Neat WIndows 10 Trick – Don’t Reinstall the OS


My motherboard crapped out on me recently and I had to get a new processor, RAM, and motherboard. I just finished putting it all together with my old SSD, HDD, GPU, etc, and I accidentally missed entering the BIOS on first ooot. To my utter shock, Windows did a bit of thinking, decided it needed to configure some devices for a minute, and then it booted up flawlessly. Everything is working beautifully. I didn’t have to do a thing.

They might not have gotten everything right with Windows 10, but some of this stuff is just magical.

Comments (11)

11 responses to “Neat WIndows 10 Trick – Don’t Reinstall the OS”

  1. Lauren Glenn

    Yep. I've been using this method since Windows 8. I used to try to do it WIndows 7 but it would always BSOD unless the boot device was exactly the same as the previous motherboard (which never really happened otherwise why upgrade?)

    I use it when upgrading to a new PC when I can swap drives. As long as the previous installation on the new PC is activated and the same edition, it activates just fine. Saves a lot of install time.

  2. david.thunderbird

    Tell us in about a month if it needs activation.

  3. ErichK

    That's cool. I had heard about this, that Windows is now smart enough to adjust itself in the event of a motherboard/CPU swap, but it's nice to see some actual anecdotal evidence that it works.

  4. Kevin Costa

    I think this is how it works since Windows Vista/7. The thing that you have to be aware of is to set IDE/AHCI/NVMe correctly inside the BIOS of the new PC, to match the old one (and of course look out if uses Legacy BIOS or UEFI mode). Other than that, the activation is the only thing that you may lose (but Win10 lets you fix this easily most of the time).

  5. Sprtfan

    I used to run Sysprep and do this with Windows XP depending on the situation.

    I have swapped out the hard drive on a few Windows 10 installs but typically run into activation issues if something as major as the motherboard was changed. I think it would be a better idea to just reinstall but I have gone this route when I was trying to save some apps or game progress on my kids computers.

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