Question

How can I boot with a new motherboard and an old hard drive?

I have replaced all my computer parts except my hard drives. I have windows 10 on one of them. I thought I could just easily boot up my computer because my hard drive has windows on it. The computer turns on and works perfectly fine but I'm just stuck on the motherboard settings screen, windows operating system does not load. Apparently it's because I have the old motherboard's drivers installed and I do not have my new motherboard's drivers installed. Would I be able to get around this by downloading the new motherboard's drivers onto my hard drive and then trying to boot up?

Any help would be immensely appreciated! Thanks!

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Not so fast.

Before you do ANY repair to the OS or file system you have a full backup of what you can't lose. Also W10 versions (well 99% of them) are the OEM license so your license is invalidated with such a change. I have one workaround for the license but about that later.

Your best bet is to try a safe boot and head to the device manager to remove devices in the motherboard area. Here's an article about that. https://www.backup-utility.com/universal-restore/upgrade-motherboard-and-cpu-without-reinstalling-windows-4348.html

As to the OS license you have to deal with this BEFORE the change (how is on the web) but I bet you didn't so here's the only known scenario I see Microsoft issue a new key.

1. The machine is self built and not a Dell or name brand.
2. You call in and tell them your motherboard failed and you need to reactivate.

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Well how did you get Windows 10 on the machine?

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1 then there is a hardware footprint of your system when you did the upgrade on Microsoft's server which is called digital entitlement. Now if you built the PC and used an OEM version of Windows 10 or if the PC is from an OEM it will also have a key for Windows 10. The difference between the OEM Windows (on a OEM purchased PC) and just buy OEM Windows 10 from say Newegg is the OEM (Dell, Hp or Lenovo) do the support and the OEM purchased from Newegg you on your own. What happened when Windows 10 first came out and you added any type of hardware change your digital entitlement would match when you added memory or a SSD. People had to contact MS to activate Windows after a simple hardware change. Then is of of the major update MS linked your Digital Entitlement to your MS account which helped to activate Windows 10 after a hardware change.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-activation

On thing MS hasn't made clear like they did pre-Windows 10 is if you upgrade the motherboard does it make it a new PC (like it did with OEM version before Windows 10.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change
I didn't see anywhere in this link where it explains levels of hardware changes.

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