Windows have been provided. We have considered various methods to be employed depending on the situation, so please read in advance. 

An effective way to change MOBO without reinstalling Windows has been explained in detail. This will help you reactivate the new Windows on your PC. 

This article provides all possible solutions to this problem and believes that the issue can be overcome very easily by following and applying our prescribed method.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to move the license of Windows 10 to another computer?

The answer is yes. For this, you need to remove the license from the previous PC, and then you can transfer it to another PC. If you are looking for free up-gradation of Windows, it might not be a good idea as it will be deactivated beforehand, which results in no Windows upgrade. 

Can I change the CPU, like the motherboard, without reinstalling Windows?

Yes, it can be done by the same processor. It allows the replacement of hardware such as CPU or motherboard, but we suggest you check it beforehand. Failing to boot the PC means that the system won’t be working. So, please check that all the components are compatible, and go for the motherboard up-gradation and CPU, as mentioned earlier in this article.

Does the changing of the motherboard result in computer data loss?

No, replacing any hardware will not change data loss unless it is the hard disk. All the data is saved on the hard disk, and upon its corruption, data loss must be processed. Reinstalling Windows will result in data loss as all the data in the hard disk is being formatted in that process, and the new data is loaded as per the user requirements. 

Is reinstalling Windows without replacing a new MOBO and CPU possible?

There are many reasons for reinstalling Windows, such as limiting new hardware components. One of the reasons is that your previous system might not be responding to your PC, and hence you need to upgrade it to the newer version of Windows.

Is changing the motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10 possible?

Yes, you can. However, the method is complicated for the new users but is reliable and has a 100% accuracy. We have discussed the three ways to do so in the article. You can select any of the methods mentioned per the situation as each method is suited to a particular situation or purpose. But to be on the safer side, please create a backup so that the data stays safe with you. 


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