Upgrade Motherboard and CPU without Reinstalling Windows 10/8/7

September 10, 2019

How to upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Window 10/8/7? Read this guide to get two methods to help you keep current Windows installation, settings and programs after replacing motherboard and CPU.

Can I upgrade my motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10/8/7?

Upgrading motherboard and CPU is exciting, but there might be issues if you want to keep the Windows installation. To complete a fresh install will not take much time, but you will have to reinstall all the installed programs, transfer data, and configure system settings, not to mentions some of the programs needs activating.

Therefore, like most of the people, you probably want to replace motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10/8/7. There are two methods can help you make it and you can find the detailed steps in this article.

In order to upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows, there is a small trick to prepare your system for hardware upgrade. Once you do it right, you can boot your Windows system after replacing motherboard.

Will Windows 10/8/7 be activated after replacing motherboard?

Different types of Windows license key

There are three types of Windows license key, OEM, Retail, and Volume. If your license is retail or volume, then Windows will automatically get activated when connecting to the internet. However, OEM key is locked to the original hardware.

You need to activate Windows by phone. It might take a few minutes for sending numbers back and forth.

How to tell if Windows 10/8/7 is OEM or Retail?

Right-click on My Computer (This PC in Windows 10) and select Properties. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and check the Product ID. If you see OEM in the second group, then it is an OEM license key. Otherwise, it is retail or volume.

OEM License

If your computer is pre-installed with Windows 10/8/7, usually it is OEM key. If you bought your license from Microsoft, it is a retail key. Volume keys are purchased by large companies or organizations.

How to upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows 10/8/7?

Tip: For replacing major hardware like Motherboard and CPU, Windows 8/7 or old system Windows XP will most likely fail to boot. Because Windows has included most of the common drivers, Windows 10 will boot successfully without extra efforts after replacing hardware.

To change motherboard without reinstalling Windows 10/8/7, there are two methods for you to choose. One way is to make changes in Registry and the other way is to perform a universal restore. If you prefer a relatively easy way, then the latter is the way to go.

Way 1. Change motherboard without reinstalling Windows by editing Registry

Before you replace the motherboard or CPU, you should make a few changes in Registry. As you may know, modifying Registry improperly may result in serious issue, so you better create a full system image backup before hand.

You can follow the steps below to modify Registry:

1. Press “Windows” + “R” keys to open the Run dialog box, type “regedit” and then press Enter.

Open Registry

2. Within Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:


3. At the right pane, double click Start and change its value from whatever to 0.

Registry Editor

4. Also, change the following Key's DWORD value data to 0:


6. Save the changes and exit Registry editor.

7. Shut down the computer and replace the hardware. Then you should be able to boot Windows successfully.

Activate your Windows after replacing motherboard and CPU:

You may need to reactivate Windows 10 after upgrading motherboard, just follow the steps below to make it. (Windows 7 will most likely reactivate by itself, so there is nothing to worry about.)

1. Change account: go to the Settings tab, and change your Windows 10 Local Account to a Microsoft Account.

2. Upgrade the motherboard and tell Windows 10 to reactivate after the boot: Settings > Update & security > Troubleshoot > I changed hardware on this device recently.

3. Sign in your Microsoft Account again and click the Active button. Then it will grab the activation key from your online Microsoft account.

4. Change your Windows 10 account back to the Local Account if you want.

This method will also work when you want to move hard drive to a new computer without reinstalling Windows.

Way 2. Replace motherboard without reinstalling Windows via AOMEI Backupper - simple way

If the above method fails to work or you think it is too risky, you can perform a universal restore after you upgrade motherboard and CPU. Universal Restore is a feature of backup software AOMEI Backupper that allows you to restore Windows system to another computer with dissimilar hardware.

It does not require you to change any settings. You just need to create a backup of the original system and restore it after CUP and motherboard replacement. It works like Windows bare metal recovery. The difference is that AOMEI Universal Restore is more convenient without restrictions.

To perform a system backup for universal restore:

1. Download and run AOMEI Backupper.

2. Click System Backup under Backup tab. It will automatically select needed items as the backup source.

System Backup

3. Select the destination path for your backup and click Start Backup. You can backup to external hard drive or the original hard drive, even network path.

Select Path

To create bootable media for universal restore:

After replacing motherboard and CPU, your Windows may fail to boot, so you need to create a bootable media in advance.

Go to Home > Tools > Create Bootable Media to make it.

Create Bootable Meida

After that, you can upgrade your motherboard and CPU.

To perform Universal Restore:

1. Press DEL or F2 repeatedly at computer startup to change boot order and set the bootable disk you created as the first boot option.

2. Then it will load the main interface of AOMEI Backupper. Click Restore and Select Task or Select Image File to select the backup created before.

3. Now, you need to decide how to restore the backup image. Here are two ways, including Restore this system backup, Restore a partition in this system backup. You can choose one according to your needs.

4. Before starting the restore, make sure the option Universal Restore is checked.

Universal Restore

This method can also be used to transfer OS from one computer to another with dissimilar hardware.


That’s all for how to upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling windows 10/8/7. Both the two methods can help you make it.

If you want to use Windows built-in utility, then Windows Registry can help you make it. However, the whole process is kind of complicated and also time-consuming. In addition, it’s full of risks. Any improper operation may lead to serious issues. Please remember to make a backup in advice.

If you prefer an easier way, then AOMEI Backupper is the way to go. You just need to make a backup and then restore the backup to transfer system. It’s much simpler and safer compared to Windows Registry.

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.